South Orange, NJ- In a game much closer than the final score indicates, DePaul defeated Seton Hall 71-59 at Walsh Gymnasium on Saturday. DePaul improved to 4-4 in conference as the winless Hall dropped to 0-8. Resilience was the key word in this one.
“I am proud of our team,” DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. “We went from losing at number 3 UCONN last Saturday, dropping a game we had at number 11 Rutgers on Tuesday and coming in here. This league is so tough because a team at the bottom like Seton Hall is not an easy team to play. Our kids responded.” Next up is number 14 Louisville on Tuesday. For a moment Bruno could savor this one.
The Blue Demons led by 15 with just over fourteen minutes left. The Hall made a solid run and got it to a one possession game in the stretch. Two big three pointers by DePaul freshman guard Brittany Hrynko basically gave the Blue Demons breathing room and the opportunity to ice the game.
DePaul was ‘slowed’ a bit as they entered the game averaging 71 possessions per Big East contest. Seton Hall was right on the mark or as close as you can get as they averaged 64 possessions before Saturday’s matchup.
Interestingly, despite a moderate tempo, the Hall pushed the ball a bit with a sideline break at times in the second half. That gave them a few good opportunities, especially in the perimeter, in transition.
A statistical oddity was in the offensive rebounding percentage area. The Pirates enjoyed a 48-29% advantage by virtue of grabbing 21 offensive boards to DePaul’s two. Normally, an edge in the offensive rebounding as significant as this, spells more trips to the line. Seton Hall attempted three, yes three (hitting two), free throws. All coming on a three point shooter getting fouled by a hasty DePaul defender. The Blue Demons attempted 20 hitting 16. The free throw rate saw a 28-3% differential on the side of the visitors. The respective coaches discussed this.
“We talked about keeping them off the line as a major priority,” Bruno said. “We got beat pretty good on the boards but we didn’t allow them to get put backs and draw fouls. They fouled us a few times late to stop the clock so you can say we took about 14 free throws during the game. But getting to the line is a big part of what we do offensively.”
“The Big East is a physical, let them play type of conference,” said Seton Hall assistant Catherine Proto (head coach Anne Donovan felt ill and missed the post game presser). “We had those (rebounding) opportunities but have to learn to get ourselves in a position where we can draw fouls. We actually have to get more aggressive in that situation if we want to get to the line.”
Another stat ‘oddity’, DePaul held a 34-22 and lead in points in the paint. That, despite being outrebounded by 13 overall. High scorer Jasmine Penny (19 points) and Katherine Harry, a 6-3 junior, went for 13 points, 13 rebounds and did appreciable damage inside.
Anna Martin with 18 points and Hrynko with 13 points (3 of 4 from three) were DePaul’s other double digit scorers.
While DePaul showed the mentioned resilience, Seton Hall had a lot of its own battling back from the double digit deficit to make it interesting in the final minutes. Leading scorer Jasmine Crew scored only eight points, being forced into a 4 of 15 shooting day by some solid DePaul defense led by Hrynko, who provided more than three point marksmanship. Terry Green scored a game high 21 points in 22 minutes of relief. The 6 foot junior tied a school record going 7 of 7 from beyond the arc. Her shooting, an offensive plus of late, almost rallied the Hall to their first victory in Big East play.
Tempo free advocate. Post game Bruno remarked about his team’s excellence in taking care of the ball with only seven turnovers. Yours truly mentioned that was an outstanding 11% TO rate (Seton hall was 28%). “How do you calculate turnover rate?” Bruno asked. I mentioned it is simply turnovers divided by possessions. Further inquiring how possessions are figured I explained the method we use where an offensive board extends the possession. “I use the Dean Smith method,” he said, “our efficiency was .96.” In the Dean Smith method, which I used for years, offensive rebounds start a new possession. Today that method is utilized to count ‘plays’. DePaul did have .96 points per ‘play’. The numbers in today’s formula put the Blue Demons at 1.11 points per possession or an efficiency (PPP * 100) of 111. A .96 per play or 1.11 per possession, outstanding on either count.