Through the first half, if you were watching Marquette play Central Michigan at the Al McGuire Center last night, you would have easily understood why the Chippewas were picked to win their division in the Mid-American Conference. The opening frame featured nine ties and eight lead changes, but it was Katherine Plouffe tossing in a put back with five seconds left that sent Marquette to the intermission up by two points.
Unfortunately for Central Michigan, that was the last time they would manage to be tied with the Golden Eagles.
As they did against Vanderbilt in the previous game, Marquette came out of halftime focused and ready to go. They hit their first five shots to take a six point lead with 17:47 remaining. An 8-0 run with four points each from Plouffe and Katie Young gave the Golden Eagles an 11 point advantage with 14 and a half minutes to play and things seemed firmly in control. CMU would eventually manage to cut the lead down to just four points on three different occasions with less than six minutes to go, but Marquette answered every time: first a pair of free throws from Young, then a pair from Cristina Bigica, and then finally a three pointer from Bigica pushed the lead back to seven with 4:29 left.
From there, Marquette was able to use the free throw line to ice the game away. MU scored 13 of their final 17 points from the charity stripe and only missed two of their attempts from the line down the stretch.
Young finished with a career high 28 points as well as 13 rebounds for her third double-double of the season. Plouffe had 21 points and 13 rebounds for her fourth straight double-double to open the season, and did it in just 29 minutes, too.
Abbie Willenborg Player of the Game: We might not get a chance to give it to someone who's not Katherine Plouffe this year, so Katie Young gets the nod for her new career high scoring mark. Bonus points for her 15 for 17 effort from the free throw line.
Clare Barnard Undersung Eagle of the Game: 13 points, all in the second half, a perfect six for six from the free throw line, and most importantly for this award, no turnovers? Shout out to Cristina Bigica, kids. She also had two assists, one rebound, and a block, too.
Up Next: #2/#2 Duke (4-0) comes to the McGuire Center on Sunday afternoon at 3pm. If you can't make it down to put the fear of God into the Blue Devils, then be sure to turn on Fox Sports 1!