Marquette's Opening Run Sinks Ilini
The Illini ended a six-game road trip at Marquette (7-2), as the Golden Eagles jumped out to a 14-0 lead and held off a late Illinois (4-4) rally to claim the 81-68 victory on Sunday in Milwaukee, Wis.
Marquette opened the game with a three-point barrage, as the hosts hit four treys to sprint to a 14-0 lead barely two minutes into the contest. The lead eventually ballooned to 19-2 after another trey and Illinois did not make its first field goal until 11:47 left in the half, as an Alicia Sheeler jumper made the score 21-6. Marquette built its lead as large as 19 points before settling for a 43-27 advantage at the break.
The Illini shot only 22 percent in the first half, as Marquette nailed five three-pointers and shot 48 percent from the floor.
Illinois battled back in the second half, using a 9-2 run to cut the lead to 49-40 with 13:47 remaining. Marquette answered with a 9-0 run to built the lead back to 18 points. UI made its final run with 7:25 left, as a trio of Illini three-pointers, one each by Allison Curtin, Melissa Parker and Lisa Guarneri, turned a 66-50 deficit into a 66-59 game with 6:03 left. Another trey from Guarneri, who hit a career-high four three-pointers in the game, slashed the lead to four points at 70-66 with 2:50 remaining. After a Marquette timeout, the Golden Eagles went on a 7-0 run to put the game away.
Blauser led the Illini with 18 points, including 8-8 from the free-throw line, as Guarneri came off the bench to pour in a career-high 16 points, including four treys. Parker and Curtin added 10 points a piece, but the Illini shot only 37 percent from the field in the game. Marquette put all five starters in double-figure scoring, led by Abbie Willenborg's 21 points and Lisa Oldenburg's 20 points. The Golden Eagles hit only five three-pointers in the game, all in the first four minutes of the first half.
Illinois was once again without the services of Tauja Catchings, who missed the trip due to illness. The Illini ended their road trip and now will play at home for the first time in nearly a month when they host the Florida Gators on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 1 p.m.