MILWAUKEE – Ashley Imperiale came off the bench to hit two free throws with 3.6 seconds left to give visiting UWM a 63-62 victory over Marquette on New Years Eve.
The Panthers improved to 5-6, while Marquette fell to 9-5.
Free throws were awarded to UWM after Marquette's Krystal Ellis was whistled for a loose ball foul while battling with UWM's Turquoise McCain for a deflected pass.
McCain was injured on the play, so Coach Sandy Botham called on Imperiale, a sophomore playing in just her second game with the Panthers after transferring from UW-LaCrosse, to take the line.
Marquette looked good in the first half, forcing 14 UWM turnovers and going on a 13-0 run midway through the half to give themselves a 26-13 lead four minutes before halftime. However, the Panthers closed with a 10-4 of their own, making the score 30-23 at half, and carried that momentum past intermission.
The Panthers extended their run out of the half and held a 36-34 lead with 14:37 to play. The game would swing back and forth the rest of the way, with the lead ultimately changing hands nine times. UWM shot 60 percent from the field in the second half and forced Marquette into several critical turnovers down the stretch to close the gap and set themselves up for the decisive possession.
UWM's Traci Edwards led all scorers with 21 points. Marquette was led by Jessica Pachko's 12 points.
Marquette's Krystal Ellis was held to a season-low six points on 2-of-10 shooting. The struggles of Lauren Thomas-Johnson continued as well. She shot 1-of-8 from the field to make her a combined 5-of-50 over her last eight games.