Katie Young had 21 points and a career high 15 rebounds, but it wasn't enough for Marquette on Saturday afternoon, as they fell to Butler, 74-70.
Sometimes basketball is a simple sport to understand and explain. In the first half, Marquette had an effective field goal percentage of 55.4%, making five three pointers to boost their numbers. Meanwhile, Butler had an eFG% of just 40.0%, relying on shooting three pointers, but missing nine of their 13 tries. All of this led to Marquette taking a seven point lead at the break.
Unfortunately, the teams switched ends in the second half, and the shooting abilities stuck with the rims in question. Butler suddenly jumped on a rocket, posting an eFG% of 60%. The Bulldogs did that by burying four of their six three point attempts in the half, including a dagger of a step back three over Katherine Plouffe by Darress McClung with 2:13 remaining that put Butler up for good at 67-66. The bucket gave McClung a game high 22 points coming off the bench for the Bulldogs.
Why was the game close at that point? Well, to put it simply, Marquette had a second half eFG% of 36.8%. Yeah. The Golden Eagles attempted 14 three pointers in the second half, connecting on just three of them. What makes this really troubling was the final MU possession of the game. With seven seconds remaining, Marquette inbounded after Taylor Schippers netted a pair of free throws to make the score 73-70. Going the full length of the court, only seven seconds to play, needing a three to tie, it all seems to add up to race down, maybe make one pass, get a shot behind the arc, right? What ended up happening was Brooklyn Pumroy driving inside the arc into two Butler defenders and coughing the ball up. Lexus Murray officially gets credit for the game ending steal, and she popped in a free throw after a foul to create the final margin.
Marquette falls to 15-7 and 6-5 in Big East games, while Butler moves to 11-12 and 6-6.
Abbie Willenborg Player of the Game: You could make an argument that nine points and five rebounds is a pretty good contribution for any player to any game. That's what Katie Young did in the second half. She already had her ninth double-double of the season by intermission with 12 points and 10 rebounds in her 15 minutes. More importantly, she wasn't the problem for Marquette in the second half, shooting 3-6 overall, and 1-2 behind the arc.
Clare Barnard Undersung Eagle of the Game: Stick with me here for a moment. Yes, she missed all three shots she took. Yes, she only had one rebound in 19 minutes. But Cristina Bigica had zero turnovers. She averaged 4.8 turnovers in MU's last six games, and this is just the second time all season that she's avoided coughing it up for the whole game. Was she intentionally being cautious and that's why she didn't contribute much else? Hopefully not, as MU needs everyone contributing the rest of the season if they want to earn a postseason berth for the second consecutive season.
Up Next: It's back out on the road for the Golden Eagles, as they travel to Providence on Tuesday night. The Friars are 6-17 overall and 1-11 in league games, and are sitting on a seven game losing streak.