Sophomore guard Arlesia Morse scored 16 points to lead Marquette to a 73-62 win over Butler in its season opener. The Golden Eagles never trailed and led by as many as 18 points.
Sophomore guard Talyor Schippers led the Bulldogs with 20 points in a losing effort.
Senior forward Sarina Simmons’ night had got off to a quick start. Simmons scored the first bucket of the game, stole the ball back for Marquette on the ensuing possession and took it the other way for an easy layup. A little later in the half, Simmons left the game with an apparent finger jam, but she quickly returned.
Simmons went on to score nine more points the rest of the way.
Junior guard Gabi Minix facilitated the offense well with 10 assists and helped Marquette outrun Butler on the floor. Freshman guard Brooklyn Pumroy did a good job backing up Minix with four rebounds, two steals and two assists in 23 minutes of playing time.
The Golden Eagles finished the night with 17 fast break points and 16 points off 18 forced turnovers.
Marquette’s bench contributed in a big way as 24 of the team’s points came from nonstarters, while the Bulldogs got zero points from their reserves.
As a team, the Golden Eagles shot well from downtown, knocking down eight 3-pointers, most of them coming at critical times to build momentum and the lead.
A 3-pointer by junior forward Katie Young with 8:42 left in the first half opened up a 10-point lead, and the Golden Eagles headed to the locker room up 37-29.
Morse came out firing in the second half, picking up seven points in the first five minutes of the half, including a three that made it 48-36 with 14:58 left to play. Sophomore forward Chelsie Butler then knocked down a three on the next possession to stretch the lead to 15 points.
A Minix shot from distance gave the Golden Eagles their biggest lead of the night, 69-51, with just under four minutes left in the game.
Free-throws didn’t come easy for the Golden Eagles as they only knocked down 13-of-21 chances from the stripe.
With win No. 1 under its belt, Marquette will get a week off before traveling to Georgia Tech next Sunday.