By Andrew Rodriguez
Posted: Thursday, March 27, 2014
The DePaul women’s basketball team was honored during a small but festive send-off Thursday morning in Lincoln Park, as it prepares to play in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament for the third time in program history.
Family, friends and faculty gathered at the Sullivan Athletic Center on the Lincoln Park campus, to show their support for Coach Doug Bruno and his players before they departed for Lincoln, Neb., where the No. 7 seed Blue Demons will face the third-seeded Texas A&M on Saturday. The game will be televised by ESPN, starting at 6 p.m.
DePaul President Dennis Holtschneider gave his best wishes to the team, telling the group that the school is "so proud."
Bruno addressed the small crowd that gathered and showed his appreciation for Athletic Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto, the athletic department and the fans for their continued support.
“Having all these people come together to try and help us win one more game in a row means so much to our players,” he said.
Coach Bruno even showed some unanticipated energy when he lead the crowd in a chant.
“We are …,” he said.
“DePaul!” as the crowd answered back.
It has been a record-setting season as DePaul (29-6) won its first Big East Conference regular-season title and tournament championship. The team also set program records for points scored (2,941), three-pointers (310) and assists (693).
The team’s 29 wins ties for the most in school history, which was set during the 2010-2011 season. Perhaps no win was more meaningful than the team’s upset of second-seeded Duke on Monday. It was Bruno's 600th collegiate victory.
Not only did the women’s team records this season but it also set a tournament record in the process. DePaul’s 104-100 first-round victory over No. 10-seeded Oklahoma was the highest-scoring regulation game in NCAA women’s tournament history.
DePaul is one of nine programs to appear in each of the last 12 NCAA tournaments and five of those programs, including Bruno’s team, are playing in the Sweet 16.
Throughout the tournament, the Blue Demons have proven they can outscore their opponents, defend with relentless pressure and play in a hostile environment. However, this weekend’s game will be played on a neutral court against a solid Texas A&M basketball team.
“At the end of the day, it all matters that we have one more point than our opponent, especially at this time of the year,” Bruno said.
On Saturday, the Blue Demons will have a chance to add to their record-breaking season.
“I thank God for every opportunity that we’re ever able to create as a coaching staff with a great group of young people,” Bruno said. “This is just another one of those great groups that have already built memories for life.”
The DePaul women’s basketball team is the only collegiate program (men or women) from the state of Illinois competing in the NCAA tournament. ... The Blue Demons are currently riding a nine-game winning streak. ... This will be the second Sweet 16 appearance for the DePaul women’s in the past four seasons.
Mobile Video: Rough-cut video of DePaul President Dennis Holtschneider welcoming the team.
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