Dec. 13, 2008
DePaul Game Notes
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Finals are over and the Wildcats return to the hardwood after a 10-day hiatus, facing crosstown foe DePaul in a 2 p.m. contest Sunday at McGrath Arena. After battling the Blue Demons, Northwestern hosts Texas Southern Tuesday at noon before traveling to Indiana Saturday for the Big Ten opener. Tip against the Hoosiers is set for 4 p.m. CT and will be streamed online by www.bigtennetwork.com.
Entering the Game...
Northwestern looks to break its bad luck streak, having lost the last two games by a combined four points. The Wildcats suffered losses to Marquette at home, 55-54, and to Clemson in South Carolina, 78-75 (OT) within three days of each other. Sophomore Amy Jaeschke continues to shine for NU, recording a career-high 34 points on 11-of-24 from the field against Clemson and turning in a 10-point, 10-rebound effort against Marquette. She now has a Wildcat-best five double-doubles on the season.
DePaul (RV/RV) enters Sunday's contest with an 8-2 mark, having only lost to New Mexico in Albuquerque by a bucket and to then-No. 9/12 Tennessee in Nashville. The Blue Demons haven't been playing the strongest competition, outscoring the likes of teams such as Alcorn State, Missouri State and Southern Illinois by an average of 22.6 points. DePaul's only other close game was a 68-64 decision up the road at Loyola-Chicago.
Scouting the Blue Demons
DePaul enters Sunday's contest undefeated at McGrath Arena and boasts an 8-2 overall record. The squad is receiving votes in both polls this week and has been flirting with a Top-25 ranking all season. The Blue Demon's strength of schedule might have something to do with that situation, as DePaul has not been challenged all season, with the exception of three games. The Blue Demons lost at New Mexico by a bucket, dropped an 88-67 decision to then-No. 9/12 Tennessee and eeked out a 68-64 victory over Loyola-Chicago on Dec. 7. DePaul is led by Deidre Naughton, who transferred from Wake Forest last season. The Wildcats have seen the Winnetka native before, as they hosted Wake Forest in last year's Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Naughton is averaging 18.8 points per game while senior Natasha Williams and freshman Keisha Hampton are averaging 10.9 and 10.1 ppg, respectively. Williams also leads DePaul on the glass, averaging 6.5 rpg. Doug Bruno is the Blue Demon's long-time mentor (22 seasons) and has coached Northwestern sophomore Amy Jaeschke two summers ago when she was a member of the U-18 USA basketball squad.
The Series against DePaul
This is the 25th anniversary of the cross-town rivalry and essentially the rubber match of the all-time series, as both squads have each won 12 games. DePaul has won the past nine meetings while Northwestern emerged victorious in the first eight, beginning in 1975.
Finding the Diamond in the Rough
Though the last two games have yielded unwanted outcomes, several positives emerged. Consider:
Over the past two games, Northwestern has shot 75 percent from the charity stripe, going an outstanding 42-of-56
The Wildcats have knocked down 44 percent of their looks compared to their opponents' 40 percent
Northwestern's 75 points against Clemson was the most NU has scored so far this season
The Wilcats also recorded 40 rebounds and 11 steals against the Tigers, both season-highs
Freshman Orban Shines
Freshman Brittany Orban is the team's second-leading scorer and rebounder over the past two contests, averaging 10.5 ppg and 5.5 rpg. The forward notched 11 points and six rebounds against Clemson on Dec. 4 and contributed 10 points and five boards against Marquette. She has become a staple in the starting lineup, starting the past six games while averaging 27.3 mpg.
For complete game notes, please click on the PDF above.