Powered by a 17 point afternoon from Arlesia Morse, Marquette women's basketball moved to 4-7 on the season with a 65-57 win over Western Illinois on Sunday afternoon.
For the first few moments, it seemed like Marquette had forgotten everything about their win over Vanderbilt. WIU jumped out to an 8-0 lead to start the game. Marquette fired right back with an 8-0 run of their own to take an 12-11 lead and we had ourselves a game.
A game, for sure, and a fast paced game at that, but definitely not an offensive exhibition. Neither team cracked 40% shooting in either half, but it was Marquette's ball control - yes, I know, stick with me here - that helped the Golden Eagles. In an 81 possession game like this one, it was borderline acceptable to have 16 turnovers like Marquette did. That was only a turnover rate of 20%, and when partnered with Marquette forcing WIU into 21 turnovers (25.3% TO rate), that meant MU was controlling the action.
Even with all of that working in Marquette's favor, they still found themselves trailing 48-43 with three-quarters of the game behind them. Cristina Bigica triggered a 13-0 run for MU with a pull up J and a three-pointer in transition as the Golden Eagles took a 56-48 lead. That wasn't enough to put the Leathernecks away, but a Kenisha Bell steal and layup with 40 seconds left finally gave MU enough space to breathe.
Abbie Willenborg Player Of The Game: As we covered, no one's going to confuse this game for a Harlem Globetrotters video package. So even though Arlesia Morse isn't going to be supremely proud of her 4-14 shooting, she carried the day for Marquette. She finished tied for the game high with 17 points, largely because she went 8-8 from the free throw line, six of which came in the second half. She also added four rebounds, as well as a block and a steal.
Clare Barnard Undersung Eagle of the Game: At points this season, it's seemed like Cristina Bigica has struggled either with her game overall or with adapting to what Carolyn Kieger needs from her. Here, though, she scored 13 of her 16 points in the second half, including seven in just a 73 second stretch. Bigica's second half also featured two of her three rebounds and one of her two assists. More importantly, she only committed one turnover in the whole game, something that was definitely important with Bell and Tia Elbert coughing it up a combined 10 times.
Up Next: Marquette's off until next week Tuesday when they open Big East play at home. They'll be hosting Xavier in their first league match up. The Musketeers are 8-3 this season so far, including a Big East loss at St. John's, although they're also currently losing to Kennesaw State early in the second half as I type this.