With three ties and four lead changes, the first half of Marquette's game against South Florida on Tuesday night was about what you'd expect between two teams on the bottom half of the Big East's standings. But a few more made three pointers and a few less turnovers for the Bulls gave them a 9 point advantage at the half.
That's when Chelsie Butler didn't come out of the locker room to start the second half. When she eventually emerged with about 18 minutes left in the game, she had a foot in a boot, matching the one that Apiew Ojulu was wearing that was preventing her from playing as well. By the time Butler got settled on the bench, USF had ballooned the lead to 16 on a Sasha Bernard fast break layup.
The Golden Eagles had to deal with a double digit deficit for most of the second half until Arlesia Morse drained three pointers on consecutive trips down the court to cut the margin to 7 with 5:22 remaining. But that was as close as Marquette could get it.
Morse's three point barrage gave her the scoring lead for Marquette (13-12, 4-8 Big East) with 20 points. Katherine Plouffe never had a feel for her shot in the game, shooting 3 of 13, but still narrowly missing a double-double with 8 points and 12 rebounds.
South Florida (14-13, 6-7 Big East) was led in scoring by one of the worst shooting performances I've ever seen in person. Inga Orekhova tallied 14 points on 5-18 shooting, including 2-12 behind the arc. Andrell Smith recorded a double-double for the Bulls with 11 points and 10 rebounds, but somehow managed to shoot even worse than Orekhova, ending up 5-19 from the field on the night.
Let's look at some highlights, and then hit the jump for some awards.
eFG%: MU - 33% USF - 37.1%
TO%: MU - 34.5% USF - 18.1%
OReb%: MU - 42.2% USF - 37.8%
FT Rate: MU - 32.1% USF - 31.8%
Points Per Possession: MU - 0.69 USF - 0.85
Abbie Willenborg Player Of The Game: Better than 50% shooting and a "screw this, let's get back in this game" attitude when shooting? Tack on 4 rebounds and 4 steals to the stats I mentioned before and this one goes to Arlesia Morse.
Clare Barnard Undersung Eagle Of The Game: Everyone on the team either played over 25 minutes or had minimal impact on the outcome, so I'm kind of at a loss as to what to say here. I'm going to give it to Apiew Ojulu, since she's gone mostly under the radar all season and because Marquette is definitely struggling without the freshman center on the floor.
Up Next: A trip to
Ice Station Zebra Syracuse (15-11, 4-8 Big East) for a game against the Orange on Saturday. The 1pm Central tipoff will be carried on the Big East Network, including Time Warner Sports 32 here in Milwaukee.