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Villanova Women’s Basketball Game Preview: DePaul Blue Demons

It’s about to get a bit tougher for the Wildcats.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-DePaul vs St. John's Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Villanova Wildcats (14-4) vs. DePaul Blue Demons (14-5)

When: Friday, January 19, 2018, at 7 p.m.
Where: Jake Nevin Field House
Coverage: Big East Digital Network/Fox Sports Go
DePaul’s Previous Season Record: 27-8 (16-2 Big East), Won Big East regular season title, lost to Marquette in conference tournament final, lost to Mississippi State in Second Round of NCAA Tournament.
Key Players for DePaul: #1 Ashton Millender (6-2) Jr., F; #10 Amarah Coleman (5-11) Sr., G; #20 Kelly Campbell (5-10) So., G; #24 Tanita Allen (5-10) Jr., G

Scouting Report

The are led by longtime coach Doug Bruno, who’s in his 32nd year of service. While their previous year they played each their home games at the Allstate Arena, now they have relocated their home arena, still in their home city of Chicago, with that being the Wintrust Arena.

What’s different from last season’s game for DePaul is simply Mart’e Grays herself. Grays, the Blue Demons’ 6-foot-2 junior forward missed all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon and has picked up from where she left off as a crucial player for the Blue Demons, before she had been injured. Ashton Millender, the 5-8 junior guard, will also be back on the court after missing most of the previous season as well and adds a perimeter threat from deep. Lauren Prochaska will be the player to watch out for in the point guard position, as she embodies the qualities of a floor general and leader on the court.

Returning Big East All-Freshman player Kelly Campbell has continued to grow as an all-around player. She rounds out DePaul’s five double digit scorers. She’s a guard that does a little of everything, averaging 10.8 points, 7.7 boards, 5.9 assists, and 2.1 steals per game.

Amarah Coleman and Tanita Allen will be an additional two key players the ‘Cats need to look out for. The thing about DePaul is that they are incredibly deep in personnel. There’s not one player that carries the Lady Blue Demons, they act as a team.

Both Coleman and Allen were named Preseason All-BIG-EAST. Coleman, the 5-11 senior guard, has thrived since she first arrived to DePaul after transferring in from Illinois. Allen, a 5-foot-10 junior, is the reigning Big East Sixth Woman of the Year.

Outlook

The Blue Demons are such a deep team, with so many different weapons, it’s tough to just isolate one area to excel in.

Grays and Millender are likely to lead DePaul in Friday night’s game against Villanova, as they have played very well lately. Each of the two scored a game-high of 20 points on Sunday’s game against Butler. And they were just two of six DePaul players to reach double figures.

Grays has now scored in double figures in seven-straight games while Millender has also been a double-figure scorer...but in three of her last four games.DePaul is one of the top teams in the conference, second to the undefeated-in-Big-East-play Marquette Golden Eagles. The Blue Demons’ only loss in Big East play came from the Golden Eagles, and since then, they’ve dominated every opponent since.

The Cats will need to head into Friday night’s game with great edge in order to get on top early. If they do this, it is possible they can create a solid lead, as they establish an early confidence.

From the Wildcats standpoint, with players like Kelly Jekot, Jannah Tucker, Adrianna Hahn, and Mary Gedaka, it’s necessary to get these players going. Villanova just endured a tough four-games-in-seven-days stretch, and it’s about to get even harder with DePaul and Marquette on tap. It won’t be easy, but this game would be such a telling one and a big morale boost. The Wildcats need to get themselves going again.

Make sure you are in the Jake Nevin Field House on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. to watch the nail biting game of the week in Women’s Big East College Basketball! (Or at least tuning in on the Big East Digital Network)