A Banner Day: MU Tops Oral Roberts, 89-67, in Season Opener

Nov. 15, 2008

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MILWAUKEE -- The Marquette women's basketball team opened it's regular season on Saturday with an impressive 89-67 victory over Oral Roberts (0-1). The Golden Eagles (1-0) saw five players in double-digit scoring, led by preseason All-American Krystal Ellis who tallied 16 points in 26 minutes. Saturday also marked the unfurling of the 2008 WNIT Championship banner in front of a crowd of 1,201 at the Al McGuire Center.
"We want to start this year where we finished last season," said Marquette head coach Terri Mitchell, who is entering her 13th season at the helm. "At the end of the year when we finished we understood what it was to work hard and work together. We stepped on the court confident because of those two things. So I said ‘Celebrate it. Enjoy it. Smile, you’ve earned it. You did something for this university that we are very proud of. Take that emotion out onto the court.’ I felt it. I was very proud to be Marquette’s head coach."

Sophomore Angel Robinson hit a three-pointer in the first eight seconds of play to open the scoring for Marquette (1-0, 0-0 BIG EAST). Freshman Jessica Pachko, making her first official collegiate start, added a layup to extend the lead to 5-0. After back-to-back layups by Ellis extended the Blue and Gold's lead to 9-3, consecutive baskets by Oral Roberts' Georgia Jones and Kelly Kindell tightened the MU advantage to 12-9.

A Jocelyn Mellen entry pass to Paige Fiedorowicz allowed the home team a seven point advantage, 16-9. The ORU squad tried once again to close the gap with back-to-back treys by Amy Pryor and Jones, respectively, to close the MU lead to one point. Lauren Thomas-Johnson answered from long distance with a three of her own, to maintain a 19-15 lead.

Freshman Jordan Pyle's layup, and a Janae Voelker bank shot three, allowed Oral Roberts (0-1, 0-0) their first and only lead of the game at 20-19 with 10:52 left. After an official timeout with just under ten minutes to play, Marquette went on a 19-0 scoring spree, not allowing an opposing point for eight minutes of play. During MU's 19-0 run, five Golden Eagles scored before Georgia Jones' jumper with 2:53 left to play. Robinson tallied six points, off two layups and four foul shots, while Ellis and Thomas-Johnson added four points apiece.

Thomas-Johnson's jumper from the top of the key extended MU's lead to 38-20, its biggest lead of the first half. During ORU's drought, Marquette forced ten of ORU's 13 first half turnovers, and scored 21 points off turnovers in the first frame. Mitchell attributed her team's scoring run to a tough defense.

"I think we were very aware of our positioning," said Mitchell. "We talk a lot about getting on the midline. We pressure the ball, and everyone else is on the midline so we’re keeping the ball on one side of the court. We really kept it to one side and forced them to take some shots and we were able to get steals. That was a great stand for us. I always say that I don’t care what the score is in the beginning of the game as long as our defense is stepping up to the plate. I was very pleased with the first half."

ORU's Jones, a freshman from Manchester, England, was able to hit a layup and baseline three to reduce Marquette's lead to 38-25 with 2:05 remaining in the first half. The Golden Eagles went into intermission with a 17-point lead, 42-25, after back-to-back layups by Janelle Harris and Angel Robinson, the latter coming with three seconds on the clock.

Marquette used its post presence to outscore ORU in the paint, 27-10, with Thomas-Johnson and Fiedorowicz scoring eight and seven points, respectively, in the first half. Robinson led all scorers at the half with 11 points off 4-of-6 shooting from the field. As a whole, the home team shot 46.9 percent from the field, while limited to 3-for-11 shooting from three-point range. Meanwhile, Oral Roberts hit 5-of-8 from long distance, while their drought caused a 43.5 percent clip shooting from the field.

The Golden Eagles came out with the same intensity and momentum in the second half with a 15-5 run. MU spread the scoring, with Fiedorowicz hitting a back-to-back jump shot and layup to maintain a 47-32 Marquette lead. An Ellis entry pass led to a Robinson layup, and the senior then tallied her own two points with a layup for a 51-32 advantage. Mellen and Erin Monfre both dialed in from long range, holding the comfortable lead at 57-32.

Senior Noelia Quintas' basket with 15:00 on the clock redeemed the ORU squad after being outscored 8-0 in almost four minutes without a basket. Marissa Thrower helped boost points from the bench, making two foul shots and a shot from the lane to extend the Marquette lead to 66-41.

After ORU's 6-foot-3 Monah Pegorari fouled out with 11:32 on the clock, Terri Mitchell's squad took full advantage, tallying 18 points in the paint in the second half. The two teams traded baskets for the remainder of the game, with a stifling Marquette defense outscoring the opponents, as the second Oral Roberts' player fouled out in Pyle. Janelle Harris' putback put the Golden Eagles ahead, 80-59.

After Pachko hit a turnaround jumper to pace the Golden Eagles at 83-62, Marquette cleared their bench with 2:51 left in the half. Pachko scored five points in the last 4:12 of action. Courtney Weibel tallied her lone points of the game with a trey from the right side, while Jasmine Collins' wide-open layup was the last basket of the game, securing Marquette's victory at 89-67.

Oral Roberts saw three players in double-digits, with both Voelker and Jones scoring 20 points apiece in 39 and 37 minutes of action, respectively. The squad shot 40.0 percent or better in all categories, including 42.1 percent shooting from the field and 40.0 percent from three-point distance.

Marquette struggled from long distance, going 31.8 percent beyond the arc off of 7-for-22 shooting. The Golden Eagles hit 33-of-66 shots from field goal range, good for 50.0 percent, and 66.7 percent from the charity stripe. Pachko missed just one foul shot, going 4-of-4 from the field and two-for-three from the line, tallying 10 points total. Robinson, Ellis, Thomas-Johnson, and Fiedorowicz also saw double-figure games. Twelve of 13 players scored for MU, resulting in 40 bench points, compared with Oral Robert's 14.

MU held Oral Roberts' leading scorer, senior Mariana Camargo, to 0-for-6 shooting from the field, and just one point from the foul line. Camargo averaged 13.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game last season.

The Golden Eagles will host Sacred Heart on Monday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Al McGuire Center in non-conference play.




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