Friday, January 25, 2019

On The Beat With DePaul Women's Basketball

The second part of my weekend of Big East Women's basketball featured the DePaul Blue Demons. I wrote about the weekend at Big East Women's Basketball for Global Traveler. I wrote about my day at DePaul at Game Day With the DePaul Blue Demons Women's Basketball Team for
The Seton Hall Pirates beat the Blue Demons 84-73. DePaul got off to a good start, but were unable to keep it going. Seton Hall kept chipping away until they got the lead in the 2nd quarter and held onto the lead, despite some good DePaul rallies. The Blue Demons never gave up, but unfortunately were never able to regain their early game form.
Despite watching my alma mater lose, I really enjoyed the game, especially from my courtside seat view. In fact, I was practically at midcourt. It doesn't get much better than that.
This was my first time at Doug Bruno Court in McGrath-Phillips Arena in the Sullivan Athletic Center on the DePaul Lincoln Park campus. It's a beautiful building and is part of all of the improvements DePaul has undergone since my days there.
As I meandered around the Athletic Department, I saw the wall of DePaul basketball greats. Of course, I had to look for Barb Atsaves, sister of my longtime friend and business partner Louie. Back in the early 1980's Barb was lighting it up on the court. When she graduated, he name was all over the all-time leaderboards. Even now, despite a faster-paced game and a 3 point shot, Barb still holds some spots in the various Top Ten lists. It was cool to see Barb on the wall of legends.
Despite the loss, I have to give credit to Coach Bruno. As a seasoned veteran coach, Bruno has seen it all. He opted to do the post-game media session solo. I think it was about protecting his players, not that the press would have been too harsh. Still, Bruno was there to take all questions by himself.
Obviously frustrated with the game, Bruno quickly gave credit to Seton Hall for an excellent performance. DePaul had an off game, but Seton Hall's play affected DePaul's game. There is plenty of basketball to be played, but DePaul has to improve to join Marquette in the top tier of the Big East.
Coach Bruno made it clear that there was no magical formula. The players had to dig deep within to find answers. Although unsaid, it is gut check time for the players.
I have to applaud Bruno for his composure and professionalism. He could have put on a show, but he chose the quieter serious route, which I think is more effective, at least at this point in the season.
It was just a coincidence that I saw Marquette and DePaul host Seton Hall. I originally stated that it would be an interesting way to compare and contrast the teams. While Marquette certainly looked better against Seton Hall, I realize it is only one slice of the season. I give Marquette total credit for being the class of the Big East right now, but this loss doesn't put DePaul out of the picture. I totally expect both teams to do well the rest of the season and through the tourney. I wouldn't be surprised to see a championship game rematch either.
I thank DePaul University and Assistant Director of Athletics Communications Bob Sakamoto for the hospitality. I appreciate the time and consideration shown me and I plan on returning for more great women's basketball action.
Barb Atsaves and me in Chicago, IL-January 2019.

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