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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

No. 2 Notre Dame rolls right past Marquette

At 24-1 overall, Notre Dame is trying to rationalize why it is deserving of a No. 1 seed in next month’s NCAA tournament.

After the Fighting Irish’s 87-49 victory over Marquette on Sunday, the Golden Eagles could offer plenty of support for their cause.

The No. 2 Fighting Irish were led by Skylar Diggins’ 23 points and seven assists as the team won its 19th consecutive game. Senior Sarina Simmons had a well-rounded afternoon for Marquette, scoring 12 points, grabbing six rebounds and three steals.

Sophomore Arlesia Morse scored 11 points and junior Katherine Plouffe tallied nine points and seven boards for the Golden Eagles.

“In this kind of game, if you want a chance against Notre Dame, you have to play your very best,” Marquette coach Terri Mitchell said. “Obviously, we did not do that. They force you into not playing your best.”

Marquette (12-13, 4-8) struggled with its transition defense, as the Irish outscored the Golden Eagles 24-2 on the fastbreak and 26-7 in points off turnovers. Several of Marquette’s 20 turnovers occurred far from the basket, allowing a speedy Notre Dame squad to make uncontested layups.

“When we’re turning it over at the top of the key, we’re going to lose that battle, and we did,” Mitchell said.

Marquette fell behind 22-7 with 11:16 to go in the first half. Plouffe cut the deficit to 25-15 on a long jumper, but the 10-point margin would be the closest Marquette would get.

Marquette trailed 34-15 at halftime, shooting 6-for-28 and committing 10 turnovers.

Notre Dame put together a 12-0 run to open the second half to push ahead 46-15. Marquette went 9:54 without a field goal, spanning the first and second half.

The Fighting Irish went to their bench early in the second half when they were in the middle of their run. Coach Muffet McGraw was satisfied to see the reserves earn playing time.

“We are playing very well right now and giving our younger players some experience,” McGraw said. “We have some tough games left, and we have to finish the season off strong.”

Diggins moved into second place on Notre Dame’s all-time scoring list. Mitchell quickly saw why Diggins was tabbed the Big East Preseason Player of the Year.

“All those awards she has – there’s a reason for that,” Mitchell said. “She had a very good game.”

At one point, Marquette actually forced Notre Dame to miss 16 of 20 shots and held them without a field goal for four minutes. Mitchell enjoyed the energetic defensive spurts her players displayed but stressed that intensity needs to be present for the full 40 minutes.

“I thought the opportunities were there, but we just didn’t finish it,” Mitchell said. “Did we have moments? A few. They were outstanding. They outrebounded us, forced us into turnovers. There’s a reason why they’re No. 2. They took it to us.”

Marquette played three games against top-five opponents in the past month. Although none of those games resulted in wins, Simmons said facing tougher competition can only benefit the Golden Eagles.

“It’s hard, but those are the games we look forward to,” Simmons said.

The Golden Eagles’ 4-8 record places them in a tie with Georgetown for 11th place in the Big East. Marquette has winnable games against Providence, Cincinnati and Georgetown remaining. The three teams are a combined 7-28 in league action.

Marquette hosts St. John’s tomorrow night in hopes of snapping its two-game losing skid. The Red Storm are 7-4 in the Big East and are coming off a blowout win over Cincinnati, 75-46.

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