Women’s basketball team upset No. 10 Notre Dame

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When a coach says "we need this game," it usually motivates the players to give everything they have in order to snag the must-win game and preserve their season.

Marquette needed a win Tuesday night and would have to go through the No. 10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish in order to achieve it.

Coming into the game, the two teams were going in completely opposite directions. The Golden Eagles (11-6, 2-1 Big East) had lost four of their last seven games and star guard Krystal Ellis had been playing limited minutes due to knee soreness.

Notre Dame (14-2, 3-1) was riding a seven-game win streak coming into Milwaukee and had crushed its last two Big East opponents by 24 and 21 points, respectively.

Milwaukee played the role of upset city as Marquette shocked Notre Dame 75-65 in a classic Big East thriller.

Sophomore guard Angel Robinson tallied 19 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Three other Golden Eagles scored in double figures to knock off the Fighting Irish.

"Probably the understatement of the year is that we needed that win," coach Terri Mitchell said. "We have been so frustrated for various reasons in this season … we are just playing so hard in practice and then we're not seeing the results."

After being left out of the starting rotation for two consecutive games, Ellis regained her role as a starter and looked uninhibited. She poured in 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting and knocked down two late 3-pointers to pull away from the Irish.

"It felt good to beat a nationally-ranked team," Ellis said. "(My knee) feels good, I got the rest in, and I think it helped a lot in the game.

"That's the biggest thing is getting the rest and being prepared to play."

Early on, the Golden Eagles took advantage of a few turnovers and raced out to a 17-8 lead.

Marquette built its biggest lead of the first half at 23-14 with just over seven minutes to play. But, as was the case all night, the Irish fought back, rattling off 12 straight points to regain the lead and force Mitchell to call a timeout.

Notre Dame went into halftime with a 34-30 advantage and seemed poised to blow the game open in the second half.

Neither team, however, was able to distance themselves. The Fighting Irish picked up some momentum in the second half and led 45-38, but Marquette quickly fired off six points in a row and forced Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw to cease play with a timeout of her own.

It wasn't just Robinson and Ellis for Marquette, though. Senior reserves Erin Monfre and Marissa Thrower both made plays that were essential for the victory.

With Notre Dame leading 50-49, Monfre planted herself underneath Marquette's basket and drew an offensive foul, which sent the Marquette faithful into a frenzy. On the next possession, Monfre grabbed an offensive rebound and laid it in to put the Golden Eagles up one.

As Marquette was putting the finishing touches on its upset, Thrower recorded a block and a steal on consecutive possessions in the final 35 seconds to seal the victory for the Golden Eagles.

Notre Dame sophomore forward Becca Bruszewski, who recorded 12 points and five rebounds, applauded Marquette after the game for the way it approached the match-up.

"Marquette's a good team and came out ready to go," Bruszewski said. "They were absolutely pumped for this game. They said that winning that game would make their season and I think we just took that for granted."