Best NCAA basketball tournament appearance streak | Best of Chicago 2015 | City Life 2015 Critics' Picks | Chicago Reader

Best NCAA basketball tournament appearance streak

DePaul women’s team, 13 consecutive seasons


Exactly zero teams from Illinois made the men’s NCAA basketball tournament earlier this year, but that doesn’t mean March Madness skipped the state: the Northwestern and DePaul women’s teams both went to the Big Dance. While it was NU’s first appearance in 18 years, the Blue Demons have made playing in the tourney a rite of spring. They haven’t missed an appearance since the 2001-’02 campaign, and haven’t finished the year with a losing record since 1998-’99. In short, they’re arguably the most consistently successful sports team in Chicago. It’s all based on a quick, hardworking style of play that the team calls “full-court fabulous.” “We’re trying to make a women’s basketball game look like a hockey game,” says Doug Bruno, who will be entering his 30th season as head coach. Their fans understand this—McGrath Arena on the Lincoln Park campus rocks during showdowns against Big East Conference rivals and powerhouses like UConn and Notre Dame. Through playing good ball, Bruno also aims to send a broader message: “We want to grow the game,” he says. “We are still in a constant ongoing daily struggle for females to be accepted as athletes.”

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