DePaul flew half-way across the country Sunday morning – one day later than expected.
It was picked up at Bradley Airport by a bus for the drive to UConn – 30 minutes later than projected.
Then, the Blue Demons returned to Chicago immediately after the game – 13 hours door-to-door, if they weren’t delayed more than anticipated.
So, sinister forces conspired to ruin a team’s day?
“Well, they got to Connecticut at about 8,” Geno Auriemma kidded. “My buddy was their bus driver and he didn’t pick them up until 1 p.m.”
There are good days and bad days during every college basketball season and, frankly, Sunday was one DePaul likely wished could have been spent under a blanket clutching a mug of hot chocolate.
But the Big East, the university and ESPNU felt the show must go on, even though school had already been canceled for Monday and the threat of snow sliding off the Gampel roof was strong enough to cordon off traffic trying access the stadium from Hillside Rd.
And everyone but DePaul got what they needed. The No. 3 Huskies rolled, 91-44, before a nice crowd of 8,861.
“The day was like the two hours that transpired between 3:30 and 5:30 [game time],” DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. “We got it handed to us. I didn’t expect us to beat them, which is hard enough for me to say. But I did expect us to do the little things better.”
The Huskies (22-1, 9-1) were led by junior center Stefanie Dolson. Dolson scored 23 points, 22 in the first half. She added five rebounds and six assists. She barely played in the second half costing her a chance to approach her career high (25) set early this season against Syracuse.
“As an upper classman, it’s important to me to come out and have a good start,” Dolson said. “Setting a tone like that helps the underclassmen understand that having a couple of days off [because of the snow] shouldn’t affect you.”
Bria Hartley added 18 points and seven rebounds just four days after scoring 20 against Marquette. After a long shooting slump this season, Hartley, the WBCA All-America, has not made 14 of her last 23 shots.
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis added eight points and seven rebounds. UConn outrebounded DePaul, 49-27 and held the Blue Demons to 16 of 61 from the field (26.2) and 7 of 31 from three (22.6).
DePaul (17-7, 6-4) was led by Megan Rogowski who scored 12 points.
Leading scorer Brittany Hrynko (16.2) scored just three points, all on first-half free throws. She was 0 for 15 from the field.
“The simple answer is that we really work hard at it [stopping the other team’s star],” Auriemma said.
And Katherine Harry, the Big East’s leading rebounder – only player in the league averaging double-figures – did not have a rebound.
“That is what happens,” Bruno said. “It’s a function of the [UConn] defense.”