There was a lot to get excited about as Marquette bested the Providence Friars 87-79 on Tuesday night at the McGuire Center. The Golden Eagles got their first win at home in 2014 with a monster performance from senior Katherine Plouffe and scoring from every team member that played over a minute.
Plouffe was on pace to score more than 50(!) early in the matchup by scoring 10 inside of 7 minutes. Eventually Providence managed to pull to within two later in the half after Plouffe cooled off, but eleven unanswered points scored by four different Golden Eagles firmly re-established Marquette's lead as halftime approached. Providence also squandered an advantage from the free throw line: the Friars were whistled for just 3 fouls in the first half and Marquette never went to the charity stripe. The Golden Eagles sent the Friars into the bonus, but they missed six of their eight attempts from the line.
Providence may have felt a sense of deja vu in the second half as Plouffe ripped off another 9 points quickly. Marquette seemed to be firmly en route to their first home conference win of the season with their lead up to 18 after Katie Young sank two free throws with 9 minutes left on the clock. However, the refs were much more liberal in using their whistles in the second half: Marquette racked up 17 fouls opening the door for Providence to crawl back in late. Tori Rule sank a three with 81 seconds left in the match to pull the Friars within 10. Brooklyn Pumroy's jump shot after the Golden Eagles burned off a third of the clock seemed to seal the Friar's fate, but Providence kept trying to foul their way to a victory until the last second regardless.
Plouffe lead all players with 23, but Arlesia Morse, Apiew Ojulu, and Brooklyn Pumroy also scored in double digits while Katie Young tallied her eighth double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Abbie Willenborg Player of the Game: 19 points in 16 minutes? Plus 5 assists and 7 rebounds. Plouffe. It's a no brainer.
Clare Barnard Undersung Eagle of the Game: Courtney Thomas was the last Golden Eagle to get on the board finishing with 3 points all off free throws. She forced a turnover late in the first on a 3 second violation while ably eating up minutes because Bigica, Ploufe, and Young were on the bench with 2 fouls each. But we love her most for her late hard foul on Sarah Beal and especially for the smirk that followed. Providence was fouling any Golden Eagle with possession and then running down the court to score in a desperation as the game ended: Thomas forced them to earn those points and best of all, Beal missed both shots.
Up next: Creighton in Omaha on January 25th at 3:05 pm.