Balanced attack yields better results for MU

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Photo by Steph Waterman / stephanie.waterman@marquette.edu

Senior guard Tatiyiana McMorris led all scorers with 19 points Saturday night in a 55-52 victory over St. John's.

In a chess match, the ability to effectively answer each of your opponent’s moves oftentimes leads to victory.

Throughout No. 23/24 Marquette’s 55-52 win over No. -/23 St. John’s Saturday night, it was apparent that the team that made the last bucket of the game would be the victor. Luckily, that shot came in the form of a three-pointer from senior guard Tatiyiana McMorris with three seconds left.

McMorris, like Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings, has put the team on her back for much of January and looks to continue into February with performances like Saturday night’s.

In a game with 14 lead changes and seven ties, Marquette needed all 30 of its second half points to squeeze by the Red Storm and maintain its national ranking.

The Golden Eagles were matched against a very similarly sized foe for once, and it showed as they outrebounded St. John’s 32-27 and outscored them 28-24 in the paint.

Senior Paige Fiedorowicz, sophomore Sarina Simmons and freshman Katherine Plouffe provided the post threat Marquette needed to weather the Red Storm as they each picked up six points and combined for 15 rebounds.

Every precious basket counted as both defenses limited shot opportunities and made each other miss. St. John’s made only 20 of the 50 field goals it attempted and the Golden Eagles did only slightly better hitting 21 of their 47.

“St. John’s is a very good team and when you play them you know they’re going to go on runs,” McMorris said. “We needed to rebound and play defense and we did that tonight.”

Aside from McMorris’s 19 points, no other Marquette player reached double digits in scoring, resulting in a well-rounded, ball-sharing approach that allowed different players to contribute and attack in their own way. This strategy displayed the Golden Eagle’s multitalented attack and showed that this year’s squad can’t be written off as one-dimensional as it has been in previous seasons.

Senior guard Angel Robinson is perhaps the greatest example of this turnaround. Throughout her career, she has felt the pressure to lead the team in scoring every game, but she has been able to lean more on her supporting cast this year and focused on other aspects of her game such as rebounding and passing.

“I didn’t shoot my best (Saturday), but there was nothing really there,” Robinson said. “When it’s not my night then I have to get the ball to my teammates who have been shooting well this season.”

Coach Terri Mitchell holds Robinson’s transformation in high regard and believes that it has been a major part of her team’s success.

“I think Angel’s having her most complete season of her career,” Mitchell said. “Now where she used to be pressured to score, she’s delivering the pass or setting the screen.”

When the inside shots got tougher the outside shots started to fall, and when the half-court game struggled, Marquette forced turnovers and scored off the fast break.

In the context of a low scoring affair, the Golden Eagles were actually able to run the kind of offense they favor. McMorris said earlier in the year that the team is at its best when it can get the post working, and against St. John’s, it was a definite factor.

The improved play of each position as a whole has keyed the success of this year’s women’s basketball team. It no longer has to live and die by the efforts of one star and as a result can compete with Big East teams.

In a game matched against a similarly talented opponent, the team showed its depth and that it may possess the intangibles to make a serious run in the NCAA Tournament.

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