Panthers Sink Marquette On Last-Second Free Throws, 63-62
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Dec. 31, 2008) - Sophomore Ashley Imperiale sank two free throws with 3.6 seconds remaining to send the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's basketball team past Marquette, 63-62, Wednesday afternoon at the Al McGuire Center.
The Panthers (5-6) trailed by as many as 13 in the first half, but fought back to take the lead late and end an 11-game losing streak against the Golden Eagles (9-5).
"What a great way to ring in the new year," Milwaukee head coach Sandy Botham said. "We've played in a lot of these close games. We have come out on the winning end in a few of them and we've also lost some of the heartbreakers. So, it's nice to get it. I though our players played with a lot of heart and determination and never gave up."
Senior Traci Edwards led Milwaukee with 21 points, 14 rebounds and five assists while playing all 40 minutes. Sophomore Lindsay Laur added 15 points with four 3-pointers before fouling out and sophomore Jineen Williams also reach double-figures with 10.
Jessica Pachko led MU with 12 points. Paige Fiedorowicz and Angel Robinson had 10 points apiece.
After overcoming a 26-13 first-half deficit, Milwaukee trailed by five points at 62-57 with 1:09 to play on a Jenelle Harris three-pointer. Back-to-back lay-ups by Williams made it a one-point game with the Panthers having to foul.
Krystal Ellis missed the first half of a one-and-one with Edwards pulling down the board. On the ensuing play, senior Turquoise McCain drew a loose ball foul, but had to leave the game with a knee injury. Imperiale, who finished with three minutes played, entered the game and calmly sank both free throws to put the Panthers ahead.
"(Ashley) can shoot. She can score. She's clutch," Botham said. "So, there was no question about who we were going to put in. She delivered, as well as Traci Edwards delivering for us. I was thinking `do we give her a rest, do we get her a rest', but we couldn't afford to take her out."
Robinson's off-balance three-pointer was off the mark at the buzzer and the Panthers rushed the floor to celebrate their first win over Marquette since Jan. 30, 1996, and the first win in the series downtown since becoming a Division I program in 1990.
"This is my 13th season, we've played them 12 times," Botham said. "It's always in the back of my head, but you try not to think about it and just focus on the game plan. It's all about the players taking care (of business). The victory is sweet. Seeing my family after, with my father passing away and for him not to be here, I know he was here. So, it was a nice win."
UWM struggled in the first half, shooting just 32 percent and committing 14 turnovers in falling behind 26-13 with 4:18 to play in the frame. The team rebounded with a 10-4 run to end the half down just seven at 30-23.
The three-pointer was key for the Panthers all day, with Laur hitting key back-to-back three-pointers twice in the game. The first time turned an 8-3 MU lead into a 9-8 UWM advantage. In the second half, Edwards knocked down a three, following by a pair of Laur treys to complete the comeback at 36-34 with 14:45 to play in the game.
In the second half, Milwaukee shot 60 percent from the field and turned over the ball nine times in outscoring the Golden Eagles by eight points to overtake the home team. The Panthers finished the game shooting 46 percent, including 9-of-18 from three-point range. They also forged a 35-34 advantage on the boards.
On the defensive end, Marquette was held to 37.1 percent shooting and was able to make just 3-of-13 three-point attempts. Instead, MU went inside and finished with 34 points in the paint.
The Panthers return to action in the new year Jan. 4, hosting Green Bay in the league opener for both teams. UWM and GB tip off at 7 p.m. at the Klotsche Center.