Emotions might have been a bit high as Marquette took on Creighton at the Al McGuire Center Saturday afternoon. It was Senior Day for Katherine Plouffe, Courtney Thomas, and Katie Young. And the Golden Eagles had the opportunity to take another game from a team in front of them in the Big East standings after topping St. John's in their previous outing.
Creighton held a small lead for most of the first half and I told myself that it was okay since your Golden Eagles seem to play best when storming back from a deficit. That comeback was already in progress as halftime approached: Arlesia Morse drilled a three and then after a Jays miss, Ashley Santos sank two free throws to give Marquette a 33-32 edge at the break.
Marquette opened the second on a 11-3 run and held a lead of nine before Creighton staged its own comeback tying the score at 47 on a Sarah Nelson three. The score stayed tight for the remainder of the half until a Nelson three was followed by Plouffe getting stripped of the ball after rebounding a missed Morse three which Marissa Janning converted into a basket. Nelson, Janning, and McKenzie Fujan all broke 20 points and accounted for all but 2 of Creighton's second half points. The consecutive baskets by the Jays gave them a five point lead with exactly 2 minutes on the clock.
But Plouffe, having a great night having already scored 30 points, came down the court and hit another clutch three to tie a career high in points in a game. Katie Young pitched in a steal moments later with Brooklyn Pumroy getting the basket to tie the game back up at 67. Janning gave the Jays the lead back on a layup, but Morse sank a dagger three bringing the McGuire Center crowd to its feet. Props to Janning who made both her freebies when a foul by Plouffe sent her to the line, but the 23 seconds left on the clock were more than enough to Morse to answer with another long ball. Creighton rushed their own three attempt and missed with Plouffe coming up with the ball to close the door in Marquette's favor.
The victory is Marquette's 20th of the season, a mark that the Golden Eagles have not reached since 2010-2011 campaign. Highlights from Fox Sports 1 are below.
Abbie Willenborg Player of the Game: Look at that picture. There is so much to love in that picture: the faces of the fans in the background, Ashley Santos' face and arms, and Apiew Ojulu tracking the rebound just in case. But Arlesia Morse is a total rock star. She finished the night with 14 points with her two made threes coming in the last minute when Marquette most needed those stones. Morse is awarded one (1) Sam Cassell Cojones Dance.
Clare Barnard Undersung Eagle of the Game: Overlooked by the monster performances by Morse and Katherine Plouffe will be Brooklyn Pumroy who finished with 9 points and 5 rebounds alongside a career high 12 assists.
Up Next: At Villanova at 6 pm tomorrow night. Brewtown Andy already broke down the mess that is the women's Big East rankings, but the short version is that Marquette has a lot on the line in this match.