No. 5 Rutgers Slips Past Marquette, 65-61

Jan. 8, 2008

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MILWAUKEE (AP) - Junior Krystal Ellis and freshman Angel Robinson each scored in double figures, but it was not enough as the Marquette women's basketball team dropped another close one to No. 5/5 Rutgers, 65-61, Tuesday night at the Al McGuire Center. The Golden Eagles fall to 9-6 overall, 1-1 in BIG EAST play, while the Scarlet Knights improve to 12-2, 2-0.

Essence Carson scored 17 points and Epiphanny Prince added five of her 17 points on free throws down the stretch to lead No. 5 Rutgers past Marquette 65-61 on Tuesday night.

Matee Ajavon scored 14 points for Rutgers (12-2, 2-0 Big East), which won its seventh straight game. Ajavon sat out the conference opener against St. John's on Jan. 5 in order to rebuild the strength in her legs.

Carson started after coming off the bench for the last two games. The senior, recovering from a stress fracture in her foot, was sidelined for three weeks with the injury, but only missed two games as Rutgers had an extended break for exams.

Krystal Ellis scored 15 points and Angel Robinson added 13 for Marquette (9-6, 1-1).

The Scarlet Knights held Marquette scoreless for the final 6:20 and went ahead to stay on five free throws by Prince for a 63-61 lead 4:16 to play. Carson hit two free throws for the final margin.

Ellis' layup gave Marquette a 61-58 lead before the Scarlet Knights turned up their defense. The Golden Eagles missed their last nine shots and two free throws in falling to Rutgers for the fourth time.

Rutgers fell behind by seven midway through the second half, but stayed close and went ahead 58-57 on Brittany Ray's long 3-pointer with 8:04 to go.

Trailing 41-33 early in the second half, Marquette used a 15-0 run capped by Ellis' two free throws with 14:58 left to play. Robinson had seven points and Ellis converted a four-point play to spark the comeback.

Post Game Quotes

Rutgers Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer

How did you feel you did compared to the St. John's game. Were you happier with this win?
"This took a great team effort with more intensity. And of course, (Marquette) is a better team. Particularly here. Marquette is a tough team to play at home and they don't lose many games here."

Concerned about the fact that you had a 10 point lead and you were not able to extend that?
"Obviously it would have been nice to put the game out of reach, but it was a matter of hitting foul shots. Foul shooting is something that is infectious. Someone gets up there and misses and everyone follows. There is no question about that. Our biggest concern was the 20 turnovers. We need to be around five or six turnovers and we do know how to do that. The fact that Marquette was changing defenses confused us a little bit."

Neither team scored a field goal in the final six minutes. Do you feel fortunate to come out of here with a victory?
"All of the time, especially when you're here. What was key for us was that we hit some foul shots. We changed our defense on them a bit but we weren't able to take advantage of it ourselves. They stepped it up defensively and we took some ill-advised shots at some critical times that we are going to learn from."

Marquette Head Coach Terri Mitchell

Opening Statement:
"I felt like we prepared extremely well. I think we played with a lot of energy and played hard for 40 minutes. Even though we didn't come out with a victory we can hold our heads high because we understand that we can play with top teams in the conference, top teams in the nation. All that we are doing is preparing young players to play the game and players are having to step up in roles that they have never had before. I just think that once we put it all together we are going to be a hard team to deal with. I have got to give Rutgers a lot of credit and there is a reason that they are No. 5 in the nation because they closed out down the stretch and we didn't. I am very proud of how we approached that game and that we didn't back down."

About the play of Angel Robinson:
"It was great to see. We are at a point in the season where we have two great guards. They are both scorers and are feeding off each other. The experience that she is getting is going to be unbelievable down the stretch of the season. Every BIG EAST game that we play is one Top 25 team after another so it is going to benefit us especially when we get to the BIG EAST Tournament. I told the players "I know that it hurts and its good that it hurts because of how badly we wanted (the win) but now we have to move on."




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