Chicago, IL -- I got a chance to sit down with Head Coach, Doug Bruno, on Thursday. I was struck by his humility and his knowledge on what it takes to be successful. Bruno explained what it took to play DEPAUL BALL...I got a chance to see it in action against Southern Illinois at the McGrath Center last night.
The night started with the "Confidence" Song by Selena Gomez during DePaul's introduction. This is a very fitting theme song for the Blue Demons right now as they had five players score in double digits and 32 points came off the bench.
Senior guard, Chanise Jenkins, set the pace early in the first quarter with a very impressive move under the basket, as she drove to the cup from the left wing. She "trapped" herself under the basket and didn't have a shot.
So we thought.
She continued her dribble under the basket and flipped a no-look reverse lay-up...DePaul goes up by 11 in the first quarter. Jenkins' leadership shows through as she ends the night with 17 points, seven assists, and four steals.
Jessica January had a slow start while being guarded by junior Rishonda Napier. But once Napier needed a break, and junior Carlie Corrigan came, January took control of the court and parted through her defenders like waves departing from a surfboard.
She scored 15 of her 17 points as Napier took her water break. Unfortunately, when Napier came back in the game, January went back under the waves and couldn't capitalize on anymore beautiful takes to the basket. Napier assisted the Salukis with 15 points.
DePaul is known for their outside shooting, but tonight the Blue Demons worked the paint...banking in 66 points down low. With four minutes into the third quarter, Megan Podkowa fights hard in the paint for a third chance put back. Yes, those two points went towards her box score of 17, but those two points also carried over to her milestone achievement of banking in her 1,000th point in her DePaul career.
"Obviously it's cool, but I wasn't really thinking about it, we don't ever talk about it or think about it, it's a good feeling, but I'm glad we got the win."
This is the humility I am talking about! It's obvious this Big East Tournament MVP has been under the wings of Coach Bruno for four years.
Sophomore Mart'e Grays also put in work down-low. Grays says she is more confident now as her playing time has increased. Her confidence gave her 20 points, shooting 7 for 8 from the field. She had two impressive threes from the big wo "man" down-low, four rebounds, and four assists.
"I just have to stay focused. Like Coach says, I have to exhaust myself and then let someone else come in, get my break and then go back in there." Grays continued, "This year I am more comfortable, and I know the team more."
I wonder how long the Blue Demons will keep that song as their intro, but it's definitely accurate. The Blue Demons look to take their confidence into their next match-up vs St. Bonaventure as they move on to the second round of the WNIT on Sunday at 4 p.m.