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Podkowa wreaks havoc, lifts No. 16 DePaul past No. 12 Northwestern

No. 12 Northwestern struggled early and often as they lost their first game of the season to Megan Podkowa and No. 16 DePaul 77-64.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

EVANSTON, IL - No. 16 DePaul was able to add its second marquee victory of the season tonight in its 77-64 win over No. 12 Northwestern.

After the first few minutes of play, it was obvious something wasn't right with the Northwestern offense.

The missed shots began to pile up and at the end of the first quarter the Wildcats had just 8 points.

"We struggled defensively, and we broke down at the wrong time," Northwestern head coach Joe McKeown said. "We had chances and didn't make the plays we needed to make."

After a horrific offense start to the game -- the Wildcats were down 13 points at halftime and allowed the Blue Demons to gain an 18 point lead midway through the third quarter -- McKeown's squad settled down.

Northwestern got within 3 points early in the fourth quarter after junior Nia Coffey hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead 54-57. If only for a minute, momentum had swung in the favor of the Wildcats.

"We knew they were going to come back," guard Chanise Jenkins said. "We just buckled down, and everyone stepped up to the plate."

Jenkins backcourt mate junior Jessica January was in the midst of a shooting slump - she went 0-4 in the first half - when Northwestern rallied back.

January was the player who had been setting up teammates all night long but found her offensive groove late and helped will her team to a win.

January finished the night with 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists. Many of those assists were to a wide-open Megan Podkowa.

"Our guards were doing a really good job at getting me open shots," Podkowa said. "For some (shots) I was so wide open, I didn't have a choice but to shoot."

Podkowa carried the Blue Demons on offense essentially throughout the whole game. The Glenview, Il native finished the night with a game-high 27 points (6-7 from three) and 14 rebounds.

DePaul had four players score in double figures and two players with 8 or more assists.

"For us to come (to Northwestern) and win is a testament to our players and a testament to the schedule we've played," DePaul head coach Doug Bruno said.

The Blue Demons have played three teams ranked in the top-20 since Dec. 2 and just recently lost to a feisty South Dakota State team.

DePaul will look to finish its non-conference schedule against Loyola on Monday.