Blue Demons focused on current tournament
Each NCAA Tournament “has a life of its own” for DePaul women’s coach Doug Bruno.
The Blue Demons are one of six programs in the country to make 15th-straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament and there has been quite a tradition established for the Chicago-based school.
Bruno said now is not the time to think about the previous 14-consecutive trips to the Big Dance. The focus needs to be on this year alone.
“It’s a one-in-a-row tournament,” Bruno said. “The fans and the media love it for all the hoopla that surrounds it – who’s bracketed where, who got in and who didn’t get in and the 63 games of two-hour drama. That’s lovable.
“For the coaches and players, it’s a one-in-a-row tournament. I don’t look at it as going to 15-straight. I look at it as going to one tournament 15-straight times and one tournament 22 times during the time I’ve been blessed to coach at DePaul, That’s the way we approach it and make sure the players know that just because you went last year is no guarantee you will make it this year. That’s the expectation, but you’ve got to make it happen.”
DePaul did it this year with its 26-7 overall record. It is ranked 19th by The Associated Press and the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll.
Bruno gave credit to his administration, assistant coaches and players for the success the Blue Demons have enjoyed over the years.
DePaul senior guard Jessica January is proud to be a part of a successful program and of another NCAA Tournament.
“It doesn’t get old and you never take it for granted,” January said. “It’s one of the reasons I came to DePaul. It’s part of the history of being at such a great program.”
In the middle of the season, the Blue Demons won 16 of 17 games and the only loss during that stretch was to Marquette 102-101 in double overtime. They dropped an 86-78 decision to Marquette in the Big East Tournament championship game.
Brooke Schulte leads DePaul in scoring at 16.4 points per game and she also pulls down six rebounds per outing.
“I’ve always understood what coach wants from me, but the team has been phenomenal overall and I couldn’t do it without them,” Schulte said.
The Blue Demons, the No. 7 seed of the NCAA Tournament, will play No. 10 seed Northern Iowa in Friday’s opening round. The tip is set for 11 a.m. at Humphrey Coliseum on the campus of Mississippi State.
DePaul averages 80.8 points per game as a team and gives up 67 points per outing and that caught the attention of Northern Iowa coach Tanya Warren.
“They are a well-oiled machine,” Warren said. “They execute very well on both ends of the floor.”