The middle act of National Marquette Day didn't appear to be going well for the good guys as the Golden Eagles and Musketeers headed to halftime at the McGuire Center on Saturday afternoon tied at 32. In a repeat of what happened when the two teams met in Cincinnati earlier in the season, Marquette allowed Xavier to jump out to an early lead. The Golden Eagles struggled with turnovers, coughing the ball up 13 times in the first half, and didn't make a single one of their 6 attempts from behind the arc. However, as is their style, Marquette came back to build a 6 point lead before Xavier knotted it back up with less than a minute in the half.
As frustrating as it was to see Marquette commit another two turnovers in the first 4 minutes of the second half (the Golden Eagles then did lock it down committing just one more turnover in the rest of the game), it was pretty hard to complain as the ladies scored seven unanswered points. The three point drought also ended with Ashley Santos, Cristina Bigica, and Brooklyn Pumroy all sinking deep shots to extend Marquette's lead to double digits.
Meanwhile, Ashley Wanninger, who had been keeping the Musketeers in the match with her long distance shooting, picked up her fourth foul with over 13 minutes to go in the match. Xavier, which dismissed its leading scorer from the team earlier in the week, was playing with a total of 7 players available so as the Musketeers kept getting whistled it looked like we might find out what happens in an NCAA match when a team no longer has five available due to fouls. At one point Xavier had three players carrying four fouls, but only Briana Glover ended up fouling out.
Although the Muskeeters managed to cut the lead to 10, their manpower situation left the Golden Eagles in the driver's seat. And although Marquette slightly took their foot off the gas pedal (they wouldn't drive into the paint when Xavier was hiding Glover and Wanninger inside a zone defense), there was no miracle in the cards for Xavier and the Golden Eagles easily closed it out for a 75-54 victory.
Abbie Willenborg Player of the Game: Leading scorer and no turnovers in a game where I sounded like Tina Belcher for the first 25 minutes: props go to Katie Young.
Clare Bernard Undersung Eagle of the Game: I'm ignoring the first half because looking at everyone else's turnover column makes me something something. Ashley Santos got Marquette's 7-0 run to open the second underway by scoring the team's first three of the day. Then Xavier woke up, scored, and seemed about to get a big stop, but as the shot clock expired, Santos sank another three to keep the momentum with Marquette.
Up next: DePaul on Tuesday night at 7 pm at the McGuire Center.