No. 10 DePaul 77, Syracuse 61
DePaul had to forget a demoralizing loss at Connecticut in a hurry. Deirdre Naughton's right hand took care of that.
Naughton hit five 3-pointers, matching her total for the season, and the 10th-ranked Blue Demons beat Syracuse 77-61 on Tuesday night.
The win allowed DePaul (22-3, 9-1 Big East) to move back into a tie with No. 8 Notre Dame for second in the conference behind UConn and helped get over Saturday's 89-66 loss to the Huskies.
''It was really disappointing for us. We were going out there to win,'' said Naughton, who did not play last season because of a knee injury and was granted a sixth year of eligibility in August. ''Right after the game, we really focused on Syracuse and let the game at UConn go. We tried to show ourselves first that that game, our West Virginia win, our Stanford win, those aren't flukes. It was really important to come out and win.''
The Orange (16-7, 4-6 Big East) stunned then-No. 6 Ohio State 75-66 in the Carrier Dome in December, but any visions of another upset disappeared as the Blue Demons repeatedly burned the Syracuse zone, going 13 of 23 from beyond the arc.
''We came off a tough game at UConn and we have all the respect in the world for what this Syracuse team is capable of doing,'' DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. ''We knew it was a very important game for us to demonstrate that the season that these players have been putting together is not a flash in the pan. We can come back after the adversity of getting spanked at UConn and win a ballgame on the road in a tough place to play.''
After consecutive road losses to Notre Dame and Rutgers, Syracuse lost for only the second time in 16 home games. DePaul leads the series with Syracuse 5-1, 3-0 on the road, since joining the league in the 2005-06 season.
''It's frustrating losing at home,'' Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman said. ''It's frustrating losing basketball games, period. Losing does not feel good. We've got our program to a level where we expect to win.''
Naughton, who missed 11 of the first 14 games of the season, including a stunning 91-71 win over then-No. 2 Stanford, hit three from beyond the arc and Sam Quigley drained another in less than 6 minutes to key a game-breaking, 18-7 second-half run against the Orange. Naughton finished it with a 3 to give DePaul a 66-51 lead with 9:23 left.
Keisha Hampton added 18 points and seven rebounds and Anna Martin had 11 points for DePaul, which limited Syracuse to 38.6 percent shooting (22 of 57), 4 of 17 (23.5 percent) on 3-pointers.
Carmen Tyson-Thomas led Syracuse with 16 points and 13 rebounds, Iasia Hemingway added 14 points, and Shakeya Leary had 13 points.
The last time these teams met the Orange had three players in double figures but were undone by 24 turnovers and 21 offensive rebounds by the Blue Demons.
This time the Orange's 2-3 zone was victimized repeatedly by the hot-shooting Blue Demons, who were 29 of 57 (50.9 percent), kept making an extra pass to leave shooters open, and finished with 22 assists.
DePaul jumped to an early lead behind Hampton, who hit three 3s in the first seven minutes as the Blue Demons moved the ball nicely around the perimeter to create open looks. Hampton's runner at 11:49 gave her 11 points and the Blue Demons a 20-11 lead.
Not flustered by DePaul's press, the Orange rallied behind Leary, who had six points to key a 15-4 run. Leary's layup off a feed from Elashier Hall gave Syracuse a 23-20 lead at 7:38 of the opening half, which had four ties and seven lead changes.
Naughton hit a 3-pointer to put the Blue Demons back in front to stay, 34-33, with 3:12 to go and followed with a pullup jumper on the break.
China Threatt hit DePaul's seventh and last 3 of the opening period with 28 seconds to play to give the Blue Demons a 39-35 halftime lead.
''China's 3 was huge,'' Bruno said. ''Getting into the locker room on the road up four after we had muscled through the adversity of Syracuse coming back. I thought that was huge.''
Syracuse fell further behind at the start of the second before Tyson-Thomas hit a 3, Hemingway scored off the glass, and Leary hit a pair of free throws to cut an eight-point DePaul lead back to four.
Quigley's 3 from the top of the key halted the rally, and the Blue Demons took off.
''It's really disappointing having that lead and then not coming out strong,'' Tyson-Thomas said. ''Every time we hit they would come right back.''
The Orange didn't wilt early despite a subpar performance from Kayla Alexander, the team's third-leading scorer at 11.6 points per game. She played only 6 minutes of the opening half and did not score, finally registering the first of her two baskets with 12:31 left in the game. That moved the Orange within 53-46, but 12 seconds later Naughton hit another 3 to give DePaul a double-digit lead.
DePaul's other losses were at Purdue, 67-58, in November, and at Arizona State, 79-66, in December, five days after stunning Stanford.