Although the score showed a Marquette loss, the Golden Eagles proved Sunday that they have plenty of fight in them this season.
Marquette fell to Georgia Tech at McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta, 76-72, despite a last-ditch comeback by the Golden Eagles in which they made an 11-2 run over the final two minutes.
Leading the way was junior guard Katie Young, who scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Arlesia Morse put up 15 points and dished out five assists. Senior forward Sarina Simmons netted 11 points.
“It was kind of disappointing because there were so many little things we could have changed that could have led to a different outcome,” Simmons said. “It’s still early in the season, and we’re all still learning from our mistakes.”
Georgia Tech, which improved to 2-1, was a No. 4 seed in last season’s NCAA Tournament and should have the firepower to return to the Big Dance this year. The Yellow Jackets were led by Dawnn Maye’s 23 points, 10 steals and six assists as the team held a 38-20 advantage in points scored off turnovers.
Turnovers were a huge problem for both teams. Marquette gave the ball away 37 times and Georgia Tech 22 times. The Yellow Jackets recorded an astounding 27 steals, while Marquette was held to just eight.
Brooklyn Pumroy had eight turnovers for the Golden Eagles, and Morse tallied six. All Marquette players had at least two turnovers on the day, an issue coach Terri Mitchell will address as the team moves forward.
“It is always tough to win on the road,” Mitchell told GoMarquette.com. “We must put a premium on taking care of the ball. We battled for 40 minutes and we will learn from our mistakes and grow as a team. We are looking forward to getting back to practice to correct our turnovers and capitalize on the things we did well.”
Simmons said the game could have easily gone in Marquette’s favor had the team handled the ball better.
Simmons said pushing the tempo and having difficulties in transition were major factors for the turnover troubles and that having two to three times the normal number of giveaways in a game is quite alarming.
“It’s very disappointing for us to collectively have 37 turnovers, and losing by only four points is mind-blowing,” Simmons said. “To compete in the top five in our conference, we know that’s unacceptable. We know the things we could have done, and if we don’t learn a lesson from it then it’ll be a loss on all ends.”
Free throws also kept the game close. Both sides had their struggles from the foul stripe; Marquette shot 17-for-27 (63 percent) and Georgia Tech just 14-for-25 (56 percent). The Golden Eagles crashed the glass, limiting the Yellow Jackets to 32 rebounds and grabbing 47 rebounds themselves, 18 of them offensive.
The Golden Eagles, who drop to 1-1 in the young season, shot a respectable 46.3 percent from the field, a promising sign for Mitchell, who is trying to revamp the offense this season after a disappointing output in 2011-12.
Next for the Golden Eagles is a trip to College Station, Tex., for the Texas A&M Classic. They will play Marshall this Friday and Texas A&M Sunday. Marshall heads into the Classic with a 2-1 record, while the Aggies are 0-3 and dropped out of the Top 25 in the most recent poll.
After Thanksgiving break, the team will make a stop at South Dakota State on Nov. 28 and host Fordham at the Al McGuire Center on Dec. 1.