Despite struggling with turnovers, Marquette had a lead and a huge opportunity to knock off No. 13/12 Louisville at home Tuesday night.
Junior Katie Young hit two clutch three-pointers in the final minutes of the game, including one that gave Marquette a one-point lead with 14.1 seconds left in the game. After a Louisville field goal, Young again got the ball behind the three point line, but her final shot was blocked, and the Cardinals won 64-63.
“What I loved is that even though we were down 10, we fought,” coach Terri Mitchell said. “We were able to take the lead with the shot Katie hit, and they just came right back at us. We still gave ourselves an opportunity, and that’s all I can ask of our players.”
Coming off a game in which it turned the ball over a season-low nine times at Pittsburgh, Marquette surrendered 25 to the Cardinals. The Cardinals took advantage, scoring 29 points off of turnovers, a Big East-high for the team.
Mitchell doesn’t have an answer for why the team continues to have turnover problems but said she will continue to work on it at practice.
“I can’t explain it,” Mitchell said. “They’re not trying to do it. It could be anxiousness, it could be whatever. We know that was the difference in the game.”
Since the start of Big East play, Marquette has averaged 20.2 turnovers and has allowed opponents to score 18.8 points per game off of those mistakes. Mitchell said there are positives to come out of having that many turnovers.
“I know they want to do well,” Mitchell said. “But the character we showed, even when (the game) changed, and to keep fighting and to not give up … we still gave ourselves a chance.”
On the opposite side of the ball, Young, junior Katherine Plouffe, and freshman Brooklyn Pumroy made a difference. Young and Plouffe put up 17 points, while Pumroy notched 16 points of her own. For Pumroy and Young, both of those point totals were one away from career highs.
Mitchell said she was really impressed with their play, especially Young’s play down the stretch.
“We just called her number,” Mitchell said. “She and Brooke were our three point shooters. We called her number and she delivered twice, and I was really impressed with that kind of focus she had.”
Pumroy agreed, saying Young was ready to make the big plays.
“You can tell when Katie’s on because she is really confident, and she was like that,” Pumroy said. “We worked so hard that game and kept fighting, and when she hit that shot (to take the lead), that was really exciting.”
The majority of Marquette’s points came from inside the paint and they outpaced Louisville in field goal percentage, three point shooting and free throw shooting. But what may be Marquette’s best offensive stat is its outscoring of Louisville in fast break points, 25-2.
While this kind of loss can shake a team, Mitchell said she wants her team to focus on what will make it better, not what is causing it to lose.
“I hate losing,” Mitchell said. “But if we remember the effort and toughness we gave, we can be better from the mistakes we made. We have to be a team that values the basketball more, shorten up our passes, and does whatever it takes.”