In a game where twin sisters became rivals, the Marquette women’s basketball team (6-1) capped off the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout in Las Vegas with a 72-65 victory over Utah to go 2-0 in the tournament.
Marquette opened the tournament facing off against its Golden Eagle counterparts of Tennessee Tech. Marquette opened the game strong and never took its foot off the pedal. By the first media timeout, Marquette led 15-4, and had a 20-9 lead with 11:31 left in the first. By the end of the half, Marquette nearly doubled Tech’s scoring, entering the intermission with a comfortable 48-25 lead. In the second, Tech tried to chip away at the score, but Marquette’s lead was never less than 16. Marquette handily defeated Tennessee Tech 84-64.
Marquette’s success came from rebounds and balanced scoring. Junior Arlesia Morse led Marquette with 24 points and went 5-for-8 from behind the three-point line. Senior Katherine Plouffe followed closely with 21 points of her own, and fellow senior Katie Young was a rebound away from recording a double-double as she notched 12 points and nine rebounds. Her nine were a part of an astounding 51 rebounds for the team, 18 of which were on the offensive end. Coach Terri Mitchell said rebounding was a big reason for the team’s success against Tech.
“I thought we played extremely well and it shows in our rebounding,” Mitchell told GoMarquette.com. “When we dominate the boards, I know everything else is going to fall into place.”
In the second game of the tournament, Plouffe faced off against her twin sister Michelle and the Utah Utes. Utah jumped out to an early lead. Marquette’s senior tandem of Plouffe and Young kept the team in the game, as the two accounted for 23 of the Golden Eagles’ 29 points in the first half. A 12-6 run to open up the second half gave the Golden Eagles the lead for good. Utah tried to tie the game through an 8-0 run with under four minutes to go, but Marquette staved off the attack and won 72-65. The tough opening half forced the team to approach the second half differently, but Mitchell said the team responded well.
“We found other ways to win,” Mitchell said. “Rebounding, defending and grinding the game out … we did that. It was a hard fought game.”
Katherine Plouffe led the Golden Eagles with 21 points, while Michelle Plouffe bucketed 18 for the Utes. Young put together a double-double, scoring 18 points paired with 11 rebounds. Morse again hit double-digits for the Golden Eagles with 11 points. The Golden Eagles were outrebounded for the first time all season.
Mitchell said the Plouffe battle was great to watch and both played a great game.
“Obviously, the Plouffe-on-Plouffe battle, I thought Katherine did well and Michelle for Utah did outstanding,” Mitchell said.
With her 42 points and 14 rebounds, Katherine Plouffe was named most outstanding player of the South Point Shootout. Mitchell was not surprised she got the award.
“It is a great honor for Katherine to be named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, and she continues to have a remarkable senior season,” Mitchell said. “Her performance, leadership and work ethic helped us earn two wins over the weekend.”
The Golden Eagles welcome the Wisconsin Badgers to the Al McGuire Center Saturday at 7 p.m.