Squad rolls in win over Billikens

What a difference two days makes.

Friday night at the Al McGuire Center the Marquette University women's basketball team had a 20-point lead over Memphis with 16:19 to play in the game, but the Golden Eagles stumbled down the stretch and escaped with a 60-57 victory.

On Sunday, Marquette (18-6, 8-3) played its second home game of the weekend and once again the Golden Eagles found themselves ahead by 20 points in the second half. This time the team didn't let up and went on to defeat the Saint Louis Billikens, 73-50.

One of the primary differences between the two games was the team's attitude and preparation, and a lot of that had to do with sophomore guard Carolyn Kieger.

"I'll give a lot of credit to Carolyn," head coach Terri Mitchell said. "She talked to the team about confidence. After I give the pregame (speech) we always go back into the locker room and one of the players addresses the team.

"(Her speech) was about confidence and this time of year, and the goals that we have. You don't have to be hopeful about anything — you effect change by getting after it right from the beginning."

Kieger proceeded to show her teammates exactly what she was talking about.

In the first half she scored 16 points, tying the mark she set on Dec. 18, 2003, against St. Bonaventure for most points in the first half this season.

She finished the game tied for her career-high with 23 points. She also added three steals, six assists and only turned the ball over once.

"Our last Memphis game we had confidence the first half and then came out the second half a little tentative and flat," Kieger said. "This game I thought we did a better job of staying confident the whole game and not letting little things waver our confidence."

Marquette also received a solid contribution from Katie O'Grady off the bench. The senior scored 15 points, with many of them coming on drives to the basket or free throws after she was fouled while attempting to penetrate the lane (she finished 7-for-7 from the free-throw line).

"I think we've really emphasized through the whole week of practice that we really wanted to get to the free-throw line so we just tried to be really aggressive today and … it paid off," O'Grady said.