DePaul cooks up plan, ousts Duke
Duke's worst-case scenario played out Monday night in the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament against DePaul at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
DePaul used the same recipe as North Carolina and Connecticut _ pressure defense and terrific long-range shooting _ to hand Duke a 74-65 loss and end the Blue Devils' season.
Duke knew it was coming, too.
DePaul averaged almost nine made 3-pointers per game and they were coming off a win over Oklahoma when they made 11 to hold off the Sooners 104-100. Duke had no defense for DePaul's long-range shooting as the Blue Demons hit 14 from behind the arc _ the most the Blue Devils gave up all seaon.
"DePaul is a super team and they shot really well from the 3-point line," Duke coach Joanne McCallie said. "I don't think it was surprising, but if you could ask, our team couldn't even simulate that in practice without any guards."
The Blue Devils' backcourt was depleted by injuries as both point guards _ Chelsea Gray and Alexis Jones _ were lost for the season with knee injuries weeks ago. Duke's ballhandling responsibilities fell to the remaining wing guards Tricia Liston and Ka'Lia Johnson.
"I am really proud of them," McCallie said. "We did the best we could. They all got asked to do so much more in so many different areas. We just weren't able to match it."
In three of Duke's other six losses, 3-pointers also were its downfall. UConn and UNC each hit 12 in a game and the Tar Heels had eight in the other regular-season contest. Two other teams hit 10 3s _ Miami and N.C. State _ but the Blue Devils were able to hold on for those wins.
The Blue Demons have done a lot of damage from long range, making a school record 310 3-pointers this season. Duke marked the 18th opponent DePaul has reached double-digits for 3s this season.
Megan Rogowski made 6-of-12 3s and finished with 22 points for DePaul, while Megan Podkowa was 4-fo-4 from long range and scored 18 points and Brittany Hrynko was 4-of-7 behind the arc and added 14 points.
Hrynko showed tremendous range with her shot and that was noticed by McCallie.
"I'm not sure that (Hrynko) is going to hit those shots again," McCallie said. "I mean there were three of them from about 30 feet. I think that was hard for our kids because it was hard to extend an attack on her from about 30 feet."
Rogowski, who upped her school record to 111 made 3s, said DePaul's game plan worked as they expected.
"We used a specific (pressure package) today to be the most effective to beat Duke," Rogowski said. "Everybody did a great job and we got the job done."
While DePaul was raining 3s on Duke, it also threw a blanket over Duke's long-range shooting. Liston, Duke's best 3-point threat, was limited to 11 points and failed to make a 3-pointer on three attempts. It marked the fifth time this season she didn't make a 3 in a game.
"Tricia Liston was a player in our pressure package tonight that was not going to be left (open)," DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. "We were going to bring to bring two people and never leave her. That's a respect for her talent and how good of a basketball player she is."
Duke scored its fewest points in the first half since posting only 26 against No. 1 Connecticut on Dec. 17 in an 83-61 loss. And Duke also trailed at halftime thanks to 13 turnovers in the first 20 minutes and finished with 21 in the game.
"There were times when we played perfectly fine and other times no so much," McCallie said. "But I look at the turnovers, you know those were pretty critical."