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DePaul advances to WNIT championship, wins big over Indiana Hoosiers

Megan Podkowa and Brooke Schulte guide DePaul to WNIT Championship after beating the Indiana Hoosiers 84-69 in the WNIT Semifinals.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago, IL -- The Blue Demons advanced to the WNIT championship game Thursday night after beating the Indiana Hoosiers 84-69.

It was a tale of two halves for no. 19 DePaul.

The Blue Demons came out firing to start the second half. DePaul gained an early seven-point lead after junior guard Jessica January connected on a three-point play and never looked back.

DePaul had six players score 9 points or more tonight and showed why their one of the deeper teams in the Big East.

"I thought the bench was huge tonight," head coach Doug Bruno said.

Sophomore Ashton Millender proved to be the spark off the bench. Millender finished with 15 points and blew the game open with her three-point shooting.

Led by guard Brooke Schulte and forward Megan Podkowa, the Blue Demons found their groove offensively after relying solely on three-pointers in the first half.

Schulte finished the game with 13 points, and Podkowa shook off an early blow to the head to lead all scorers with 16 points, while also contributing 4 steals and 4 assists.

"Any player at any moment can have a big game and step up," Schulte said. "Ashton stepped up when we needed her to, and other players can step up in different parts of the stat sheet as well."

After four days of rest, it took the Blue Demons all of the first quarter to find a rhythm offensively.

DePaul shot just 40% from the field for the first half, while the Hoosiers shot 63%. The Blue Demons were able to overcome their early turnovers woes by committing to the long ball. Head coach Doug Bruno's squad hit eight three-pointers in the first half.

The Hoosiers played well offensively in the first half, but couldn't replicate it in the second half after point guard Tyra Buss suffered a left-wrist injury.

As the third quarter progressed, the Blue Demons began to play like one of the better teams in the country.

The Blue Demons were able to gain a 20-point lead after surging on offense.

"The one things that's been consistent, is our poor play in the third quarter," Indiana head coach Teri Moren said. "If you go back to our last three games, we've probably scored the least amount of points in the third quarter.

After connecting on 17 field goals in the first half, the Hoosiers managed just 11 field goals after halftime.

DePaul we'll look to finish its tourney run with a championship when they play Baylor on November 22.