The Bulls withstand four early fouls from their twin sister duo to pull away from the Golden Eagles in the second half.
Andrea Smith picked up her second foul just 1:59 into the game, and her twin sister Andrell followed with her second foul at the 11:46 mark with South Florida up 8. The Smith twins are USF's top two scorers, so this should have opened up an opportunity for the Golden Eagles. But MU was only able to draw the lead down to four at one point before needing a Brooklyn Pumroy three pointer to cut the lead to six at the break. Inga Orekhova and Courtney Williams were the ones taking care of business for USF in the first half by scoring eight points each.
The first possession of the second half was not helpful for the Golden Eagles, as Katherine Plouffe picked up her third foul just 15 seconds in. A 5-0 run to open the half had USF up 11 before MU cut it back down to four led by five points from Arlesia Morse. Eight straight points for the Bulls - six of them by the Smith sisters - had the lead back to 12 two minutes later. It would drift as high as 17 and then all the way back down to just eight with just under a minute left, but by then, it was too late for MU to strike.
One of the things I do when I write these recaps for women's basketball is do the math to figure out the Four Factors for each team. It helps me get a picture of what happened in the game past what I saw on the court. For yesterday's game vs South Florida, I see things like USF with an effective field goal percentage of just over 40% and the Bulls turning the ball over on 27% of their possessions, but see a final score that goes against Marquette. The reason why is Marquette's eFG% yesterday was just 34% and they coughed up the ball on 34.1% of their possessions, and that spelled their doom against the Bulls. At this point, I start to understand what was going through the minds of the PR department at Northern Illinois when they tried to put a positive spin on a game where the Huskies shot 1-33 behind the arc but only lost by 17.
Abbie Willenborg Player Of The Game: Recoving from a knee strain, Arlesia Morse hit for 15 points and four rebounds while only turning the ball over just once. She also got back up from two nasty falls in the second half and didn't seem to let those bother her the rest of the way.
Clare Barnard Undersung Eagle Of The Game: Eight points, eight rebounds, three assists, a block and two steals, all while playing with a sprained ankle and largely getting no attention from the TV crew. I see you, Sarina Simmons.
Awkward Moment Of The Game: This one's easy. It's color commentator LaChina Robinson ordering play-by-play announcer Bob Picozzi to "look at that woman's body." Yeah, it was because Picozzi called her out on a comparison of one of the USF players to Swin Cash, but it was still weird.
Up Next: Marquette returns home to face off with Rutgers on Wednesday night. After having to listen to the TV crew yesterday talk about when Vivian Stringer would be going for win #900, I'm completely in favor of the Golden Eagles delaying that celebration a little bit.