Women's Basketball Uses Big Second Half Run to Turn Aside Wis.-Green Bay, 67-63

Nov. 20, 2006

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MILWAUKEE - A 21-2 run by Marquette in the second half and a game-high 18 points by sophomore guard Krystal Ellis aided the women's basketball team in a 67-63 victory over Wis.-Green Bay, Monday evening at the Al McGuire Center. Thirty defensive rebounds, including nine by senior Danielle Kamm, and a 21-for-25 performance by the Golden Eagles from the free throw line helped the team improve to 2-1 on the season.

"It was an excellent game tonight," said head coach Terri Mitchell. "When we were down nine, we talked about character and trying to wear them down. There was a lot of inspiration in our timeout at that point. I loosened them up and they were able to refocus. In the last eight minutes we relied heavily on the fast break, wanting to get down the court as fast as we could and put the ball in the basket."

Ellis scored 12 of her points in the second half when they were needed most, going 3-for-7 from the field and 4-for-4 from the line.

"Every game Krystal (Ellis) plays shows a lot about her maturity," said Mitchell. "She hit some big-time shots in the second half and was a real energy for the team; pushing the ball, looking for offense and scoring."

Marquette and Wis.-Green Bay showcased two different styles of offense in the first half. The Phoenix featured a lethal outside attack, connecting on seven of their first 10 shots from the field to take a 19-17 lead 9:12 into the game. Leading the way for Wis.-GB was guard Natalie Berglin, who scored 14 of the teams first 19 points, going 5-for-6 from the field and 3-for-4 from beyond the ark.

"We have a lot of respect for Green Bay," Mitchell said. "They run a disciplined program and are very hard working. They work really well on the perimeter with fast cuts and good ball movement."

The Golden Eagles answered with a predominately inside game, scoring 16 of its first 29 field goal points from the paint. That, combined with a first half season high nine free throws on nine attempts, MU combated the perimeter game of Wis.-Green Bay as the teams traded the lead 11 times in the first 15:39.

The Phoenix took their final lead of the first half, 30-29, on their final field goal of the first half with 4:38 to play on a put-back by Nicole Soul. From there, the Golden Eagles went into halftime on a 9-2 run, matching their largest lead of the game, ahead 38-32. Perimeter defense was a key in the late run for MU as it held Berglin scoreless in the final 10:48 of the half.

Sixteen of Marquette's first half points came from the bench, and nine of ten players to see minutes on the floor scored.

The Phoenix started the second half on a 17-2 run, hitting seven of its first 13 shots from the field to take a 49-40 lead with 12:19 to play in the game. The Golden Eagles struggled to find the bottom of the net in the scoring drought connecting on two of 11 field goals.

"They were doing a great job setting screens and popping back early on," Mitchell explained. "We weren't covering the pop-back, and then they did a great job with the kick-out. When we went to zone, we had everyone step up."

Staring down a nine-point deficit, Marquette's defense once again answered the call, sparking a 21-2 run that held Wis.-Green Bay to one field goal in the next 11:26, leaving just 53 seconds to play in the game. Ellis scored the Golden Eagles' first 10 points in the run to give them a 50-49 lead. MU would not trail again in the game.

Wis.-GB scored nine points in the final 53 seconds, going 4-for-4 from the field, but would only get within four as MU hit six of eight shots from the charity stripe down the stretch.

The Golden Eagles did an excellent job of adjusting offensively in the second half. After allowing 16 points inside in the first half, the Phoenix allowed just two in the final 20 minutes. Without the prosperous results that came early on, MU continued its pressure down low, drawing fouls that led to 12 free throws. Instead, it relied more on its outside shooting and ball movement. Marquette scored 17 points in the second half, minus the free throws, 15 of which came outside the paint.

MU finished with 39 rebounds while holding Wis.-GB to 28. Kamm grabbed 11 of the boards to record a season high. The Phoenix scored just two second-chance points on six offensive rebounds, a direct result of the 30 defensive boards collected by the Golden Eagles.

Marquette's 84.0 shooting percentage from the free throw line was a season best. Ellis was a perfect 6-for-6, and senior Efueko Osagie-Landry connected on 4-of-4 attempts. Osagie-Landry and junior Svetlana Kovalenko combined for 16 of MU's 21 points off the bench. Nine of the ten players to see minutes hit a field goal and eight grabbed a rebound.

Up next for the Golden Eagles is the U.S. Virgin Island Paradise Jam, Nov. 23-25, where it will face Western Michigan (1-3), Auburn (3-0) and Xavier (3-0).




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