With the Chicago temperature getting colder and the snow piling up, it took DePaul a little while to warm up and start piling up the points. A hot third quarter propelled the Blue Demons to an 82-76 victory over BIG EAST rival Seton Hall.
Seton Hall led 17-13 after the first quarter, but DePaul tied it at 31 at halftime. DePaul came out strong in the third quarter to lead 61-51 at the end of three. Despite a Seton Hall fourth quarter surge, DePaul was able to hang on to grab the win. Overall, DePaul held the lead for 28:09 compared to Seton Hall's 9:56.
Both teams were cold from three-point land, with DePaul hitting 2-13 and Seton Hall 1-12. Things improved for both in the second half, as DePaul went 6-14 and Seton Hall went 4-14 from beyond the arc. DePaul finished shooting 29,6%, while Seton Hall ended at 19.2% from three-point land.
DePaul shot 39.2% from the field and 84.2% on free throws, while Seton Hall shot 49.5% and 43.8% respectively. Seton Hall's poor shooting really was the difference in the six point victory for the Blue Demons.
Seton Hall held the advantage in points from turnovers (15-10), points in the paint (48-28), second chance points (15-10) and points from the bench (11-6). DePaul only led in fast break points (23-19).
DePaul's Dee Bekelja had a double-double, with 22 points and 10 rebounds, both leading the team. Other DePaul scorers included Sonya Morris (20), Lexi Held (17), Jorie Allen (10), Deja Church (7) and Darrione Rogers (6).
Lauren Park-Lane paced Seton Hall with 24 points. Andra Espinoza-Hunter led the irates with 15 rebounds.
Held scored her 1,000th point for the Blue Demons. She also hit two clutch free throws with seconds remaining to ice the win.
“Double-Double Dee” Bekelja notched her second double-double of the season. It was also the third one of her career.
No. 19/22 DePaul improved to 12-4, 9-2 in the BIG EAST while the Pirates dropped to 9-6, 7-5. The Blue Demons return to action Wednesday night against Xavier at Wintrust Arena in Chicago.
One final important note about Monday's game was the focus on raising awareness and funding to combat breast cancer by prominently featuring pink. The Play4Kay game honors the legendary former North Carolina State coach Kay Pow, who courageously fought cancer for 22 years before passing in 2009.
DePaul coach Doug Bruno talked about Coach Kay in the post-game press session. His respect for Coach Kay was obvious as he got emotional just speaking about the iconic coach.
Also in the presser, Bekelja discussed her big night and her new nickname. She also stated she probably would be celebrating the win with a pizza while the team stays at a hotel near Wintrust through Wednesday's game. Bekelja also discussed learning and growing from the experience of holding off the Seton Hall surge at the end of the game.
Held was next up in the presser. She talked about reaching the 1,000 point milestone. Held also discussed the pressure and satisfaction of nailing the two clutch free throws.