Squad develops strong game early

Ryan Nilsson

The women’s basketball team had only played four games this season before the Dead River Company Classic in Orono, Maine — two of them being exhibitions — but the program has already developed a couple of successful tendencies.

Similar to the team’s previous victories against the Wisconsin AAU Vikings, the Netherlands National Team and Drake, the Golden Eagles used a fast start and a tenacious defense to defeat the Evansville Purple Aces, 71-55, last Tuesday.

Against the AAU team and the Netherlands, Marquette had double-digit leads before the game’s first timeout and versus Division I competition the Golden Eagles have been ahead 8-2 at the first media timeout in both contests.

Against Evansville the quick start was keyed by freshman center Christina Quaye. In the first four minutes of the game she grabbed an offensive rebound, followed that with a tip-in basket and later scored on a layup.

At halftime Quaye had 11 points and six rebounds. She finished the game with eight rebounds and 15 points on 5-for-8 shooting from the floor and 5-for-5 shooting from the free-throw line.

“It’s just nice to try and do as much as I can for the team,” Quaye said. “I knew I had to get out there and play and contribute to the team and help everyone out. We had to focus on the whole team (Evansville) and it was a whole team effort. I’m working hard and just trying to get better, and help everyone else get better.”

Her performance was even more impressive considering it came against Evansville’s Jamie Gray. The senior from Kenosha was named to the Missouri Valley Conference’s All-Conference First Team last season after averaging 17.3 points per game.

“Especially for Q (Quaye), it was her focus to start the game well, and I could see her focus, and the more we talked about Gray, she got more motivated to show she could play,” head coach Terri Mitchell said.

If Quaye’s contributions on offense didn’t demonstrate her basketball talent, her defense against Gray did. Quaye helped limit the Evansville center to 10 points and four rebounds.

Gray wasn’t the only Purple Ace affected by the Golden Eagles’ defense. Marquette forced 29 turnovers and scored 30 points off of Evansville’s wasted possessions.

“In their zone they were able to double down, and we just weren’t able to take care of the ball,” Evansville head coach Tricia Cullop said.

For the Golden Eagles those numbers are impressive, but not unprecedented. The Dutch turned the ball over 21 times and Marquette turned that into 24 points. The team also forced Drake into 21 turnovers, and the AAU Vikings gave the ball away 18 times.

Another positive aspect of the victory over Evansville was the resurgence of senior Kelly Schwerman.

After missing all six of her field goal attempts, including four shots from behind the three-point arc against Drake, the senior guard scored a game-high 18 points.

She scored 12 of those points after halftime and finished the game 4-of-10 from behind the arc and 7-for-15 from the floor.

While Schwerman returned to form against the Purple Aces, the team as a whole struggled from the field.

The team shot 37.1 percent from the floor against Evansville. That comes on the heels of shooting 39.5 percent against Drake.

“I’m not telling our shooters to stop,” Mitchell said. “They spend too much time at practice in the gym to have them stop.

“We will get this figured out and shooters figure a way out,” Mitchell continued. “If they weren’t spending the time in the gym, then I might slow them down, but we’re just going to let them work out the game jitters.”