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Anaya Peoples fills big role leading DePaul's rebound in the Big East

Amaya Peoples fills big role leading DePaul's rebound in the Big East
Anaya Peoples fills big role leading DePaul's rebound in the Big East 02:12

CHICAGO (CBS) – DePaul University's women's basketball team is coming off its first losing season under head coach Doug Bruno since 1999, and All-American Aneesah Morrow transferred to LSU.

Well, Anaya Peoples is doing a pretty good job filling that role. She's second in the Big East in scoring and rebounds. CBS 2's Jori Parys reported on how there's no lack of leadership or chemistry on this team.

"Trying to get Bruno back to where he is, trying to get DePaul back to where it was," said Peoples. "I'm excited to go out there and shock the world."

She is in her second season at DePaul after transferring from Notre Dame to play for Hall of Fame coach Doug Bruno.

"I think the world of this man, just for him giving me another shot to play the sport I love," she said. "[I was] losing the love for the game for a while, and he instantly just brought it back."

Peoples added, "Transferring's not easy but he encouraged me to just make the game simple and shoot the ball when I'm open and pass when I'm not."

Peoples is one of two returning players on this year's team and has fully embraced taking on a bigger leadership role.

"It means a lot to me," she said. "I haven't been in this position since high school really, my senior year of high school. I went three years at Notre Dame, and then last year, it was just an adjustment year for me just trying to fit in and figure out everything and coach Bruno and the staff really just encouraged me to be a leader."

Bruno said Peoples has "just been a joy to coach. She takes it all in, does what she has to do. Same with [forward] Jorie Allen. Her dad Jeff Allen played here at DePaul … so it's great to have local players who have a tie to DePaul."

Peoples is a native of Danville who said it means the world to be playing her fifth college season closer to home, but she added she's focused on one thing.

"Win games," she said. "That's what we're trying to do. Play DePaul ball, push it, win games and bring the community out to support us. We're trying to get to the tournament. We're trying to win it and go far."

Bruno added the team is trying to "make a move in the Big East and maybe prove we were better than where we were picked, and then fight our way back into the NCAA Tournament."

It's a goal that feels achievable for this team and its chemistry.

"This is probably the closest team I've ever played with in my five years of college basketball," Peoples said. "I mean, we truly love each other. We're sisters."

And Peoples is leading the team in scoring, averaging just over 21 points per game to start the season.

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