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DePaul women get past Northern Iowa in tourney opener

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AP

DePaul women get past Northern Iowa in tourney opener

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — DePaul's Tanita Allen snagged a loose ball under the basket, but then lost her balance, awkwardly flipping the ball toward the rim as she was falling down and being fouled.

Somehow, it bounced a few times on the rim and went through the hoop.

It was that kind of charmed game for the Blue Demons — especially Allen.

The Blue Demons' sophomore scored 25 points — including hitting her first five 3-pointers — Lauren Prochaska and Brooke Schulte each added 12 and DePaul cruised past Northern Iowa 88-67 on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

"She's capable of this kind of game," DePaul coach Doug Bruno said of Allen. "She's a really quality shooter and was ready to let it rip."

Seventh-seeded DePaul (27-7) kept up a torrid scoring pace despite fairly quiet games from Schulte and Jessica January, the team's two leading scorers. Instead, it was Allen and Prochaska who were often the go-to options.

"It was just the way the game evolved," said Prochaska, who had a team-high six assists. "No one on the team is an 'I' player who looks for their own stats."

Allen, a 5-foot-10 guard who was the Big East Sixth Woman of the Year, came off the bench and hit her first six shots, including five 3-pointers to push the Blue Demons ahead early. She finished 9 of 11 from the field, including 5 of 6 from 3-point range.

"I just seemed to have a lot of open shots," Allen said. "And I knocked them down."

Allen said she had been struggling lately, but a pregame pep talk from her dad included the advice of "just shoot, don't really think about it." Bruno, after hearing Allen's explanation, shook his head and said he's been saying the same thing for weeks.

"You needed your father to tell you that?" Bruno said laughing.

Northern Iowa (24-9) took a 3-0 lead in the opening minute on Mikaela Morgan's 3-pointer, but that was pretty much the end of the good news for the Panthers. DePaul's fast-paced offense continually caught 10th-seeded Northern Iowa out of position and the Blue Demons shot 61 percent in the first half (20 of 33) on the way to a 51-33 halftime lead.

"What Allen did — my goodness — you've got to give her credit," Northern Iowa coach Tanya Warren said. "To go 9 of 11 and 5 of 6 from the 3? 25 points off the bench? That's incredible. She was in a zone."

Northern Iowa was led by Madison Weekly, who scored 21 points. Megan Maahs added 16 points on 6 of 7 shooting from the field.

"Every time we seemed to get a few shots going in a row, they always came back and hit a big shot," Weekly said.

UP NEXT:

DePaul will play in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday against No. 2 seed and host Mississippi State.

Loyola finishes top 10 in Coaches Poll

Loyola finishes top 10 in Coaches Poll

This year’s March Madness Cinderella team (accompanied by rising star Sister Jean) not only captured the hearts of Chicagoland and underdog supporters alike, but also Division 1 coaches, too.

Loyola University Chicago finished in the top 10 of the USA Today Coaches Poll, landing a 21 spot climb to finish in seventh place — the biggest rise the 2018 poll saw. The poll is conducted weekly with votes coming from a panel of Division 1 coaches who are all members of the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

Loyola made the biggest climb from 21st to 7th in the Coaches Poll!

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Loyola shocked the college basketball nation as the team was only the fourth No. 11 seed in NCAA basketball history to reach the Final Four, where they were defeated March 31 by No. 3 seed University of Michigan 57-69.

Relive their memorable journey here.

Loyola's magical run ends with Final Four loss to Michigan

Loyola's magical run ends with Final Four loss to Michigan

The Loyola Ramblers captured the hearts of millions with their magical run through March Madness.

And while it seemed like this talented group, led by head coach Porter Moser - and Sister Jean, might never lose, their journey ended Saturday night in San Antonio at the hands of the third-seeded Michigan Wolverines.

The Ramblers went through a dry spell in the first half but still managed to take a 29-22 lead into halftime in a game that featured two suffocating defenses. The second half was a different story, as the Wolverines put on a clinic and continued their lockdown defense, outscoring the Ramblers by 21 in the eventual 69-57 victory.

Relive their magical run in the video above. Below you can find our Facebook Live coverage of Gentile Arena, where the Ramblers' official watch party took place during the game.