Saturday, November 19, 2016

January in November as DePaul stomps rival Northwestern

Photo Credit: Geno Green

In the last four seasons, the Northwestern game was circled on DePaul senior Jessica January's calendar.

In a two-minute stretch in the second quarter on Saturday night, January showed the flare and hunger that led to the preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year honors in October.

January's circus layup, reminiscent of Dwyane Wade from the Chicago Bulls with 1:07 left in the second quarter got the DePaul crowd into a frenzy with a 33-30 lead on Northwestern.

The layup would be a harbinger of things to come for January as she wooed the crowd with a running three-point make as time expired later in the quarter and looked back to the DePaul bench with a glowing smile.

"I think it helped a lot because finishing out a quarter or a half with a bucket is always important," January said. "Like Bruno said, Northwestern has such a good team and they are able to come back from being down, so trying to keep the momentum our way was key."

January went on to a notch game-highs in points (25) and assists (six), in a 89-66 win over Northwestern (3-1) at McGrath-Phillips Arena, but the little plays left in the stat sheet, such as a hard-fought rebound to find an open Kelly Campbell on the wing for a triple showed the versatility of the senior.

DePaul coach Doug Bruno's appreciation for the growth of January in her three-plus seasons at DePaul has been near-flawless.

"[Jessica] is a special student and the only flaw I can find on her is wearing black shoes on a blue program, but you know what, there is no way I am going to change that ever," Bruno said.

Northwestern coach Joe McKeown wanted to recruit January in 2012, but settled for DePaul.

"Yea, she should have came to Northwestern. I recruited her too," McKeown said in a sarcastic manner. "[Jessica] has had a great career at DePaul and obviously one of the best players in the BIG EAST right now."

January and the Blue Demons face a tough stretch as they travel to Estero, FL, to play Western Kentucky in the Gulf Coast Showcase opening round game on Nov. 25. Depending on the result, DePaul could play either Baylor or Kent State on Nov. 26.

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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.