Several hours after Louisville eked out a one point victory over Marquette, I'm still not quite sure how I should feel about the final play of the game. On one hand I'm with the Admiral that only losers complain about the refs. But from my seat in the McGuire Center I was sure that Katie Young was fouled as time expired (skip to 2:10 in the video below) and I'm disappointed that in a whistle happy half where both teams were already in the double bonus that no official was willing to call it as it was because it was the end of the contest.
I can't get incensed about losing to the 12th ranked team in the country especially since three quarters of the starting lineup from this season's opener was not dressed to play (Arlesia Morse and Apiew Ojulu joined Gabi Minix on the IR). When factoring in Marquette's continuing trouble with turnovers (last night was above average 25), it's a wonder that the game was close.
The Golden Eagles turned the ball over thrice in the opening 2 minutes of the game allowing Louisville to go up 8-0 quickly. The Cardinals built their early lead on the long ball connecting on 5 of their 6 three attempts, but then missed on every attempt of the half opening the door for the Golden Eagles. Katherine Plouffe drew fouls on three made layups, going 2 of 3 from the line, while Brooklyn Pumroy hit a three to pull Marquette within three. Minutes later Marquette got its first lead, going up 22-21, after a Pumroy steal and layup. Louisville momentarily took the lead back at 28-27, but Plouffe converted on another layup and one play to put the Golden Eagles ahead. Marquette went into halftime with a 35-32 advantage.
Louisville came out after the break stealing a page from Rick Pitino, trapping Marquette at every opportunity: the stratgey worked and the Golden Eagles turned over the ball 4 times in the opening two minutes allowing the Cardinals to take a 38-37 lead and control of the game. The Louisville lead eventually grew to ten points, but in a half with 22 fouls called, Marquette's superior performance at the line proved a saving grace: they drained 7 of 8 in a 3 and half minute stretch to pull within 5. Two Young threes and a Pumroy layup (and several missed Cardinal shots) later, the Golden Eagles had a 63-62 lead with 14 seconds to play. Pumroy couldn't get a charge called as Monique Reid made a layup and the non-call on Young's shot as time expired sealed the win for Louisville.
Below is video of Terri Mitchell's post game interview with highlights from the match-up.
Abbie Willenborg Player Of The Game: Brooklyn Pumroy was one of three Marquette players to break double digits, scoring 16, but her single turnover gives her the edge over Plouffe and Young who while scoring 17 each also coughed up the ball 7 times.
Clare Barnard Undersung Eagle Of The Game: Red shirt freshman Lauren Tibbs scored the team's first basket then added seven rebounds, a single turnover, and a nifty steal for an assist to Cristina Bigica to end the first half. Plus, I love how she hustles down the bench when coming off the court.
Next up: Saturday January 26th in South Florida at 5 pm. Televised on Big East Network so check your local listings.