Strong post play keys win

Coming into this season no one knew what to expect from the Marquette women's basketball team in the low post.

Rachel Klug, the team's starting center and leading scorer last year, graduated and head coach Terri Mitchell adopted a "center by committee" approach to divide the minutes between junior Monica Frede, freshman Christina Quaye and sophomore Sarah Shouse.

The three have responded well to the rotation and their emergence is one of the main reasons Marquette has excelled this season. Their collective play stood out once again Friday in the Golden Eagles' 69-55 victory over Tulane at the Al McGuire Center.

Their most important contribution came on the defensive end of the court against Lakethia Hampton, Tulane's leading scorer and rebounder.

Hampton, a junior center who entered Friday's match-up with double-doubles in three of her previous four games, was limited to 4 points and four rebounds in 32 minutes of action.

Assistant coach "Jon Cain did our scouting (and said to) start inside versus her and if they get a few threes you don't panic," MItchell said. "You frustrate their big scorer inside and I think with six turnovers we did our job of frustrating her and that resulted in 4 points.

"We dealt with her every time she touched it; we stayed on top of her so she couldn't. That's just because we have a lot of respect for her."

Marquette's low post players turned in an equally dominating performance on the offensive end of the court.

In the first half the Golden Eagles outscored the Green Wave 20-9 in the paint, and for the game they held a 28-16 advantage thanks to productive ball movement.

"I think that what we recognized is that ball reversals into the paint were a good thing," Mitchell said. "Defensively they were denying, but they were spread out. And if you're able to reverse the ball against a denial team quickly and flash the ball to Christina Quaye, then good things are going to happen."

Quaye finished the game with 10 points and two rebounds, but she wasn't the only player who had success against the Green Wave down low. Fellow freshman Danielle Kamm had 10 points and 12 rebounds to record her first double-double of the season.

"I get advantages because if I have a shorter guard I mean obviously I'll look to post up more," said Kamm, a 6-2 guard. "With me and the taller guards, if you have a mismatch you look to post up, not just one game — it's every game."

Another constant for the Golden Eagles this season has been the aggressive play of Katie O'Grady off the bench. The senior guard led all scores with 17 points, many of which came by taking the ball inside.

"I took a real attacking mentality in this game because they were pressing us, so a good way to get back at that type of defense is go to the basket," she said.

Thanks to the play of O'Grady, Kamm and the centers the Golden Eagles are 14-4 on the season, marking the program's best start since 1999-2000 when Marquette was the Conference USA regular season champion and a participant in the NCAA tournament.