Mon. Final: Louisville 66, MU Women 61
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Angel McCoughtry was far from satisfied despite leading Louisville past Marquette.
McCoughtry, the No. 7 Cardinals' career leader in scoring and rebounding, scored 19 of her 25 points in the second half and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead No. 7 Louisville past Marquette 66-61 on Monday night.
"I felt like I let the team down today," said the senior forward, who had five of the Cardinals' 18 turnovers. "I don't think I led them the way I should have."
Freshman reserve Janae Howard scored 11 of her 13 points in the first half to tie her career high, as the Cardinals (27-3, 14-2 Big East) overcame a turnover-plagued first 20 minutes and tied a school record with their 27th win.
Angel Robinson scored 19 of her 26 points in the second half for Marquette (16-14, 7-9). Jessica Pachko added 14 as the Golden Eagles dropped to the ninth seed for the Big East tournament which starts Friday at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn.
Louisville led 35-32 at the break, but had to erase Marquette's nine-point lead.
"I thought Marquette played harder than we played in the first half," Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. "They really did a good job of getting our kids frustrated and, unfortunately, we fell into it."
Louisville committed six turnovers in the first 8 1/2 minutes as a swarming defense kept Marquette within striking distance until the final moments.
"Somehow, we were up 3 at the half, which a lot of that had to do with Janae Howard, our freshman, coming in and scoring 11 in the first half for us," Walz said. "In the second half, we came out, we played harder, but still did not play very smart."
The second half became a duel between McCoughtry and Robinson, the Golden Eagles' leading scorer this season.
McCoughtry prevailed, scoring 19 points in the second half. She also grabbed a key defensive rebound and a loose ball and hit five of six free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Louisville, which finished second in the Big East behind Connecticut, won its sixth straight and built momentum for the conference tournament where they have a first- and second-round bye.
Robinson's 3-pointer gave Marquette a 15-6 lead midway through the first half, but Howard started a 19-4 run for the Cardinals, converting a three-point play and hitting two 3-pointers. The Cardinals' reserves helped out by outscoring Marquette's 18-0.
McCoughtry's tip-in gave Louisville a 47-39 lead with 13:28 to play. Marquette fought back and went ahead 48-47 on a 3-pointer by Krystal Ellis with 8:55 left to go. McCoughtry's free throw tied it and two free throws each from Howard, Candyce Bingham and Tiera Stephen put Louisville back on top to stay.
"You're not No. 7 in the country if you're not going to respond like that," Marquette coach Terri Mitchell said. "We went down fighting."
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)