Isabelle Spingola showed the ice in her veins to sink a pair of freebies with just seconds left and Marquette caught a break on the other end with a pair of misses by Alexis Gaulden, giving the Golden Eagles a 61-60 victory over Tulsa on Saturday afternoon. The win moves Marquette to 6-2 on the season and makes them the 2-0 champion of The Walnut Creek Convention & Visitors Bureau Thanksgiving Classic hosted by Saint Mary’s this weekend.
As the score and the final moments indicate, Marquette had to fight to win this one. Tulsa went up seven with 3:34 left in the first quarter on a layup by Desiree Lewis, and Kendrian Elliott made sure the Hurricane were up six at the end of the period. While obviously a sub-par start for Megan Duffy’s squad, they made up for it in the second. After Rebecca Lescay put Tulsa up 24-16 on a pair of free throws, Marquette ripped off the next 13 in a row, burning seven minutes off the clock in the process. That had MU up 29-24, and a layup at the halftime horn by Lauren Van Kleunen had the Golden Eagles up four at the break.
That’s a hell of an effort, and perhaps more importantly to the season as a whole, seven of those 13 in a row came from freshman Camryn Taylor. In fact, all seven of those came in a row. It’s never a bad thing when a freshman suddenly has a “ohhhhh, that’s how this works” light go on in the middle of a November game.
A four point lead isn’t safe, of course, and a triple from Elliott put Tulsa back out in front with 7:18 left in the third quarter. The Golden Hurricane would extend their lead to three, but Jordan King buried a three to wipe that away, and Van Kleunen added three more points late on a layup and then a free throw after Gaulden committed a terrible backcourt foul shortly after a rebound.
Marquette’s inside play carried them early in the fourth quarter as two buckets from Taylor and another from Altia Anderson had MU up six with less than seven minutes left. Tulsa kept making plays on the other end, though, and that lead slowly dwindled away. It was Lescay getting free for a layup in transition that put the result officially at risk, giving Tulsa a 58-57 lead with 1:44 to go.
On the other end, after some issue with inbounding, some high/low post action by Anderson and Van Kleunen led to a baby hook in the lane by LVK to put the Golden Eagles up one. Elliott answered down deep to put her team back up with with 41 seconds to go, and MU was forced to call timeout after some fumbling up top, and then another one after King had it poked away with one second left on the shot clock. MU went to Van Kleunen for the quick fire in the lane, but she missed.... but Spingola was there for the offensive board and to draw the foul that led to her late free throws. Here’s how icy those freebies were: They were Spingola’s first two free throw attempts of the season.
Tulsa called time to advance the ball with just seconds remaining, and with nothing else going on, Gaulden drove to the right and drew.... well..... let’s say an iffy call on Van Kleunen. She missed the first off the back iron, and the second one clanked off the back right side of the rim. The ball went out of bounds off Tulsa, and MU threw a jump ball inbounds and even though the Golden Hurricane ended up with the ball, the horn had sounded by the time they could even think about throwing it up.
It’s kind of fitting that it was Gaulden missing late that gave Marquette the win. She was the shooter that we identified as not particularly great in our preview, and she went 2-for-12 in this game, including an oh-fer mark behind the arc.
MU was led by 15 points off the bench from Taylor, who added seven rebounds to her afternoon. Van Kleunen had 11 points and five rebounds, while Lott added 10 points, three rebounds, and five assists.
Up Next: These two were the first of a four game road trek for the Golden Eagles, although the trip won’t be very long for the next one. Marquette will take more than a full week off before going across town to face Milwaukee on December 8th for their next game. The Panthers are 2-5 this season, although one of the wins was an overtime success at home against UW-Parkside. They’ll play Northern Illinois at home on Thursday before MU comes to the Klotsche Center.