Deno, McBee Net Double-Doubles to Lead No. 12 Purdue Calumet to Win at St. Francis

PUC-PeregrinsCassidy Deno and Patrice McBee each netted double-doubles to lead a second-half surge in the No. 12 Purdue University Calumet women’s basketball team’s 80-65 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference victory at the University of St. Francis (Ill.) Wednesday.

Deno (Otterbein, Ind./Benton Central) scored 14 of her game-high 22 points in the second half, as the sophomore caught fire from outside, draining 6 of 8 3-point attempts and finishing 8-for-12 from the field. She added 10 rebounds, three assists and a steal in one of her best outings of the season, which saw her finish just one shy of a career-high for makes from behind the arc.

McBee (Monterey, Ind./Culver Community) continued her consistency from the floor, making 10 of 16 shots for 20 points and pulled down a game-best 11 boards to go along with an assist and a block. She’s currently leading the nation in field goal percentage (70.2 percent entering Wednesday’s game).

The Peregrines (8-2, 3-0) remained unbeaten in league play, despite trailing at the half, 29-23. Purdue Calumet shot just 27.8 percent (10 of 36) in the first half before rallying in the final 20 minutes to shoot 73.5 percent from the floor (25 of 34) and finish an even 50 percent for the game.

Deno and senior teammate Stephanie Balon (Wanatah, Ind./South Central) kickstarted the second half run, draining back-to-back treys to tie the game at 29-all and force the Fighting Saints (2-9, 1-2) to call a quick timeout. It didn’t matter, as Deno would hit yet another three to give the Peregrines their first lead (32-29) since the 11:09 mark in the first half.

After Kaitlyn Ray’s triple tied the game at 32-all, Purdue Calumet would use a 19-5 – scoring most on turnovers and fast break layups – run over the next five minutes to take a commanding 14-point lead with 12:14 to play. Deno recorded two more trifectas and a jumper and McBee had two layups during that run.

St. Francis would get as close as nine points (61-52) on a Ray jumper with 7:35 to go, but Jada Buggs (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Memorial) pushed the lead back to 11 on a jumper in the paint as the Peregrines didn’t look back in the final minutes.

Buggs finished with 17 points and dished out seven assists and sophomore Darien Thompson (Anderson, Ind./Anderson) added eight points, five boards, two assists and two steals at the point position. Senior Kami Graber (Nashville, Ind./Brown County) dished out a career-high 10 assists and added six points.

Christina Ekhomu led the Saints with 19 points and Kamari Jordan added 11 points in a losing effort, as St. Francis finished the game shooting 38.5 percent (25 of 65) and was outrebounded, 44-33.

Purdue Calumet returns to action Friday, when the Peregrines travel to South Bend, Ind., for a CCAC matchup at Indiana University South Bend. The Peregrines play the first game of a doubleheader with the men’s squad, beginning at 4:30 p.m. (CT).