Marquette Tops Butler, 77-74 in 2OT

MU's Shantelle Valentine grabbed six rebounds against Butler Sunday afternoon
Feb. 8, 2015

Final Box Score (PDF)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.— Strong free throw shooting in the final minute of play helped the Marquette women’s basketball team (6-18, 2-11) earn a 77-74 double overtime victory at Butler (12-12, 8-5) on Sunday afternoon.

Down the stretch the Golden Eagles hit 5-of-6 key shots at the foul line to secure their first road victory of the season. Senior Arlesia Morse went 4-for-4 in that stretch, her only free shots of the day, and has now connected on 41 consecutive free throws. She is averaging 93.3 percent from the line and ranked second in the country. Morse led four Golden Eagles in double figures with 18 points and four assists. Freshman Kenisha Bell added 17 points, while classmate Tia Elbert and senior Cristina Bigica each added 12 points apiece. Bigica notched her first double-double of the year with a team-high 11 boards.

Ijeoma Uchendu paced Butler with 27 points, 13 rebounds and four assists in 48 minutes of play.

After trailing 14-10 at the 10:54 mark, the Golden Eagles’ offense clicked as they scored nine straight points, and took a 19-14 lead over Butler with 7:03 left in the first half. Marquette held a narrow 31-30 advantage heading into the break after the Bulldogs converted a jumper in the closing seconds. Marquette shot 53.8 percent (14-26) from the field in the frame and went 3-for-5 from beyond the arc. The Golden Eagles owned a 15-10 advantage on the glass.

The second half at Hinkle Fieldhouse was a defensive struggle for both squads, with each team limiting their opponent to under 40 percent shooting for the half. Butler’s Uchendu led all second half scorers with 13, while Morse and Bell both chipped in six points for MU. The second half deficit for either team never rose above five points. Trailing, 56-54 with one minute left in regulation, Morse connected on a clutch jump shot to knot the score up at 56 all. Morse’s basket would prove to be the final tally of the second half, as Butler turned the ball over on the ensuing possession and Morse failed to connect on a three-point attempt with just seconds remaining in regulation.

The Golden Eagles opened up the scoring in the first overtime when Bigica connected on a pair of free throws. Marquette would hold the lead for most of the first overtime period, and held a two point lead after Morse sunk two free throws with 12 seconds remaining. After an errant shot by the Bulldogs’s Lexus Murry, MU’s Shantelle Valentine corralled the rebound but then lost control as Murry stole possession and dished it to Uchendu who dropped in a lay up as time expired, forcing additional bonus basketball in Indianapolis.

In the second over time, Marquette and Butler again battled back-and-forth, but the Golden Eagles connected on crucial free throws down the stretch to secure their first road victory in conference action. Marquette led by as many as six in the final period of play, despite Butler jumping out to an early lead.

MU returns to action this Friday, when it hosts St. John’s for an 8 p.m. Central time tilt at the Al McGuire Center. Friday’s showdown with the Redstorm will be televised live on FOX Sports 1.




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