Martin, DePaul complete rally for 68-67 win over Hampton

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ST. THOMAS - DePaul University senior guard Anna Martin fought back tears - a product of pain and joy - following Friday's 68-67 win over Hampton University at Paradise Jam at the UVI Sports and Fitness Center.

Martin hit a free throw with 3.9 seconds remaining to cap the Blue Demons' comeback from 13 points down in the second half. Martin, who plays with arthritis and has no cartilage left in her right knee, landed hard on the joint as she went up for a fast-break layup in the closing seconds.

Martin has struggled offensively in the team's first six games and she missed the first free throw. She calmly straightened her shot and nailed the second to give DePaul (5-1) its first lead since the midway point in the first half.

"Anna has been our leader and she's been, you know, the toughness that's made this team go and we wouldn't have won 23 last year without her toughness," DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. "And right now, she's fighting her way back from a tough injury, and for her to even be on the floor, it's just a statement about the toughness and just the resilience of this person."

Hampton (4-2) lost control of the ball after the free throw and failed to attempt a final shot. It was the second loss in as many days for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference program with two wins over Southeastern Conference opponents this season.

The Pirates led by as much as 13 on four occasions in the second half, but the Blue Demons went on a 22-10 run during the final nine minutes and tied the game at 67-67 on freshman guard Chanise Jenkins' layup with 1:12 left.

Hampton missed its next three field-goal attempts before Martin took a tough foul on a fast-break layup. She finished just 3-for-11 from the field and 1-for-5 from 3-point range.

"I did land kind of hard on my knee, but once I went to the line I was just focusing on making a free throw and winning the game," Martin said. "I haven't been shooting great from the free-throw line this year, so I was trying not to think about that."

That was Martin's only trip to the line against Hampton and she entered the game 13-for-21 on the season.

DePaul junior Jasmine Penny led the team with 15 points, followed by sophomore guard Brittany Hrynko's 14. Freshman forward Megan Podkowa scored a career-high 12 points for the well-balanced Demons.

Hampton University senior forward Keiara Avant scored a game-high 21 points and added 12 rebounds. Hampton freshman Brielle Ward scored 12 points and had a game-high 14 rebounds.

DePaul's 68 points are the most Hampton's given up this season in a single game. The Pirates entered the game giving up an average of just 45 points.

Hampton's quickness was too much for DePaul's on-ball defenders in the first half. Hampton 5-foot-4 sophomore guard Kenia Cole scored six straight points on layups following drives from the top of the key.

The Pirates dominated the boards in the first half, out-rebounding DePaul, 25-16, and scoring 13 points on second-chance opportunities. Avant led all players with 13 points and nine rebounds before the break and Hampton led 34-31.

DePaul kept the game close with strong outside shooting. Sophomore guard Brittany Hrynko hit three of the Blue Demons six 3-pointers in the first half.

The second half was a different story on the boards as DePaul finished with a 42-39 rebounding advantage and had all 17 of its second-chance points after the break.

"I think we just collectively needed to start focusing on the little things," Martin said. "They got way too many rebounds in the first half and then when they started pulling away I think it was more of just chipping away one stop at a time."

DePaul plays South Carolina at 4:30 p.m. today and Hampton will try for its first win of the tournament against Florida Gulf Coast at 2:15 p.m.

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