Women’s basketball upsets No. 3 Texas in first round of Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament

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(Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Marquette women’s basketball earned its highest-ranked win in program history against No. 3 Texas in its opener at the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in Paradise Islands, Bahamas.

Head coach Megan Duffy’s squad defeated Texas 68-61, all while never giving up their lead.

Senior guard Jordan King led Marquette with 25 points, while junior guard Rose Nkumu added 16 points in the victory.

“I’m so proud of Rose and Jordan and this entire team,” Duffy said. “It was an incredible win for our program.”

The last meeting between Marquette and Texas was over a decade ago in 2011. Marquette defeated Texas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, 68-65.

Duffy said she was proud of how the squad played “smart, tough and unified” throughout the combined four quarters of play.

Marquette started off the contest against Texas by responding to Texas’ first bucket off the jump ball. After that moment, the Golden Eagles maintained their lead over the Lady Longhorns for the entire game.

King said it was important for the team to be aggressive. Marquette junior forward Liza Karlen sparked immediate aggression by scoring the first two buckets for the Golden Eagles, followed by a 3-pointer from King herself.

At the end of the first quarter, Marquette was ahead 20-14, which put Texas in a six-point deficit to start the second frame.

The Longhorns continued to put offensive pressure on Marquette. By the end of the second period, Marquette’s lead was shrinking.

On the half, Marquette was 11-for-34 on field goals, while Texas went 11-for-38.

The third quarter was a threat to Marquette’s continuous lead over Texas, but not before Nkumu made a run of six points off of three steals.

“We (Marquette) actually came out in the third quarter with our first run and blew the game open a little bit, but then multiple runs by Texas in the middle of the third all the way through the end of the game happened,” Duffy said. “We were a little shaky at times on the bench at their (Texas) size and physicality, they were getting so much in the paint. We then talked about gang rebounding and if they got two points then we got two points, which got us some confidence.”

The third quarter concluded with Marquette holding the lead by one point, 42-41.

“All the practices that we’ve (Marquette) had leading up to this and even summer workouts, everything up to this moment gave me confidence in our team,” Nkumu said. “I knew everybody that had their number was called was going to come out and going to step up for us and contribute.”

King showed out in the fourth quarter as she scored 15 points in that frame alone. With the contribution of senior forward Chloe Marotta, Nkumu and Karlen, the Golden Eagles pulled ahead late to secure a victory of 68-61.

Texas totaled 19 points off turnovers while Marquette finished with 23 points off turnovers despite having a higher turnover percentage than Texas.

Overall, Marquette scored 82% of the times they had possession. The Golden Eagles led the contest for a total of 38 minutes and 42 seconds.

“To share such a moment as these with our fans, friends and family is so important to acknowledge to support that they give us through each season and these games,” King said about celebrating in the stands after the win. “Just being able to share that moment with lots of smiles hugs, it was awesome.”

On Sunday Marquette will take on the winner of No. 6 Louisville and Gonzaga in the second round of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament.

This article was written by Ava Mares. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @avamaresMU