Women’s basketball finds necessary answers

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The women's basketball team was coming off two straight home losses: A crushing defeat to Connecticut and a one-point, heart-breaking loss to Villanova.

The offense was struggling and was held below 50 points in both games.

The Golden Eagles needed a spark. They needed an answer. Someone needed to step up for a team that desperately needed a win.

West Virginia came into town Sunday afternoon and senior guard Erin Monfre chose a rather fitting day to torch the Mountaineers for a career-high 21 points.

Sporting pink uniforms in honor of Marquette's fourth annual "Pink Out" Sunday afternoon, Marquette beat West Virginia 79-59 in fashionable style. The event was put on to raise awareness for breast cancer, the disease that took life of Monfre's mother just over a year ago.

The blue and gold took a day off to help a cause — a cause coach Terri Mitchell described as "bigger than a basketball game."

"It was just a special day for so many reasons," Mitchell said. "It's about using the avenue of a Big East basketball game to do something bigger than ourselves, to fight this ugly disease of breast cancer."

To say Monfre played inspired basketball on Sunday would be an understatement. Aside from her career-high in points, she broke the record for 3-pointers made at the Al McGuire Center with seven.

"To be honest I didn't even realize how many I had by the end of the game," Monfre said. "I was feeling it and we always talk about getting the hot shooter. Today it happened to be me."

As the shots kept falling, Monfre's smile got bigger, and not even Mitchell could hold in her emotions. She smiled and hugged Monfre when she came off the court at the end of the game in front of a standing ovation.

"I thought the team did a great job of lifting her spirits and doing everything they could to get her the basketball when it was her time," Mitchell said.

The Golden Eagles led by only one at halftime, but Monfre and fellow senior guard Krystal Ellis took over the second half, making 13 of their 16 shot attempts, including nine made 3-pointers. The two guards outscored the Mountaineers as a team 37-32 in the second half.

Ellis was left out of the starting lineup but certainly proved she belonged there as she recorded a game-high 25 points.

After West Virginia ended the first half on a 15-8 run and cut Marquette's lead to one, the Golden Eagles put the focus on getting back to basics.

In order to play consistent basketball, Ellis knows the team needs to work on a few aspects of the game.

"Probably just to keep our composure and stay focused," Ellis said. "We messed up with two seconds left in the first half, but we still wanted to fight."

For Marquette, it was a game of picking each other up in times of need. With the Golden Eagles down two, Monfre missed a 3-point attempt, but sophomore Paige Fiedorowicz collected the offensive rebound and laid it in to tie the game.

Unfortunately for Marquette, Fiedorowicz landed awkwardly on her ankle and left with a day-to-day injury. On Marquette's next possession, Monfre knocked down a 3-pointer, giving the Golden Eagles a three-point lead which they would not relinquish.

Along with Fiedorowicz, freshman forward Georgie Jones missed most of the game after injuring her ankle in the first half. Despite the injuries, Marquette experienced an emotional and memorable afternoon.

"It felt great," Monfre said. "The whole day, the whole atmosphere and all the people that came out."