Golden Eagles Fall to Providence, 66-58

MU's Cristina Bigica
Jan. 23, 2015

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MILWAUKEE-- The Marquette Golden Eagles (4-15, 0-8 BIG EAST) fell just short of their first conference win, dropping a 66-58 decision to the Providence Friars, (5-14, 2-6 BIG EAST) Friday evening at the Al McGuire Center.

Despite leading for more than 31 minutes, the Golden Eagles were unable to fend off the pesky Providence Friars down the stretch. Senior guard Arlesia Morse registered a game-high 19 points, including 14 in the second half alone. Morse was the lone Golden Eagle in double figures, as senior Apiew Ojulu and Freshman Kenisha Bell each chipped in with nine points apiece. Bell also added a team-high seven rebounds. Providence featured three double-digit scorers with Alison Lewis leading the charge with 17 points and seven rebounds.

Morse scored Marquette's first six points of the second half as it stretched its lead to a game-high 12 points at 39-27. Providence showed great resiliency, responding with a 15-2 run of its own to grab its first lead of the game at 42-41. After Morse converted on a layup attempt, MU then forced a five second count on the following inbound attempt. Next, Valentine connected on a close range shot, and MU's run forced PC to call a time out as MU cut the lead down to just one. Morse knocked down a three from the free throw line extended to give MU a 48-46 lead with 10 minutes remaining. Morse connected again on a mid-range jumper to stretch the lead to four, moments later. The Flint, Michigan, native scored seven of MU's nine points during this crucial stretch, which ultimately ended as an 11-1 run. The Friars responded and tied it up at 52, but sophomore McKayla Yentz banked in a three-pointer to put the Blue and Gold back in front. MU maintained a one point lead with five minutes to play.

The lead changed hands from that point on, with Marquette trailing 61-57 lead and just one minute left. After Marquette was forced to foul, PC's Karin Robinson missed both free throws, but Providence maintained possession as it collected the offensive rebound and Robinson was sent back to the line. Robinson converted both free throws this go around and gave PC its then largest lead at 63-57.

Bell led all scorers at the half with nine points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field. After both teams struggled to find an offensive rhythm early on in the contest, Marquette utilized a 7-0 run to grab a 19-11 lead with just over six minutes to play in the first. Soon after, PC employed a 6-0 scoring run of its own to shrink the gap to just two points at 22-20, with just over 2 minutes remaining in the first stanza. The Golden Eagles ramped up the defensive pressure, and eventually carried a 33-25 advantage in to the intermission.

MU's 33-25 advantage was its first halftime lead since Vanderbilt on Dec. 18 when it led 45-34. The Golden Eagles allowed the Friars to score just 25 points, which is the fewest first-half points of any opponent has recorded against MU this season.

After a quick turnaround, the Golden Eagles resume their four-game home stand when they host Creighton Sunday, Jan. 25, at the Al McGuire Center. Game time is slated for 2 p.m. Central time.




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