Bulldogs Fall in BIG EAST Opener 61-59
December 29, 2013HOOSIER SPORTS 365
INDIANAPOLIS – The game came down to the final possession at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday night as Butler and Marquette matched up for the first-ever women's basketball BIG EAST game. The 'Dogs got two shots off in the final seconds of the game, but neither fell as Marquette held on for a 61-59 victory.
"I'm just so proud of my team," Head Coach Beth Couture explained. "I've been talking about this game since before Christmas, how this was our first BIG EAST game and how important it was and I felt like our kids really responded. It was one of those games where I felt so bad for them, because I felt like they played hard enough to win the game."
Taylor Schippers led all players with 16 points as she paced the offense on 5-of-14 shooting. Schippers knocked down 5-of-6 from the free throw line and also came up four assists, three rebounds and a steal.
Additional Bulldogs to help the team in the scoring column included Ijeoma Uchendu, Daress McClung and Mandy McDivitt. Uchendu scored all 15 of Butler's bench points on 6-of-12 shooting. She grabbed eight rebounds and also recorded three blocks in 23 minutes of action.
McClung would once again battle foul trouble as she ended the game with 13 points and three boards while being limited to just 23 minutes of playing time due to picking up four personal fouls. She was met on the bench for extended amounts of time next to Liz Stratman who eventually fouled out of the contest with four points, three rebounds and a season-high five blocks.
McDivitt lined up for two 3-point field goals against the Golden Eagles to lead Butler in that category. She finished with nine points off a 3-for-4 effort from the charity stripe. Rounding out the scoring was Lexus Murry who once again jumped in the starting lineup. Murry was 1-of-6 from the floor with two points and three rebounds.
A balanced scoring attack from Marquette (10-2, 1-0) led the team to victory as three players ended the game with 11 points. Brooklyn Pumroy, Apiew Ojulu and Lauren Tibbs each scored 11 in a variety of ways while Katie Young and Arlesia Morse each scored nine points.
Neither team shot the ball well on Saturday night with Butler ending the night at 36 percent compared to 34 percent from the Golden Eagles. BU shot 4-for-15 from distance and Marquette was in line at 3-for-14.
Butler led 26-23 at the half off the scoring combination of Schippers and Uchendu. There were four ties and four lead changes in the opening 20 minutes and that number would swell to seven ties and nine lead changes before the final buzzer.
The second half was a single digit battle the entire way with Butler holding onto the slim advantage. The turning point in the game came with 10 minutes remaining as Marquette went on a 7-0 run that erased a 47-39 Butler lead.
The Marquette scoring streak would be capped off by a three point play by Tibbs that pushed the score to 47-46 with 8:32 to play.
Neither team was able to pull away as McClung tied the game late with a layup at 59-59. The last points of the game would be scored by Tibbs as her jumper at the 1:54 mark ended up being the game-winner.
The Bulldogs had multiple chances to tie the game with under two to play, but they couldn't come up with the key bucket as Marquette held on for the 61-59 victory.
"I thought we battled defensively," Couture added. "They [the team] did exactly what we wanted, and the game plan was perfect for how they [Marquette] like to execute. It's just hard right now because we just wanted to get a win because we have played in so many close games. I'm proud of them for playing defense and just overall playing hard."