No. RV/23 Arkansas Tops Marquette, 71-69
Dec. 30, 2007
HANOVER, N.H. - Two costly Marquette miscues, which turned into four points for Arkansas, proved to be the clincher as the Marquette women's basketball team fell to No. RV/23 Arkansas, 71-69, in the Blue Sky Classic championship game Sunday evening at Leede Arena on the campus of Dartmouth College.
The Golden Eagles fall to 7-5 on the season, while the Lady `Backs remain undefeated 14-0.
"Our team fought for 40 minutes and showed a lot of heart and character," said head coach Terri Mitchell. "I loved our energy, and I have said this before, but our non-conference schedule will prepare us for the BIG EAST. This tournament showed us a lot and it made us a better team by playing in two close games. Even though we dropped to Arkansas, we know we are capable of playing with a top-25 team. Now, we have to learn how to finish that game. I know the character of our team and we will show up and do it again. As long as we continue to work together as a team we are going to accomplish great things."
With the score at 69-67 in favor of the Golden Eagles, Arkansas' Brittney Vaughn stole the ball from Robinson and scored to knot the game at 69-69 with 1:09 left to play.
On the Marquette's next possession, both sophomore Janelle Harris and senior Svetlana Kovalenko were unable to make their shots, and Harris turned the ball over following her offensive rebound. Arkansas' Lauren Ervin, the tournament MVP, scored the game-winning jumper with 13 seconds remaining.
Ervin and Charity Ford led all scorers with 16 points each. Robinson gave Marquette a team-high 15 points and pulled down a collegiate best six rebounds. Kovalenko and Harris also scored in double figures with 14 and 10 points, respectively. For the game, Marquette shot 37.5 percent, connecting on 27-of-72 attempts.
On the glass, the Golden Eagles owned the rebounding advantage, 46-44. Kovalenko led the effort with nine, while Harris and junior Kelly Lam combined for 15 boards.
After being down by one point (35-34) at half time, the Golden Eagles stormed out of the locker room and quickly took a nine-point lead thanks to a 12-2 run over the opening 2:30.
Marquette pushed its lead to 11 points, 50-39, with 16:41 left in the game after back-to-back jumpers by Lam and Kovalenko.
The Lady `Backs chipped away at MU's lead and came as close as four points, 54-50, with 10:26 left to play.
From there, Marquette went on a 9-2 run over the next two minutes to retain its 11-point lead (63-52). Ellis, Robinson and freshman Jocelyn Mellen each scored for the Golden Eagles during their run.
Ford hit a 3-pointer that capped a 13-4 Lady `Back run that cut Marquette's lead to two points, 67-65, with 2:43 remaining in the game. Robinson converted a pair of free throws to give the Golden Eagles a four-point cushion, 69-65, but Ayana Brereton sank a jumper to help Arkansas to come within two points, 69-67, with a 1:31 left to play.
The Golden Eagles will close out non-conference play against Western Michigan on Wednesday, Jan. 2, at the Al McGuire Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.