Hrynko's Shot Lifts DePaul Women Over Rutgers

CHICAGO- There was no Khadijah Rushdan this year, but there was Brittany Hrynko.

Hrynko's three-pointer from the top of the key with ten seconds left gave DePaul a 60-57 win over Rutgers Tuesday night at McGrath-Phillips Arena, the Blue Demons' 13 straight home victory.

The loss denied Rutgers' head coach C. Vivian Stringer her 900th career victory.

"The only reason I would have liked to get No. 900 tonight is because I would have liked to be done with it," said Stringer. "It is a burden more than anything else."

"Coach Stringer has been such an important figure in the game of women's basketball," said DePaul coach Doug Bruno. "Her 899 wins are against really tough schedules.

"I thanked her before this game for all that she has done for the game and that I wanted her to win every game after she walks out of our arena, but we are going to do everything we can to keep her from winning No. 900 tonight."

DePaul and Rutgers have played their last four games against each other with neither team winning by more than four points. Last year the Scarlet Knights' Rushdan sank a layup with two seconds left for a 65-64 win.

This year it was Hrynko's turn for last second heroics.

A layup by Rutgers' Syessence Davis tied the score at 57 and DePaul took a timeout with 27 seconds left to play.

Hrynko was 0-15 from the field in DePaul's loss to Connecticut this past Saturday. After that game, "Coach told us to let it go and to go get the next one," Hrynko said.

And she got one.

Taking the inbounds pass on the sideline after a timeout, Hrynko dribbled the clock down to 14 seconds near midcourt before a formal play started.

"In the timeout coach told us that if we could not get anything off the out of bounds play, to go three down where [Katherine Harry] sets a screen at the top of the key and I use the screen to either get to the basket and draw a kick out or shoot a jump shot," Hrynko said. "I read the screen and the Rutgers' defender went under the screen and I shot the three."

Erica Wheeler's three-pointer with one second left was defended by Hrynko in part and was short of the mark.

Hrynko finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and a team-high five steals. Her three-pointer in the first half tied her for eighth place with Lenae Williams and Deirdre Naughton for DePaul's single season three-pointer record.

Megan Podkowa's (seven points off the bench) three-pointer completed a 12-2 DePaul run as the Blue Demons led 17-8 at 11:25.

DePaul (18-7, 7-4 Big East) jumped out to a 35-19 halftime lead, the fourth lowest point total by a DePaul opponent this year.

"We told our players at halftime that Rutgers has characteristically turned it up at least one more and maybe even two more gears over the last few years," said Bruno.

"I just wanted [my team] to play hard in the second half," said Stringer. "Let's just put on a good show for how we are capable of playing."

Both of them were right.

Rutgers opened the second half on a 14-6 run to close to 41-33 with 13:17 left.

Katherine Harry, who had zero rebounds in the Connecticut game, hit a jumper in the lane to put DePaul up 48-46 at 8:53.

The Scarlet Knights (14-9, 5-5 Big East) took their first lead since 18:16 of the first half, 50-48, on a jumper by Betnijah Laney.

It was then Harry again, as she converted a three-point play at 4:57. Her layup with 1:50 left gave DePaul a 57-53 lead.

"Katherine Harry wanted the ball in the post at crunch time, and she responded," said Bruno. "That has been important to us all year long."

Harry finished with a game-high 16 points and five rebounds. Her rebound total ties her with Nicole Michael (Syracuse) for 18th place all-time in Big East rebounding.

Jasmine Penny added 12 points for DePaul.

There were four ties and five lead changes in the game.

DePaul shot 46 percent from the field on 22-48, while Rutgers was 39 percent on 25-64. DePaul is now 15-0 this year when shooting a better percentage than its opponent.

Rutgers was led by 12 points each from Wheeler and Rachel Hollivay.

DePaul travels to Louisville for a rematch with the No. 11 Cardinals this Sunday at 12:30 CST. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

Tonight's game was DePaul's annual Play4Kay game in honor of former North Carolina State head coach Kay Yow, who passed away from breast cancer on January 24, 2009. Both teams tonight wore pink-laden uniforms to honor and support the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

DePaul assistant coach Jill Pizzotti sits on the Kay Yow Fund Board of Directors, and during her time with Nike she was instrumental in getting Nike involved in the creation of the pink uniform, worn tonight by Rutgers.

Notes:

- DePaul will visit the Muhammad Ali museum during its time in Louisville.

- Rutgers now lead the series 5-4, with each team winning all of its games at home.