No one's going to try to convince you that there was an offensive exhibition going on at Hinkle Fieldhouse last night. But Marquette wiped out an eight point Butler lead over the final 10 minutes and held on to win, 61-59. Butler had a chance to tie as time expired when Ijeoma Uchendu got free on the block on a baseline out of bounds play, but with only 0.3 seconds on the clock, she couldn't get enough lift on the shot to get it to go.
Marquette made their comeback by going inside. MU attempted 10 three pointers in the first half, but only four in the second half. Lauren Tibbs was the star of the last 10 minutes, scoring nine of her 11 points in the game down the stretch, including what turned into the game winner with 1:54 remaining, and recording a block on Daress McClung with one second left on the clock. Apiew Ojulu also came up big for Marquette with six points, including a big three point play to swing a one point Bulldog lead into a two point Golden Eagle lead with just under three minutes to play. Even Chelsie Butler got into the action, draining two of Marquette's eight made free throws on 10 attempts in the last 10 minutes.
Tibbs, Ojulu, and Brooklyn Pumroy all had 11 points to lead Marquette in scoring. Butler's Taylor Schippers had 16 to lead all scorers.
Marquette moves to 1-0 in Big East action and 10-2 overall, while Butler falls to 0-1 and 5-7 overall.
Abbie Willenborg Player of the Game: Uh, duh, it's Lauren Tibbs. The redshirt sophomore has been on a tear with Katherine Plouffe attending to a family matter in Edmonton, averaging 11 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 64% from the floor. She had 11 points and seven rebounds against Butler while shooting 5-7 from the field. She chipped in two blocks as well, including the one to preserve the victory in the closing seconds.
Clare Barnard Undersung Eagle of the Game: This one is going to sound slightly goofy, but I'm going to give this to Courtney Thomas. With Plouffe not returning to the team after the Christmas break ended, it seems as if she's going to miss a lot of time, so Marquette's going to need as much of a team effort as possible to paper over Plouffe's absence. Thomas has missed a lot of time in her Marquette career due to injury, including each of the last three contests. Her line on the box score is only a six trillion, but her availability to head coach Terri Mitchell is more than helpful at this point of the season.
Up Next: Marquette opens up the home end of the Big East schedule when they host Villanova (9-2, 0-1) on Tuesday at noon for a New Year's Eve matinee. The Wildcats dropped their Big East opener at Creighton on Saturday afternoon.