DePaul women’s basketball advances to BIG EAST semifinals

March 7, 2011

The No. 12/13 DePaul women’s basketball team and No. 8/7 Notre Dame will meet for the second time in eight days — this time in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship.  The March 7, 2011, game is scheduled to tip at 8 p.m. at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn.  The contest will air live on ESPNU.

Drew Olson will provide audio for DePaul’s BlueTube, while in-game updates and notes can be followed at

The Blue Demons are making their second BIG EAST Conference Championship semifinals appearance, while it is their first since 2006.  DePaul, who is the second seed in the tournament, reached the semifinals with a 66-54 win over seventh-seeded St. John’s on Sunday.  The Blue Demons were led by Anna Martin’s 17 points, while Felicia Chester tallied 10 rebounds.

Notre Dame is making its ninth semifinals appearance in the program’s 16th BIG EAST Championship appearances since joining the conference in 1995-96.  The Irish reached the semis with a 63-53 win over Louisville.  Devereaux Peters paced ND with 19 points, nine rebounds, and six blocks.

DePaul and Notre Dame meet for the 35th time on Monday and second time this season. In a series that dates back to the 1978-79 season, the Blue Demons lead the series 19-15 and won the series only meeting at the BIG EAST Championship in 2007.

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DePaul women’s hoops reaches No. 7 in Associated Press Poll

February 21, 2011

The DePaul women’s basketball team is having a record-breaking year — its 25-3 record is a program-best; its 12 BIG EAST wins is a first and on Monday when the Associated Press Poll was released, the Blue Demons were ranked No. 7 — the highest in the program’s 37-year history.

Prior to the poll’s release, junior forward Keisha Hampton was named to the BIG EAST Conference Weekly honor roll.

Keisha Hampton was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for the fourth time this season.

The Blue Demons (25-3, 12-1 BIG EAST) ran their McGrath-Phillips winning streak to 18 games last week with victories over BIG EAST foes Rutgers and No. 18/18 Georgetown.  During DePaul’s home court winning streak which spans two seasons, the Blue Demons average margin of victory is 20.1 points.  DePaul has also defeated four top 25 opponents (No. 3/2 Stanford, No. 8/8 West Virginia, No. 21/22 Marquette and No. 18/18 Georgetown) during its streak which currently stands at 377 days.

With DePaul’s win on Sunday over the Hoyas, the Blue Demons clinched a double-bye in the BIG EAST Conference Championship which will be played in Hartford, Conn., March 4-8.  DePaul’s first game of the Championship is scheduled for March 6 and will be televised on ESPNU.

DePaul’s program-best No. 7 ranking comes on the heels of the Blue Demons winning 12 of their last 13 games with its lone loss during that period at No. 2/2 Connecticut on Feb. 5. Prior to its loss at UConn, DePaul was ranked No. 9 in the Associated Press Poll that was released on Jan. 31, 2011 — at the time, the program’s highest ranking ever.

Hampton received her fourth BIG EAST Weekly honor roll accolade on Monday after leading the Blue Demons with 17.0 points last week.  The junior tallied 22 points, dished out a career-best seven assists, tallied three blocks and was 5-of-11 from 3-point range in DePaul’s win over Rutgers.  The Philadelphia native scored 12 points against Georgetown.

The Blue Demons return to action at Louisville on Feb. 23 before traveling to rival Marquette on Feb. 26.  DePaul closes out the regular season at home against Notre Dame, who is ranked No. 8 in this week’s AP Poll, on Feb. 28.

Tickets for the 8 p.m. clash with the Irish are still available and can be purchased from the DePaul ticket office located at 2323 N. Sheffield Ave. or by calling (773) 325-SLAM.

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DePaul women’s basketball stuns No. 3/2 Stanford

January 7, 2011

Led by Keisha Hampton’s 27 points and Felicia Chester’s career-high 24, the No. 22/25 DePaul women’s basketball upset No. 3/2 Stanford, 91-71 in front of a sold out and enthusiastic McGrath Arena crowd on Thursday, Dec. 16.

The Blue Demons, who have won their past 10 games, were aggressive from the opening minutes with their swarming and pressing defense, while their offensive transitions led to open shots.

DePaul (13-1) shot a season-high 59.6 percent (31-of-52) from the field, which included a 10-of-20 showing from behind the 3-point line. Sam Quigley finished the game with 11 points and was 3-of-5 from behind the arc.

Chester put an exclamation point on her career-night with two, 3-pointers—but none was bigger or ignited the crowd more than when the senior drained a trifecta with 6:24 left in the contest and put the Blue Demons up 73-55.

The Blue Demons led for 37:51 of the contest with Stanford’s largest lead, 5-2 in the opening 65 seconds of play, but Anna Martin put the Blue Demons ahead, 7-5 with a 3-pointer with 17:15 in the first half.

Stanford would tie the game at 18 and again at 20 before a China Threatt’s jumper gave DePaul a 22-20 lead with 8:55 to play in the half and the Blue Demons never looked back.

DePaul went up by as many as nine points, 37-28 but seven quick points by Cardinal sent the Blue Demons to the locker room with just a 37-35 advantage.

Refreshed from break, the Blue Demons came out running in the second half and blew the game open with a 26-12 run in the first eight minutes of the second stanza.

Hampton led DePaul in the second half with 23 points, including a stretch when the junior scored nine consecutive points for the Blue Demons. When the dust settled from Hampton’s scoring outburst, DePaul had pushed its advantage to 63-48 with 11:36 to play in the contest.

The Blue Demons sustained its double-digit lead the rest of the way, while a pair of free throws from Maureen Mulchrone gave DePaul a signature, 91-71 win.

Jeannette Pohlen led Stanford (6-1) with 23 points while Nnemkadi Ogwumike grabbed 10 rebounds for the Cardinal.

Chester paced DePaul on the boards with seven rebounds while she also added four steals.

Prior to tip, Stanford announced that it would play without senior Kayla Pedersen, while Deirdre Naughton was also absent from the floor for DePaul.

The win for DePaul, was the program’s first win over a No. 2 ranked team and second over a No. 3 ranked team. The Blue Demons topped then-No. 3 Louisiana Tech, 70-67 on Dec. 14, 1996 at Alumni Hall.

The win also denied Cardinal head coach Tara VanDerveer of her 800th career victory. VanDerveer came into Thursday’s game with a career 799-195 record and was looking to join Pat Summitt, Jody Conradt, C. Vivian Stringer and Sylvia Hatchell as women’s college coaches with 800 wins. That milestone will have to wait and her next try when the Cardinal play against Summitt and Tennessee on Sunday.

DePaul’s win was especially pleasing for Blue Demon head coach Doug Bruno, who both Stringer and Summitt got their 800th victories against DePaul.

For more about Blue Demon Athletics, visit

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DePaul names Oliver Purnell men’s basketball head coach

April 4, 2010

DePaul athletics director Jean Lenti Ponsetto announced today that Oliver Purnell has been named men’s basketball coach. Purnell brings 22 years of head coaching experience to Lincoln Park including the past seven seasons at Clemson University. He is the 13th head coach in DePaul basketball history.

Photo by DePaul Athletics/Steve Woltmann

Purnell inherited a Clemson program in 2003 following stints at Dayton, Old Dominion and Radford. After a 10-18 record during his first campaign in 2003-2004, he led the Tigers to six straight postseason appearances including each of the last three NCAA Tournaments. Clemson is just one of 21 programs nationally, including BIG EAST members Louisville, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Villanova and West Virginia, to make three straight NCAA appearances.

In the past four seasons, Purnell’s .694 winning percentage is third in the ACC with only Mike Krzyzewski of Duke and North Carolina’s Roy Williams posting higher winning percentages in that span. The 2009-2010 squad finished at 21-11 with the program’s third straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Clemson also finished the season with 301 steals in 32 games to rank among the nation’s best for the sixth straight year. Purnell compiled a record of 138-88 (.613) during his seven-year tenure at Clemson while the program improved its winning percentage in five straight seasons from 2004-09.

From an honors standpoint, Purnell has been named conference Coach of the Year in three different Division I conferences. He was also the 2009 District III USBWA Coach of the Year and one of 10 finalists for the Henry Iba Award, presented annually to the nation’s top head coach.

Additionally, he was a coach prominently involved in the USA Basketball program for nearly 10 years. Teams he was affiliated with in the USA Basketball program as a head coach or assistant coach accumulated a 45-4 record and won five gold medals in international competition. He was an assistant coach under Larry Brown on the United States Olympic team in Greece in 2004.

A native of Berlin, Md., Purnell was born May 19, 1953. He and his wife Vicky have two children: Olivia, who graduated from the University of Southern California in 2004 and earned a master’s degree from NYU in 2007, and Lindsay, who graduated from Boston College in May 2007 and is currently enrolled in the Wake Forest School of Law.

Read more about Coach Purnell >>
See photos from the press conference >>
Watch the press conference online >>

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