Marquette Falls To No. 15/16 Virginia, 76-71

Nov. 29, 2008

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MILWAUKEE -- The Marquette University women's basketball team overcame an early deficit, but surrendered a 13-point lead in the second half Saturday in falling to No. 15/16 Virginia, 76-71, on day two of the 2008 WBCA Classic from the Al McGuire Center.

Virginia's (5-1) Monica Wright led all scorers with 31 points and was instrumental during a 21-7 Cavaliers' run midway through the second half in which Wright scored 12 points to help Virginia close the gap, and eventually take back the lead.

Meanwhile, Marquette (5-1) struggled offensively in the first half. The Golden Eagles shot just 6-of-22 (27.3 percent) from the field following opening tip-off until sophomore Angel Robinson knocked down a baseline jumper at 11:11 mark to get the Golden Eagles to within five points at 20-15.

Marquette went on to secure 13 offensive rebounds in the first stanza, which led to nine second-chance points. A fast-paced game also allowed for some easy buckets in transition for both teams early on.

Robinson found senior Krystal Ellis for fast-break layup to give Marquette it's first lead, 30-28, since the opening minutes of action. Ellis also knocked down a 3-pointer during the run, scoring nine of Marquette's 11 points to close out the half.  MU went on to out-score the Cavaliers 22-10 during the stretch and took a 37-30 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Ellis picked up in the second half right where she had left off. The All-American guard and junior teammate Lauren Thomas-Johnson connected on back-to-back 3-point attempts to give MU its largest lead of the evening, 43-30, forcing Virginia head coach Debbie Ryan to burn a timeout less than a minute into the second period.

The duo knocked down two more 3-pointers as Marquette went 4-of-4 from beyond the arc to open the second half, but the Cavaliers netted three 3-pointers of their own before going on their late run.

Marquette's lead was cut to two following a pair of free throws by Virginia's Whitney Edwards, following a technical foul called on the Golden Eagles' bench. The Cavaliers then got a pair of layups from Aisha Mohammed on their next two possessions to take the lead, 61-59, with 5:58 left to play.

Virginia extended its cushion to as many as five points, 69-64, on a spot-up jumper by Wright with 43 seconds remaining.

The Golden Eagles wouldn't go away. Sophomore Angel Robinson scored seven of her team-high 25 points in the closing seconds, including a 3-point basket with 21 seconds on the clock to get MU back to within two points at 73-71. But the Cavaliers converted on their foul shots at the other end to keep MU out of reach.

Marquette shot just 39.7 percent (29-of-73) from the field, despite a better shooting effort in the second half. Ellis finished with 23 points to go along with three blocked shots and Thomas-Johnson tallied 10 points.

MU will wrap up this weekend's tournament with a 3 p.m. tilt Sunday against Utah.




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