Feb. 13, 2015
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MILWAUKEE- The Marquette University women's basketball team (6-19, 2-12) faltered in the second half and fell 64-52 to St. John's (17-7, 7-5) Friday night at the Al McGuire Center.
After holding onto a 31-29 advantage at halftime, Marquette struggled out of the gate in the second half and could not fend off the Red Storm in the final 20 minutes.
MU featured two double-digit scorers with freshman Tia Elbert scoring a team-high 15 points and adding five helpers coming off the bench.
After a monster first half, senior Chelsie Butler finished with 11 points, four blocks and three rebounds. Freshman Shantelle Valentine did her best to hold court against St. John's and its strong rebounding unit, notching a career-high 10 boards. Senior Arlesia Morse and freshman Kenisha Bell combined for just 15 points, despite each averaging over 14 points per game.
Marquette struggled to find its rhythm on the offensive end to begin the second half; MU scored just six points in the first 10 minutes. After the Blue and Gold knotted the score at 37 -37, SJU used a 9-0 run and head coach Carolyn Kieger called timeout with just under 10 to play. The Red Storm would stretch their run to 16-0 before Elbert scored to end the streak.
The Red Storm showcased their strong rebounding Friday night and outrebounded Marquette 62-32, with the work on the glass leading to many second chance baskets.
St. John's enjoyed strong contributions from Aliyyah Handford and Amber Thompson, two of the league's premier offensive talents. Handford, the BIG EAST's leading scorer, notched 20 points and the BIG EAST's leading rebounder, Thompson, was a force on the glass registering 15 boards.
At the half, the Golden Eagles held on to a two point lead, at 31-29. The first 20 minutes of action, featured five ties and three lead changes. The story of the first half for MU was the play of senior center Butler, who had 11 points and three blocks at the break. The Minerva, Ohio native, was assertive and aggressive in the paint, executing on an array of post moves. Butler's 11 points in the first half were the most she has scored in any half this season, and her three blocks tied a season-high. Elbert also provided a spark, notching seven first-half points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field.
Each squad held a lead for over eight minutes in the first half, and after SJU rallied back to grab the lead late in the first, Butler added a score plus the foul to provide Marquette the advantage going into the break.
MU's bench turned in a strong effort, outscoring SJU's second unit, 29-7. St. John's and Marquette both established themselves in the paint, scoring 34 and 30 points in the paint, respectively.
Friday night marked the 10th Annual Play4Kay Game at the Al McGuire Center. Both teams sported pink uniforms as they worked to raise awareness for breast cancer. Three breast cancer survivors were recognized and honored in a pregame ceremony.
After a quick turnaround, Marquette returns to action this Sunday, Feb.15 when it hosts Seton Hall for a 2 p.m. Central time tilt. Sunday's matchup marks senior day for MU's seniors, Morse, Apiew Ojulu, Butler and Cristina Bigica. Before donning the Blue and Gold for the final time at the Al McGuire Center in regular season action, the four will be honored in a pregame ceremony.