Marquette Women’s Basketball: Plouffe, Golden Eagles unable to stay hot

Katherine Plouffe dribbles against Georgetown. Photo by Daniel Alfonzo/daniel.alfonzo@marquette.edu

It’s no secret that as sophomore forward Katherine Plouffe goes, so too does the Marquette women’s basketball team (12-7, 3-3 Big East).

When Plouffe plays well like she did last week, averaging 17 points and 11 rebounds in wins over Villanova and St. John’s, the Golden Eagles have a far better chance of winning.

When Plouffe is unable to get going offensively, as her six points on 2-for-7 shooting in Marquette’s 67-39 loss to No. 19/17 Georgetown on Tuesday night suggests, the Golden Eagles tend to struggle.

While Plouffe certainly isn’t the only player to blame for Tuesday’s loss, she admitted afterwards that she was frustrated by the team’s performance.

“I’m not so much frustrated by the points I scored, but more so by how myself and the team played as a whole,” Plouffe said. “We had prepared for (Georgetown) in practice, or so we thought. Our coaches told us about the pressure, we watched film, and we just didn’t execute what we needed to execute.”

While Plouffe did manage to haul in 10 rebounds to reach double digits in that category for the third consecutive game, her six points were her second-lowest point total of the season, after previously scoring two points in a 70-53 loss at Louisville on Jan. 3.

Georgetown coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said that the Hoyas’ strategy was to try to get the ball out of Plouffe’s hands as much as possible.

“Our game plan was to try to deny her as much as we can, and then when she did get the ball, to pressure her to get her to get rid of the ball,” Williams-Flournoy said. “I thought it worked pretty well. I thought Adria Crawford, No. 5, did a wonderful job on her, and then when we went zone, we emphasized getting in front of her.”

Marquette did itself no favors offensively by turning the ball over 29 times and were held to a season low in points (39), field goals made (12) and field goal percentage (27.3 percent).

In its previous game, a 63-55 win at St. John’s on Sunday, Marquette shot 51 percent from the field, and got 18 points and 11 rebounds from Plouffe and 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting from sophomore guard Katie Young.

On Tuesday, Plouffe and Young combined for just nine points on 3-of-15 shooting.

Many of the offensive deficiency and turnover issues can be attributed to Marquette’s young guards, but coach Terri Mitchell also attributed them to Georgetown’s aggressive style of play on defense.

“Give Georgetown a lot of credit. They played terrific defense and got us back on our heels,” Mitchell said. “Everyone was tentative with their shot. We were tentative with attacking, and that played right into Georgetown’s defense.”

The Hoyas used a 20-3 run over an seven-minute span in the middle of the first half to essentially put the game out of reach and led 35-17 at halftime.

The Golden Eagles entered Tuesday’s game ranked third in the Big East in field goal percentage (45.3 percent) and tended to shoot the ball well despite turning the ball over 20.3 times per game.

Mitchell said that this time, the turnovers caught up with them.

“It was a whole game of no offensive rhythm at all, and that’s Georgetown,” Mitchell said. “They don’t let you get into a rhythm and I think they were really excellent at what they did tonight.

“They (the Hoyas) played like the experienced players that they are, and we unfortunately played very young and it showed, and we didn’t respond like we should have.”

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