NCAA Talk

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.

NCAA is taking steps to allow student-athletes to make money off their likeness

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USA TODAY

NCAA is taking steps to allow student-athletes to make money off their likeness

Bulls rookie guard Coby White has talent, an infectious smile and an afro that makes him stand out on the court. It’s a fair bet he could have made some money off his likeness while he played at North Carolina if the rules allowed it.

The NCAA is taking steps towards allowing its athletes to do so, but there’s still a long way to go in the process. The organization’s Board of Governors unanimously voted to start the process. That vote moves things to the NCAA’s three divisions “to consider updates to relevant bylaws and policies,” as it was worded in the NCAA's press release.

“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Michael V. Drake, the chair of the board and president of Ohio State. “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”

The board asked each division (Division I, Division II, Division III) to make any new rules immediately and no later than January 2021.

It’s important to note that none of the changes are final, or even imminent. It’s still relevant that the NCAA is going through the process at all, after being so strongly in favor of amateurism across the board for its student-athletes.

The potential changes would not allow for compensation based on performance or participation in a sport. Of course, the natural grey area is that higher performing athletes will be more marketable so they would be compensated on performance indirectly.

This comes after California passed legislation to allow college athletes to receive endorsement/sponsorship money and other states are pursuing similar.

This is still far from being official or finalized, but it will continue to be a major story in college sports over the next couple years.

Dave Leitao suspended 3 games, DePaul put on 3-year probation

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USA TODAY

Dave Leitao suspended 3 games, DePaul put on 3-year probation

The DePaul men's basketball team has been placed on three-year probation and head coach Dave Leitao has been suspended three games for the 2019-20 season, the NCAA announced on Tuesday.

The program was found guilty of "failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance while Leitao did not "prevent violations from occurring in his program."

A Division I Committee on Infractions panel concluded that a "former DePaul associate head coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he knowingly directed the former assistant director of basketball operations to provide impermissible recruiting benefits to a recruit."

The NCAA found that three coaches knew about the situation but failed to report the infractions. DePaul will vacate all wins earned while the ineligible player competed and suffer recruiting restrictions. They were also fined $5,000 plus 1% of the men's basketball program budget.

In 2019, DePaul had their first winning season since 2007 by going 19-17.