Lauren Tibbs, y'all. - Molly Mullane/MarquetteImages.com
Turns out a close first half doesn't get you anything other than a close halftime score, as Marquette played almost even with Syracuse through 20 minutes back on Saturday night, but lost the thread of the game in the second half.
Unfortunately, the Orange went on a 8-0 run to open the second half to push the lead out to 12. Combine that sudden advantage with Plouffe and Chelsie Butler picking up their fourth fouls and Syracuse was up 14 with 8:22 to play. But MU wasn't going to go away. Brooklyn Pumroy hit triples on either side of a Shakeya Leary layup, and the lead was just 10.
Free throws from Lauren Tibbs, Pumroy, and Simmons kept Marquette close until they could get a jumper from Simmons and a layup from Tibbs to drag the deficit to only four with 2:28 remaining. Plouffe's fifth foul was probably the nail in the coffin, as MU couldn't hit threes to make one last push and Syracuse hit five of six free throws to ice the game and hand Marquette a loss in their first Big East game of the season.
How about some highlights and comments from Coach Terri Mitchell?
Abbie Willenborg Player Of The Game: I said it last time: We like the phrase "career high" around here. So Sarina Simmons and her career high 24 points gets the nod. She also had 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season and added four assists, four steals, and two blocks.
Clare Barnhard Undersung Eagle Of The Game: She ended up playing half the game because of the foul trouble for Butler and Plouffe, but I want to highlight her play, so this goes to Lauren Tibbs. It looks like things are really coming together for the redshirt freshman center after missing almost the entirety of last season due to injury. She looks like she's gaining confidence with every minute played and is turning into a force down low. Tibbs ended up with seven points and six rebounds, not to mention one each in the block, assist, and steal columns.
Up Next: Marquette takes their second crack at a win in Big East play this Saturday at home against Connecticut. If nothing else, watching Geno Auriemma overreact to everything will be fun.