Hiedeman, King lead women to OT win over Auburn

Golden Eagles notch fourth win in five games

Photo+by+Doug+Peters%2Fdouglas.peter%40marquette.edu

Photo by Doug Peters

Photo by Doug Peters/douglas.peter@marquette.edu

Andrew Goldstein, andrew.goldstein@mu.edu

From the moment her teammate Natisha Hiedeman released the ball toward the basket, sophomore guard McKayla Yentz was fairly certain about what was going to happen next.

“I knew it was going in,” Yentz said. “It was a great rotation, she’s a clutch shooter…I knew it was going in and we were going to overtime.”

It seemed as if the crowd at the Al McGuire Center was every bit as confident when the freshman Hiedeman hesitated for a fraction of a moment, then swished a three-pointer to tie the Golden Eagles with Auburn at 60 points apiece with eight seconds left in regulation. The Golden Eagles ended up prevailing over the Tigers, 70-69, in overtime.

Perhaps the only person more excited than the Al McGuire Center crowd was Marquette head coach Carolyn Kieger, who once again raved about her young team.

“The first thing I told my team (after the game) is I love coaching this group,” she said. “They are a joy to coach every day, but watching them in that last five minutes, it was like they were seniors on the court. They were talking to each other, they were motivating each other, they were picking each other up. That was a huge team victory.”

Both sides trudged their way through a slipshod first half to start the game. Auburn shot a porous 23.7 percent from the floor, and Marquette wasn’t much better; they shot just under 30 percent. Both teams also committed double-digit turnovers, with Marquette ceding possession 13 times and Auburn giving it up on 11 occasions. The Tigers’ defense forced the Golden Eagles to commit a season-high 24 turnovers by day’s end.

“Twenty-four turnovers is obviously too much,” Kieger said. “We knew they were going to run (the press), we knew we were going to turn the ball over, and we knew we had to respond.”

The Golden Eagles responded well with a 13-for-31 second half shooting effort and vastly improved ball movement. Freshman point guard Danielle King, who sat for the majority of the first half after committing five turnovers and getting into foul trouble, provided a much-needed infusion of energy to her team down the stretch. She scored 10 of her 13 points in the second half and racked up six assists while managing to not accrue another turnover.

“I’m so proud of Dani because that first half was a struggle for her,” Kieger said. “She came back and she had six assists with zero turnovers in that second half and her presence on the floor just made us more confident.”

Still, Auburn matched Marquette nearly basket for basket. Junior guard Brandy Motgomery’s 24-point effort kept the Tigers rolling despite a resurgent Marquette offense. In fact, it even appeared as if Auburn was all set to finally pull away from Marquette after Montgomery buried a corner three with six and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter to put the Tigers up 48-39.

However, the Golden Eagles quickly clawed their way back into the contest on the strength of a 6-0 run that took just over a minute to execute. The two sides continued to go back and forth until Marquette corralled a missed free throw from Auburn junior Katie Frerking with just under 30 seconds to go and the Golden Eagles down by two. Montgomery stole the ensuing inbounds pass from Hiedeman, though, and it appeared as if that would wrap the game up for Auburn.

Montgomery only made one of two free throws on the next possession, which meant that Marquette could tie the game with a three-pointer. Yentz tried a three-pointer first, but her try bounced off the rim. King grabbed the rebound, then tossed it out to Hiedeman on the left wing, who proceeded to bury the game-tying three.

“We knew T-Spoon was a big-time player,” Kieger said, referring to Hiedeman by her nickname. “We were actually working on that exact shot this week, so I’m happy for her because practice pays off.”

Marquette started the overtime period with a three-pointer from King and never surrendered the lead after that. Auburn had a chance to equalize while down 70-67 with 16 seconds left, but Montgomery’s game-tying triple was off the mark, and the Golden Eagles notched their fourth win in five games.

Now the 4-5 Golden Eagles will have a week off for final exams before they return to action Saturday at Arizona State.