Women’s Basketball Picks up Play Over Winter Break

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While the majority of Marquette’s student body headed home for winter break for a relaxing holiday vacation, the women’s basketball team was in work mode. The team played seven games over break, three against Big East opponents.

With a bit of holiday magic, the Golden Eagles went 6-1 during the break and improved their record to 14-3.

Marquette shocked the nation on Jan. 11 by handing No. 7/6 West Virginia its first loss of the season with a decisive 69-54 home victory. When coach Terri Mitchell was struck in the head by a loose ball, assistant Cara Consuegra guided the team to an 11-0 run after trailing by two early in the second half. Mitchell eventually returned and assumed the reins as her Golden Eagles went on to pull off the upset.

“We really came together after Terri went out,” said senior guard Courtney Weibel. “It was really exciting for us to beat a top ten team.”

Weibel accomplished an exciting feat of her own on December 18 in a 75-46 win over UNC-Asheville when she hit an astonishing eight three-pointers to set a new Marquette record.

“Her teammates were very unselfish getting her the ball as they knew she was doing well,” Mitchell said. “She also displayed her unselfishness by taking shots that were better for the team at times rather than pulling up for threes.”

Next came a dominating 73-56 victory over Illinois before a season-high crowd of 3,812 at the Al McGuire Center. The Golden Eagles finished the first half up 30-29 and came out from the break firing, scoring 43 points in the second half to pull away from the Illini.

The team then headed south to Miami for Florida International University’s Sun and Fun Classic. Marquette won the tournament by defeating host FIU 73-67 and Louisiana Tech 83-75.

“Getting out of the snow for a while to play some games in Miami was awesome,” said freshman forward Katherine Plouffe.

With a return to frigid Milwaukee came a chilling 73-55 home loss to No. 13/12 Notre Dame. The loss ended a ten-game home win streak extending from last season, but sophomore forward Sarina Simmons saw the disappointment as a learning experience.

“The Notre Dame game showed us that we could be comfortable against tough opponents,” Simmons said. “We learned a lot about ourselves in a big loss against a tough team.”

The ability of the team to learn from its mistakes was on full display over the next two games which included a thrilling 75-73 double-overtime upset of No. 15/14 Georgetown three days before the victory over West Virginia.

To the shock of many, this year’s women’s squad has shown its ability to focus on its strengths (speed and effort) rather than its one glaring weakness (size). By knocking off top-20 and top-10 Big East opponents and handling its nonconference foes over the break, the Golden Eagles have so far proven themselves to be conference contenders.

With plenty of season left, Terri Mitchell’s squad still has a lot of ground to cover, but this team has shown that it is dedicated and sometimes that’s all it takes to be winners.