Friday, January 13, 2017

No. 21 DePaul 100, Butler 69: Cloud nine for the Blue Demons

                                                         Photo Credit: DePaul Athletics

CHICAGO— On a cool Friday night outside in the Windy City, the No. 21 DePaul Blue Demons (15-4, 7-0 Big East) warmed up the McGrath-Phillips Arena crowd in a 100-69 win over the Butler Bulldogs (5-12, 2-4 Big East) behind a game-high 24 points from reigning conference Player of the Week Brooke Schulte.

Schulte finished with her ninth straight game in double figures on 12-of-17 shooting and a game-high five assists to lead DePaul to a season-high nine-game winning streak. The recent success from Schulte can be traced to the team-first mentality.

"I have become a bit more aggressive on the floor and that's a credit to my teammates," Schulte said. 

With Jessica January slated to return later this season after thumb surgery on Jan. 3, DePaul coach Doug Bruno wants to see both Schulte and January playing at a high-level.

"We want Brooke Schulte to be doing this when Jessica January returns. This is the Brooke Schulte we recruited and I am glad that she is performing at a high level," Bruno said.

With injuries to starters Jessica January (finger) and Ashton Millender (leg), DePaul’s depth came to the rescue again as Amarah Coleman finished with a season-high 20 points, along with Tanita Allen’s 12 points off the bench in 24 minutes.

"Amarah did a much better job and proud of her to be able to be coached," Bruno said. "She has the athleticism to be talented on both sides of the ball."

From the outset, DePaul raced out to a 13-2 lead over the first 3:27 by making their first four field goal attempts.

Outside of Michelle Weaver’s opening layup to go up 2-0 for the Bulldogs, the Blue Demons led the rest of the way and shot a season-high 55 percent from the field.

Butler’s Tori Schickel came into the DePaul game as the conference’s leading rebounder at 10.7, but picked up two fouls in the first 2:38, which changed the offensive strategy to more of a perimeter-oriented focus. Schickel would be held without a point in the first quarter as a result and held to eight points, on 2-of-6 shooting in 31 minutes.

Schickel’s foul trouble opened things up for Jacqui Grant to stretch Butler’s defense out to the perimeter with 16 points, on 6-of-11 shooting and six rebounds.

"I thought Jacqui was key to not letting her having a great game," Bruno said.

Weaver provided the spark for the Bulldogs in the first 10 minutes with 12 of the team’s 17 points, on 7-of-9 from the field, but held to five points in the final 30 minutes of the game.

DePaulBall showed up in full effect in the first half as it shared the ball with 13 assists, compared to Butler’s four. The lead expanded to as many as 25 for the Blue Demons late in the second quarter on 55 percent shooting.

The Bulldogs could not find an answer for Schulte in the start of the third quarter as she scored eight of the first 10 points for the Blue Demons as they led by as many as 36 points for the remainder of the game.

The Blue Demons move to 12-0 all-time in the series against the Bulldogs and look to extend their overall winning streak to 10 on Jan. 15 as the Xavier Musketeers come to town for a 2 p.m. tip on the Big East Digital Network. The Bulldogs look to bounce back as they travel to Milwaukee to take on the Marquette Golden Eagles, which starts an hour earlier on FS1.

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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.