Marquette upends DePaul womens basketball 60-53

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MILWAUKEE (AP) – Marquette appears set to return to the women’s NCAA tournament for the first time in four years, and the 24th-ranked Golden Eagles might have boosted their seeding with their latest win.Angel Robinson made a pair of free throws with 26 seconds left and Tatiyiana McMorris scored 16 points to help Marquette beat No. 7 DePaul 60-53 Saturday night for its first win in seven meetings against the Blue Demons.

“Top 25 wins get you to a place of good seeding,” Marquette coach Terri Mitchell said. “It doesn’t mean anything is guaranteed, but you’re more likely to be able to win the tournament. That’s how we’re looking to position ourselves.”

Marquette (22-6, 10-5, Big East) had a 17-point second half lead, but De Paul (25-5, 12-3) went on a 22-5 run to tie it at 49 on Deirdre Naughton’s 3-pointer with 6:21 to go.

“Absolutely, we expended a lot of energy (during the run) but that was because we were in the hole,” De Paul coach Doug Bruno said. “The reason we were in the hole was because Marquette dug the hole and did a great job throwing the dirt back in.”

Mitchell had a message for her team after De Paul tied the game, and her Golden Eagles listened.

“De Paul’s that good,” she said. “There’s a reason they are ranked as high as they are. We had to take a collective deep breath as a group and find that rhythm to say there’s 6 minutes left in the game, let’s get back to doing what we do well.”

What they did well against De Paul was play stifling defense, holding the Blue Demons to 29 percent shooting for the game. The key spurt in the game was keyed by Robinson driving the lane for a layup with 5:49 left to give Marquette the lead for good, 51-49, and starting an 11-2 run that decided the game.

“De Paul’s a team of runs,” Robinson said. “The teams that they play against, they have to be good at stopping them, and stay composed as a team. We did a great job of that. They made a few runs, but we kept reminding ourselves that we have the lead, so play like we have the lead.”

Paige Fiedorowicz scored 14 points and Jasmine Collins added 13 for Marquette.

It was the second time this season Marquette has beaten a Top 10 team. The Golden Eagles also beat then-No. 6 West Virginia 69-54 on Jan. 11.

The Golden Eagles are tied for fourth with Rutgers and Louisville in the conference, with one game to play. It is the first time Marquette has won 10 games in Big East play.

De Paul’s leading scorer, Keisha Hampton, fouled out with 1:39 left and the Golden Eagles leading 53-51. She scored 17 points on just 5-of-17 shooting.

“They were just in my face, they played good defense on me,” Hampton said. “It was a tough night for us.”

Marquette took its biggest lead, 44-27, on a fastbreak layup by Collins with 16:18 left.

De Paul beat Marquette 64-56 just two weeks ago in Chicago. The Blue Demons are 5-2 against ranked teams.

“One of the good things about this is usually at this time we are fighting our way into the tournament,” Bruno said. “It is better to take a crash and burn on the 26th of February than it is to have to take it three weeks from today when we are playing NCAA tournament basketball. Hopefully these will be great learning experiences for us.”

The Blue Demons have lost two consecutive games and host No. 8 Notre Dame on Monday night. Marquette opened the Big East portion of its schedule with a slew of top teams, and finishes Monday night at Cincinnati (8-19, 1-14).

“They took their medicine in this league early and we are taking our medicine in this league late,” Bruno said.