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

Interior struggles for MU against Rutgers

Senior forward Paige Fiedorowicz goes up for a shot against Rutgers. Fiedorowicz had 12 points and seven rebounds. Photo by Emily Waller / [email protected]
Sometimes in order to make the tougher shots, you have to make the easy ones. Marquette’s humbling 76-55 loss to Rutgers at the Al McGuire Center is a testament to that statement.

The Golden Eagles shot a horrendous 27.7 percent (18-of-65) for the game, and an even-worse 14.7 percent (5-of-34) in the first half.

They spotted the Scarlet Knights a 19-point halftime lead and dug themselves a hole they simply couldn’t climb out of.

Before the game even began, Rutgers’ pair of 6-foot-2 forwards, junior Chelsey Lee and sophomore Monique Oliver, stood out on paper. Oliver leads the team in scoring with an average of 15 points per conference game and Lee chips in 8.2 points per.

It was the defense of the duo, however, that gave Marquette its biggest problems.

Right out of the gate, the Golden Eagles tried to work the ball down low their forwards senior Paige Fiedorowicz and freshman Katherine Plouffe, but they were simply outmatched by the Scarlet Knights’ two-headed monster.

Fiedorowicz struggled to get quality shots and couldn’t finish under constant post pressure, shooting just 3-of-14 from the field.

Plouffe and sophomore forward Sarina Simmons only took five shots combined from the field all game and made just one.

With the team shooting so poorly and collecting only 14 defensive rebounds, it was hard to stave off the Rutgers offense.

Oliver and Lee combined for 24 points and 15 rebounds, as the Scarlet Knights routed Marquette in points in the the paint, 42-16.

Coach Vivian Stringer exploited Marquette’s double team scheme in the post by moving 6-foot junior guard April Sykes into the forward position.

“We switched people into the four spot,” Stringer said. “They would double whoever was in the post, and we had some more help from the perimeter, so we were able to move (Sykes) to the inside and attack that way.”

With their own post offense failing, the Golden Eagles started putting up shots from the outside, but still couldn’t find their rhythm.

“We were trying to go inside,” senior guard Courtney Weibel said,” but towards the end of the game we thought we needed to start hitting a lot of threes to get back in the game.”

Weibel connected on four three-pointers and senior guard Tatiyiana McMorris hit two, but the pair only shot 24 percent from beyond the arc combined.

Coach Terri Mitchell saw each of her players struggle to get into a shooting groove and blamed it on overthinking and second-guessing.

“Every person was questioning their shooting,” Mitchell said.

This game was a prime example of what happens to Marquette when it can’t score inside. Easy looks down low help set up an offense early in games, but when the Golden Eagles tried to find them, they were rejected by Rutgers’ stiff interior size and skill.

With no post threat established, the Scarlet Knight defense made the Golden Eagles one-dimensional, forcing them into outside shots.

Marquette’s perimeter shooters felt the weight of the game shift to their shoulders and with that pressure came the hesitations and second-guessing.

Against an unranked Rutgers team, these ingredients are the recipe for an upset.

The Golden Eagles have been on both ends of this spectrum, however, and have collected enough upsets of their own to become a force in the conference.

While the post problems linger, they haven’t stopped this year’s team from making a run at the NCAA Tournament.

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Marquette Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *