Every shot that left Katherine Plouffe's hand in the second half found the bottom of the net. Those shots resulted in 16 of her game high 20 points to help Marquette (7-5) pull away from a 24-24 tie at the half and defeat South Dakota State (7-5), 59-51.
It was a terribly ugly first half as both teams combined to shoot 38.8% and turn the ball over 24 times. The Marquette end of it was perfectly summed up in their last possession of the half as Sarina Simmons dribbled across the top of the key and threw a pass to where Arlesia Morse had long since left. As the ball went sailing out of bounds, coach Terri Mitchell turned and gave the MU bench the same reaction that Barbara Walters gave Herman Cain when he said he thought he'd make a good Secretary of Defense:
This bothered Coach Mitchell so much, it actually led to an on court discussion between her and Simmons before either of them headed to the locker room before the half.
A 10-3 run to open the second half game MU a 7 point lead and from there they were able to build the lead to as high as 12 on a pair of Apiew Ojulu free throws with just less than 7 minutes left. That gave MU the cushion it needed to close out the game, as the Jackrabbits would hit a buzzer beater three to make the final look closer than it was.
- Ever seen a jump ball called out of the tip off to start the game, resulting in a second tipoff 5 seconds into a college basketball game? I know I hadn't before last night.
- SDSU's leading scorer, Jennie Sunnarborg was held scoreless until the 6:14 mark of the 2nd half when she hit two free throws. A layup 1:48 later would be her last score of the night as she fouled out with 1:52 remaining after only playing 20 minutes.
- Apiew Ojulu is turning into a hustle machine. I find myself thinking she made a good play at least 3 times a game that doesn't involve scoring.
- My seats for the game provided me with a chance to hear Marquette's huddle right before they come out of the tunnel. It appears that they have "borrowed" Utah State's student section's very famous chant.
- Gabi Minix had a steal at the 15:26 mark of the 2nd half where she just walked up to Rachel Walters, wrapped her arms around the ball and said "MINE" and ripped it away from Walters. I'm still amazed this wasn't called a jump ball or a foul.
- I made a WILD PREDICTION that who ever went further under their average turnover number would win. Marquette went under with 20, SDSU went over with 23. I WIN!
Let's go to the highlights!
After the jump: Four Factors, Awards, and Whimsy!
eFG%: MU - 50% SDSU - 43.9%
Turnover%: MU - 28.8% SDSU - 33%
OReb%: MU - 14.8% SDSU - 26.5%
FT Rate: MU - 57.1% SDSU - 28.6%
Points Per Possession: MU - 0.85 SDSU - 0.73
Abbie Willenborg Player Of The Game: While Sarina Simmons' 10 points kept Marquette alive in the first half, Katherine Plouffe blew up in the 2nd half, finishing with 20 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals.
Clare Barnard Undersung Eagle Of The Game: She was perfect from the field and perfect from the line and I've already mentioned how impressed I am with her play otherwise, so we give this one to Apiew Ojulu.
Whimsy: No, seriously, that's how Barbara Walters reacted.
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Up Next: Marquette plays their annual Milwaukee Public Schools game Wednesday at noon against Vermont.