Refuse To Lose

By Troy A. Sparks, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: March 3, 2010

MILWAUKEE (BASN) — Even though it took an extra period to decide the game, the Marquette women refuse to lose to a losing team in Cincinnati to avoid a losing regular season.

They beat the Bearcats 69-63 in overtime Monday at the Al McGuire Center.

On Senior Night, one of the seniors, Lauren Thomas-Johnson refused to let the Golden Eagles go out with a loss at home. 10 of Thomas-Johnson’s team high 17 points came in the extra session.

Her drive to the middle with 3:09 left in overtime gave Marquette a 59-57 lead, which they didn’t relinquish. Thomas-Johnson made two layups and was 4-4 from the line as they outscored Cincinnati 12-6 in overtime.

The game was tied in regulation at 57-all.

“If you look at Lauren, the way she played down the stretch,” Marquette coach Terri Mitchell said.

“If you look at ‘Nellie’ (senior Janelle Harris) and the rebounds that she got . . . But Lauren just ended it as a senior. She had ended her game by a steal, by driving, by hitting big free-throws.”

“That’s what seniors do.”

Thomas-Johnson’s three-point shot with 18:38 in the first half gave Marquette (15-14, 6-10, Big East) a 3-2 lead. The Golden Eagles led at the half 32-28. She scored only four points in the second half to increase their margin to 49-44 with 8:05 left in regulation.

Cincinnati (11-17, 4-12), working their way back from a 57-51 deficit, held Marquette scoreless the last 4:05 of the second half.

The Bearcats called timeout twice in the last 30 seconds of regulation to discuss attacking the basket.

The strategy worked as they got a layup by Shareese Ulis with 4 seconds left to force overtime.

Mitchell was asked about her decision not to put Paige Fiedorowicz on the floor after the time outs for defensive purposes. “We went offense-defense at that point,” Mitchell said.

“I thought Paige on the offensive end was doing good (13 points). She ended up with good rebounds (11). (Cincinnati) was going with a four-guard look. They drove at the end on Nellie, and then Sarina (Simmons) stepped up too late.”

Cincinnati’s Kahla Roudebush led all scorers with 22 points. Val Schuster added 11 and Carla Jacobs chipped in with 10. Jessica Pachko tied Fiedorowicz in points with 13 for Marquette.

The Golden Eagles will take their refuse to lose attitude with nothing to lose to Hartford, Ct. as the No. 10 seed in the Big East Tournament. They will play 15th-seeded Villanova Friday at 6 p.m. Eastern time.

“We have nothing to lose,” Mitchell said. “To focus on what could’ve been, drags you down, to just say, ‘Everything’s new,’ roll out the ball. Everyone’s going to the conference tournament 0-0.”

“And we’re just gonna play loose and be excited and play together and use nine or 10 bodies.

We have lots of bodies to put out there in different situations.

“Anytime you can play again, coach again, it’s a good day.”

The top four seeds in the conference tournament don’t play until Sunday.