Women's Basketball: Marquette 71, Milwaukee 52

Cristina Bigica was an all around star for MU against the Panthers on Sunday afternoon. - Maggie Bean/MarquetteImages.com

The Golden Eagles built an early lead and survived a late first half run by the Panthers to move to 7-2 on the season.

What if I told you that Marquette's senior scoring duo, Katherine Plouffe and Katie Young, were held to a combined 3 for 13 from the field against UW-Milwaukee?

What if I told you that sophomore point guard Brooklyn Pumroy was limited to just 21 minutes played because of two fouls in the first six and a half minutes?

What if I told you that Chelsie Butler and Courtney Thomas, two reserves averaging a combined 21 minutes a game, were sidelined, with Butler joining freshman JeTaun Rouse on crutches?

It's not really a recipe for success, is it?

But Apiew Ojulu scored a a team high 18, including a perfect six for six from the free throw line, while Cristina Bigica and Ashley Santos both poured in a career high with 15 and 12 points respectively, and Marquette coasted to an easy 19 point win over UW-Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon.

Well, maybe coasted isn't the right term. The Golden Eagles did jump out to an early 12-4 lead, spurred by two three pointers from Pumroy on her first two attempts of the game. Two three point makes and a jumper from Santos in her first three shots of the game pushed the lead to 12, and Ojulu converted an old fashioned three point play to make it 13 with just nine minutes gone.

The next three shots of the game were all made by the Panthers, and all came from behind the arc. Angela Rodriguez made the first two, which was followed by a splash from Ashley Green. All of a sudden, Marquette's lead was just four points, and it appeared that UWM was rolling. A four minute long 6-1 run by the Golden Eagles rebuilt the lead to nine, and layups from Ojulu, Bigica, and Young in the last 70 seconds of the half made it 13 again.

A three pointer from Sydney Snower pulled UWM within 12 early in the second half, but that's the closest that the Panthers would ever come again. Marquette put the game away with efficient offense, recording seven assists on 11 made baskets and converting 10 of 14 free throws to take advantage of the free opportunities given to them by UWM.

Abbie Willenborg Player of the Game: With her European background, I've long thought that Cristina Bigica might be the most technically proficient of Terri Mitchell's players. But it's always seemed that her dedication to being a part of what the team needed from her at that moment kept her from showing what she was capable of on the court. Against UWM, we may have seen some of that. She scored a career high 15 points, but also grabbed six rebounds, handed out seven assists, and snared two steals along the way. Bigica may have had a couple more assists if her teammates had seen the passes coming. On at least two occasions in the first half, drives into the lane by Bigica led to no-look passes that were on target, but the teammate in question was caught slightly off balance by them. Now that they know it's possible, could future passes from Bigica turn into something profitable for MU?

Clare Barnard Undersung Eagle of the Game: I'm not going to get a lot of chances to reward Katherine Plouffe as being undersung, but she was largely invisible in this game if you watched it. But if you look at the box score, you see this: 15 rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and two steals. She also only attempted six shots. Plouffe is Marquette's best player, and as the Big East season progresses, Marquette will need her to prove that over and over. But KP didn't need to score in this game, so she went about doing everything else that the Golden Eagles needed from her on this particular afternoon.

Up Next: Marquette returns to the court on Wednesday afternoon, as they pull double duty as hosts. Oral Roberts will be the guest on the court, and the children of the Milwaukee Public School system will be the guests in the stands as MU hosts their annual MPS Day. The Golden Eagles from Oklahoma come in with a 0-6 record against Division 1 opponents this season.

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