One of the things I noticed when assembling the preview post for Marquette women's hoops against Northern Kentucky was that NKU wasn't a very good three point shooting team. They had just two players hitting more than 30% of their attempts from long range, and you have to be hitting at least 35% for it to be making sense from an efficiency standpoint.
So when NKU opened up tonight's game by hitting three straight three pointers to take a 9-2 lead after 2 minutes, let's just say it was surprising. Three different players contributed to those three buckets, and from that point, Marquette was in for a fight.
Now, the Norse went 7-28 from behind the arc for a meager percentage of 25%. But their seven point lead after 120 seconds was all they needed as they led from wire to wire for a 77-68 win over Marquette at the Al McGuire Center.
25 points from Christine Roush and 10 points from Melody Doss in the first half helped Northern Kentucky take a 14 point lead at intermission, and things were not looking good for Marquette. But coming out of the break, Marquette forced three of 14 second half NKU turnovers, and all of a sudden it was an eight point game. Slowly but surely, the Golden Eagles dug their way back into the game, and with 8:44 left, a Lauren Tibbs layup made it 56-55. That's as close as Marquette got, though.
NKU held it together and with three minutes left, another Doss three pointer pushed the lead back above 10 points. Marquette had a chance to pull off a comeback late as they cut the lead to just 6 points with 26 seconds left, but the Golden Eagles couldn't score again.
Abbie Willenborg Player Of The Game: Kenisha Bell was clearly the best player wearing white on this night. She finished with 25 points on 10-16 shooting, and added two rebounds and three assists. Heck, I can even forgive her five turnovers since she came away with eight steals.
Clare Barnard Undersung Eagle of the Game: Oh, this is easy. In her first collegiate start, Shantelle Valentine played 30 minutes, scored a career high 11 points, grabbed a career high nine rebounds, and chipped in an assist, a block, and a steal. Valentine made a living at the elbows, hitting jumpers from those spots with ease and giving the more astute observer flashbacks to seeing Katherine Plouffe hit from those same spots over the last four years.
Up Next: Marquette hosts their annual Milwaukee Public Schools Day on Thursday, when they take on Vanderbilt at noon. The Commodores are 7-2 so far this season, and are likely still smarting over Marquette stealing a win in Nashville last year. That win earned MU a few votes in the AP Poll at the time and Vanderbilt would go on to qualify for the 2014 NCAA tournament.