ND Women’s Basketball: Marquette hands Irish first conference loss, snaps ND win streak
Bill Brink | Wednesday, January 14, 2009
A sweet winter break came to a bitter end in Milwaukee Tuesday night.
Angel Robinson scored 19 points and led Marquette to a 75-65 upset of No. 10 Notre Dame at the Al McGuire Center, snapping Notre Dame’s seven-game win streak.
Krystal Ellis contributed 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting, and the Golden Eagles outscored Notre Dame (14-2, 3-1 Big East) 45-31 in the second half.
The game was tied at 52-52 with 10:18 left in the second half, but Marquette (11-6, 2-1) went on a 23-13 run to take control.
“We missed some shots and they made some big plays,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said in a telephone interview after the game. “We fouled a little bit, and they made their free throws.”
Notre Dame shot only 38.8 percent from field goal range and 57.1 percent from the foul line. This season, Notre Dame has made 69.5 percent of its foul shots, 10th out of 16 Big East teams.
Guards Ashley Barlow and Melissa Lechlitner each scored 15 points for the Irish.
“Barlow played well, I was happy with her game,” McGraw said. “She got a lot of steals, she made some threes, she had a good game. Lech is a fighter. She’s doing everything she can to win the game.”
Forward Becca Bruszewski scored 12 on 6-of-11 shooting and Natalie Novosel had 10.
Robinson also pulled down nine rebounds in the game. McGraw said Robinson improved her performance from previous games.
“She made her shots,” McGraw said. “She played probably a little better than she’s been playing lately.
Marquette out-rebounded Notre Dame 42-35 and scored 24 fast-break points to Notre Dame’s 12.
The Irish led by as many as eight in the opening minutes of the second half, but Robinson hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 12:47 remaining. Notre Dame kept it close once Marquette took the lead, but the Golden Eagles hit their foul shots; they made 17 of 22, or 77.3 percent.
Marquette led 17-8 with 10 minutes left in the first half, but Bruszewski sank a layup to bring Notre Dame within three. Watson hit a 3-pointer to give Notre Dame its first lead since the opening minute, 24-23, with 4:36 left in the first half. Notre Dame led 34-30 at the half.
uNo matter that No. 10 Notre Dame lost two regular contributors to torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears. Tuesday’s defeat was the first since an overtime loss to Michigan on Dec. 10 and the first conference loss after the team started Big East play 3-0.
Notre Dame defeated Seton Hall, DePaul and Georgetown to open conference play, and got a large contribution from center Erica Williamson. Williamson scored a career-high 20 points in Notre Dame’s 86-62 win over DePaul, then broke it the next game. She dropped 21 in an 84-63 win over Georgetown.
uNovosel was named the Big East Freshman of the Week twice, on Dec. 29 and Jan. 13. She averaged 15.5 points in two games last week. Freshman forward Kellie Watson has also been named freshman of the week twice, making this the first time Notre Dame has ever had two players win the honor twice.
uBecause of the injuries Notre Dame has sustained, the Irish added junior walk-on Alena Christiansen to the roster on Dec. 19. Christiansen played Bookstore Basketball in her first two years at school. In high school, she was a two-time all-state selection at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort. Lauderdale, Fla. She averaged 15 points per game as a senior. And, today is her 21st birthday.