Marquette snaps DePaul winning streak with second half surge

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Coach Terri Mitchell earned her 300th win of her Marquette career Tuesday evening. Photo by Aaron Ledesma/[email protected]

The Marquette women’s basketball team didn’t have an answer for the DePaul Blue Demons’ suffocating defense in the first half of Tuesday night’s game at the Al McGuire Center. The Golden Eagles trailed 35-25 at halftime and committed more turnovers (13) than they made field goals (10).

However, thanks to a 55-point second half, the Golden Eagles stormed back to knock off the Blue Demons 80-74, snapping DePaul’s nine-game winning streak.

“It feels good to beat them,” senior forward Katherine Plouffe said. “I think coming in and focusing on how we play and our principles are what we have to get back to.”

Five Golden Eagles scored in double figures, with junior Arlesia Morse leading the way with 17 points, 12 of which came in the second half. Plouffe added 14, junior Cristina Bigica scored 12 and sophomore Brooklyn Pumroy and senior Katie Young both chimed in with 11 points.

The Blue Demons force 20.8 turnovers per game because of their high-pressure trap and full court press. Despite Marquette’s early inability to handle the pressure, coach Terri Mitchell assured her group at half time that the game was still in reach.

“DePaul has the amazing ability to make you play their style,” Mitchell said. “What I told the team at halftime was ‘Don’t sell yourself short. It’s a 10-point game, we could overcome that.’ I think their enthusiasm coming out in the second half really turned the tables.”

Mitchell said her team needed to keep the ball moving against a team that attacks as aggressively as DePaul, in order to overcome the pressure.

“You’re in your press break the entire game,” Mitchell said. “It became very clear to us that the game was going to be reverse and attack.”

Although the Golden Eagles turned the ball over 21 times, Plouffe said she liked facing DePaul’s suffocating defense, as it spurred Marquette in transition.

“Once we get into the flow of the game, we like the pressure,” Plouffe said. “When teams trap us, it gives us an advantage on the weak side. I’m a fan of people trapping us, I like the pressure and I like scoring layups so I think it works for us.”

The comeback win was Marquette’s fifth victory in six games, which could be a strong catalyst for the final four games of the season. The Golden Eagles embark on a two-game road trip, starting with Seton Hall Saturday.

“They’re all must-wins this time of year. When you’re going down the stretch like this, you have to learn from your mistakes,” Mitchell said. “When you have five players score in double figures and rebound the way we did, we’re going to be in every game.