Facing their third top ten opponent in this young season, the DePaul Blue Demons women's basketball team battled Kentucky and came away with an 86-82 win. The victory over No. 9/9 Kentucky wasn't a major surprise, but it was an upset for the No. 23/24 Blue Demons.
Kentucky started strong, building an 8 point lead midway through the first quarter. That would be their biggest lead of the game. By the end of the 1st quarter, DePaul was up by one, but Kentucky came back to lead at halftime 37-35. DePaul had an 8 point scoring run in the 3rd quarter to take a 7 point lead, their biggest of the game, and finished the 3rd quarter leading 57-53. DePaul matched Kentucky in the 4th to preserve the win.
DePaul, wearing their alternate red uniforms, led for 24:25 of the game, compared to Kentucky's 12:02. Kentucky dominated second chance points 21-8, but DePaul did the same with fast break points 38-17. DePaul had a slight edge in points in the paint 50-48.
Sonya Morris led the Blue Demons with 23 points. She also had 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in a great effort.
Deja Church had 18 points, and Lexi Held, Darrione Rogers and Dee Bekelja all had 12. Kayla Caudle (5), Kendall Holmes (2) and Jean Nadege (2) rounded out the scoring.
This was a bigger win than it would seem. Kentucky brought it to the Blue Demons all game long and DePaul stayed one step ahead. DePaul's resolve was clear in this seesaw battle. They never gave in and they never let up.
It was also an interesting win for new DePaul athletic director DeWayne Peevy. The former Kentucky deputy AD watched his new team defeat his former team. Was Peevy the secret weapon? All lips were sealed, but the win probably had more to do with DePaul pounding the paint, instead of relying on 3 point shots. Still Peevy's presence added a fun wrinkle.
DePaul coach Doug Bruno reached a career milestone in notching his 725th win for the Blue Demons. The win allowed him to pass the legendary Ray Meyer as DePaul's all time winningest coach. The significance of that was not lost on Bruno, but he was quick to deflect praise, choosing to credit Meyer instead. Bruno played guard for Meyer and obviously holds him in high regard. Coach Bruno was emotional when discussing their relationship in the post game presser.
Sonya Morris and Deja Church joined Coach Bruno in the media session. In addition to discussing the game, both talked about the pros and cons of an empty arena.
DePaul is now 3-2 on the season, with a two game win streak. Their next game is Saturday, December 19 at 2 pm CST at Wintrust Arena against Georgetown. After that, DePaul faces Creighton on December 22. The rest of the schedule has yet to be announced, but is expected to be revealed soon.