DePaul lost its third game of the last four and are slumping heading into the BIG EAST tournament. Coach Doug Bruno and the team are frustrated, but confident they will rise to the challenge as they have in last three tournaments.
The game was close throughout,k although Butler always seemed to be in control. In the end, DePaul had several chances to go ahead, but they failed to convert enough shots and fell short.
Butler held a lead for 19:00 compared to DePaul's 15:08 on top. There were 14 ead changes and 13 ties. DePaul won most of the team cateogories. DePaul oytscored Butler from turnovers (20-10), on second chances (11-4), on fast breaks (13-10) and from the bench (34-13). Butler edged DePaul in points in the paint (42-34).
DePaul shot 34.6% from the field, 27.0% from beyond the three point line and 83.3% from the free throw line. Butler shot 54.1%, 45.5% and 90.9% from the same areas.
DePaul's Lexi Held and Deja Church each had 20 points to pace the Blue Demons. Other DePaul scorers included Jorie Allen (18), Darrione Rogers (13) De Bekelja (7) and Hannah Purcell (3). Church led the way with 12 rebounds. Held also had seven steals.
Butler's Upe Atosu led the Bulldogs with 22 points. Nyamer Diew grabbed 8 rebpunds to lead the team.
DePaul finished the regular season with a record of 14-7, 11-5 in BIG EAST Conference play.
It should be noted the Blue Demons managed to make it through the entire regular season without any health hiatuses. That's a major accomplishment. Coach Bruno talked about that being a double edge sword. Other teams had additional rest periods due to postponements over health issues. Did those extra off days help or hinder teams. There is no answer, but it added to the challenge of the season.
Individually, Held ranks fifth in the nation in steals. She has 38 steals in her last eight games.
In the post-game Senior Day ceremony, DePaul honored Dee Bekelja, Deja Church, Jolene Daninger, Kiara Dallmann, injured graduate transfer Courtney Fredrickson and managers Steve Cieniawa and Kezjahree Wingate. It's unfortunate there were no fans to cheer this group, but their accomplishments and contributions were noted.
DePaul heads into the BIG EAST Conference tournament as defending champs. The tourney starts on Friday, March 5, but DePaul's first game is on Saturday, against Villanova at 3 PM.