DePaul women’s basketball team knocks off McCallie’s No. 2 Blue Devils

Posted March 24, 2014, at 11:05 p.m.
Duke head coach Joanne Palombo McCallie reacts to a call by an official against DePaul in the first half of a second round NCAA Tournament game at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C., Monday night. McCallie is a former University of Maine women's basketball coach.
Mark Dolejs | USA Today Sports
Duke head coach Joanne Palombo McCallie reacts to a call by an official against DePaul in the first half of a second round NCAA Tournament game at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C., Monday night. McCallie is a former University of Maine women's basketball coach.

DURHAM, N.C. — Even with the DePaul Blue Demons’ record-setting 3-point shooting this season, the latest display was extreme.

The Blue Demons’ relentless perimeter attack carried them to a 74-65 upset victory over the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils in the NCAA Tournament’s second round Monday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

“Coach (Doug Bruno) doesn’t mind us shooting when we’re open,” DePaul guard Brittany Hrynko said. “We have the green light.”

With that, the Blue Demons lit up Duke by picking the perfect time to hit a season-high 14 shots from 3-point land.

Duke is coached by former University of Maine women’s basketball head coach Joanne Palombo McCallie. McCallie guided the Bears to a 167-73 record while coaching from 1992-2000 when her team made six straight appearances in the NCAA Tourney.

DePaul guard Megan Rogowski scored 22 points, connecting on six 3-point shots.

“We’re trained to do it,” Rogowski said. “(Bruno) lets us shoot if we’re open — and we make them.”

The seventh-seeded Blue Demons pounced on Duke from all angles outside the arc, bagging nine of 16 attempts from 3-point range in the second half. They finished 14-for-33 on long balls, marking the most made 3-pointers for the program in 30 all-time NCAA Tournament games.

The outcome ended Duke’s 19-game home-court winning streak in NCAA Tournament play. It is the first time the Blue Demons defeated a team higher than a No. 6 seed.

DePaul (29-6), which is headed to the Sweet 16 for the third time, advances to the Lincoln Region semifinals Saturday to face the winner of Tuesday’s game between 11th-seeded James Madison and third-seeded Texas A&M.

Bruno said he did not want to try to match Duke in the lane, so he found other ways for the Blue Demons to attack.

“Duke had the advantage inside and I thought we had the advantage over the space of the floor,” Bruno said. “We beat a really, really good team tonight on their home court.”

Duke (28-7), which lost two starting guards to season-ending knee injuries, exited the tournament at the earliest point since going out in the same round in 2009.

“I don’t think it was surprising, but our team couldn’t even simulate that in practice. How could we?” McCallie said of DePaul’s long-range shooting. “I think we needed to get that score down a little bit in order for us to be successful. I think 74 is a little bit too much to give up.”

DePaul forward Megan Podkowa added 18 points and guard Hrynko supplied 14 points. They both made four 3-point shots.

DePaul’s trio of top scorers combined to shoot 14-for-23 on 3-pointers, mostly against Duke’s zone set-up. Forward Jasmine Penny added 11 points.

Forward Elizabeth Williams scored 12 points, while guard Tricia Liston, guard Ka’lia Johnson and forward Haley Peters all had 11 points for Duke, which won three tournament games to reach the regional finals in each of the past four years.

Duke took the lead for the only time with 18:11 remaining on guard Richa Jackson’s drive as the Blue Devils wiped out a 13-point hole. Podkowa’s 3-pointer and her layup off a Duke turnover regained momentum for DePaul as part of an 11-2 run.

DePaul’s perimeter scoring negated Duke’s 43-32 rebounding advantage.

“It’s definitely frustrating,” Williams said. “I think we needed to do a better job of making in-game adjustments and closing out on the shooters.”

Hrynko took particularly deep attempts.

“It was hard to extend on her,” McCallie said. “She was so far out on those 3s.”

DePaul has a school-record 310 3-point baskets this season.

Duke finished with 21 turnovers. That was part of Bruno’s master plan.

“We were confident going into it,” Rogowski said. “We knew our pressure package would beat them and it did.”

DePaul held a 27-24 halftime lead despite scoring only two points in the last 6 1/2 minutes before the break.

DePaul hit five 3-pointers in the first 14 minutes to create a 25-12 lead. The Blue Devils scored the next eight points.

The Blue Demons applied a full-court press that gave Duke fits. Duke had 11 turnovers in less than 14 minutes to start the game.

While DePaul cranked up the offense with 104-100 victory against Oklahoma in the first round, it was defense that defined the Blue Devils early in the matchup with Duke.

Ten minutes into the game, DePaul held a 14-6 edge.

 

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