The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Women to take on No. 1 Connecticut

Think 1980 United States Olympic hockey team.

The U.S. was heavy underdogs to an exceptional Soviet Union squad and its unthinkable victory will always be remembered as "The Miracle on Ice."

Or perhaps, look back a few years to an unranked Steve Novak-led Marquette men's basketball team that stunned then-No. 2 Connecticut.

On Jan. 3, 2006, Novak posted 41 points and 16 rebounds in Marquette's first ever Big East game, a shocking 94-79 victory over the Huskies.

Do you believe in miracles?

This time around, it will be the Marquette women's basketball team taking on a dominant Connecticut team, and not many, if anyone at all, are giving the Golden Eagles much of a chance.

"We prepare for every team the same," coach Terri Mitchell said. "We have to start well and if we don't start well it's going to be a long night."

In all reality, what does Marquette have to lose in this one?

It is 13-9 overall with a Big East record of 4-4. Even if it does the improbable and runs the table from here on out, it will finish at 21-9 overall and 12-4 in conference. A record like that would most likely put a team on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament.

But a win against arguably one of the most dominant teams in women's college basketball would spark fire into this Golden Eagle squad and give the selection committee something special to look at come March.

"What I want to see from our players is fight," Mitchell said. "What I want to see from them is that they will never back down, and they will look at this as a great opportunity to get better, and we want to get better Saturday night."

There's just one small, actually pretty large, problem with that. Connecticut is 22-0 overall, 8-0 in the Big East, and has beaten its opponents by an average of 33 points this year.

Sure, Mitchell's squad knocked off a top 10-ranked Notre Dame team at the Al McGuire Center back on Jan. 13, but Connecticut is a step above Notre Dame. Actually, the Huskies are a step above every team in the nation right now.

"UConn has made their statement against every single team across this nation," Mitchell said. "They're solid at every position."

Sophomore sensation Maya Moore is averaging 19.8 points per game and 9.1 rebounds per game. At 6-foot-0, Moore can play a variety of positions and will be a tough match-up for anyone Marquette throws at her.

Moore isn't the only star on this team, though.

Senior guard Renee Montgomery averages 16.3 ppg and 5.5 assists per game, and 6-foot-4 junior center Tina Charles averages 15.9 ppg and 8.5 rpg.

"They do have three All-Americans so it's going to be a little harder to compare, but were going to take it like any other game," Ellis said. "It's going to be a hard fought battle."

Ellis is now Marquette's all-time leading scorer and Angel Robinson has put up 30 points twice this season, but it's going to take a team effort to bring down the top ranked Huskies.

"Our main focus is that we keep playing together, and playing well, and playing fast," said Erin Monfre earlier this season on a Marquette Athletics podcast.

The Golden Eagles will have to follow those steps if they hope to celebrate one of the most improbable wins in sports this year.

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