SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. (AP) -- With leading scorer Khara Smith
feeling sick, it was up to her DePaul teammates to pick up the
slack against Seton Hall.
"Khara does so much for us all the time, but we have a very
balanced team," said guard Jenna Rubino, who scored 15 of her 17
points in the first half to lead No. 10 DePaul to a 69-56 victory
"We did go into the game knowing she wasn't feeling well, so we
all had to pick it up. I had it in my mind that I had to set the
Rubino's first-half production enabled the Blue Demons (17-2,
4-2 Big East) to take control of the game midway through the first
half and never look back.
"I think we learned from our other road losses (to South
Florida and Notre Dame) that we have to make a statement early and
be aggressive from the start," Rubino said. "That's what we did
here and it just carried throughout the game."
Eventually Smith, the Big East's fourth leading scorer (18.5
ppg) and leading rebounder (11 rpg) got going after battling the
flu all week. She came back strong in the second half, scoring 14
of her 18 after halftime. Smith also added nine rebounds.
"She's been sick for a week, but to her credit, she's been able
to play through it," DePaul head coach Doug Bruno said. "We
always want to be a balanced scoring team. Jenna and Allie
(Quigley) have done a great job all season in stepping up when we
Quigley added 18 points for the Blue Demons, who have won 10 of
11. They had their nine-game winning streak snapped against Notre
Dame last time out.
Monique Blake scored 13 points and Heta Korpivaara each added 10
for Seton Hall (6-11, 3-3), which lost for the third time in four
Big East contests.
After the two teams traded the lead six times over the first 10
minutes, DePaul took command with a 9-0 run over a span of 3:14 to
take a 20-12 lead. Quigley hit two free throws, then added a corner
jumper in the run.
Blake then countered with a driving layup for Seton Hall, but
DePaul scored seven straight points, when Holly Medley made a long
3-pointer and Erin Cattell and Smith each scored a basket down low,
pushing the lead to 27-14.
"I really thought our second unit turned the game in our favor
in the later part of the first half," Bruno said. "We were able
to press a little, turn the tempo up and that's how we took the
DePaul, which led 35-27 at the half, controlled the action for
the remainder of the game. The Blue Demons started the second half
on a 12-2 run, pushing the lead to 47-29 with 15:58 remaining.
Quigley scored five during that stretch.
Seton Hall did manage to cut the lead to 55-49 with 5:50
remaining on a 3-pointer by Korpivaara.
DePaul countered, scoring six straight points, four from Smith
down low and pushing the lead to 61-49 with 4:14 left.
"It's really hard to play a team like that with so many
weapons," Blake said. "We can't concentrate on one player. They
have good shooters and a great post player."