WVU Women Hold Off Marquette

Yinka Sanni scored 21 points, including a pair of free throws in the final 10 seconds, as No. 14 West Virginia staved off a late comeback to beat Marquette 68-63 Wednesday.

Marquette missed two long shots, including a tying 3-pointer with 10 seconds left, around Sanni's free throws as it fell to a ranked team for the fourth time in as many games this season.

West Virginia rallied from a halftime deficit for the first time all year. The Mountaineers (13-3, 3-1 Big East) wilted in the second period after trailing at the break to then-No. 1 Connecticut and Tennessee as well as Indiana. This time, they responded by getting the ball inside to Sanni and converting on consecutive Marquette turnovers midway through the second half to take the lead for good at 44-43 on LaQuita Owens' 3-pointer with 12 minutes left.

West Virginia pushed that advantage to a game-high 53-43 with eight minutes remaining via two transition lay-ups and Sanni's three-point play and pair of free throws that finished the 12-0 run. Marquette continued to stay within striking distance, however, closing to within at least six four different times over the next four minutes. Meg Bulger hit two 3-pointers and consecutive free throws and Chakia Cole added a lay-in during that period to pace West Virginia before Marquette's seven consecutive free throws put it in a position to win with 17 seconds left.

Krystal Ellis, who made three straight free throws to get the Golden Eagles within 66-63, missed a three before Sanni was fouled with eight seconds remaining. After two makes, Courtney Weibel was partially blocked on a long two-point attempt that effectively ended the game.

Sanni, one of four Mountaineers in double figures, also grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds for her 12th career double-double, good for 10th most in school history. Bulger scored 12 points and Cole and Owens added 11 apiece for West Virginia, which won for the 19th time in 20 home games, including 13 straight. Marquette was led by Ellis' 23 points. Paige Fiedorowicz had 13.

The Golden Eagles (9-7, 1-2) led 32-28 at the break after a lackadaisical opening 20 minutes that featured a combined 21 turnovers. There were six ties and three lead changes, the last coming on Jocelyn Mellen's putback to give the Golden Eagles a 28-26 lead with 1:17 remaining. That marked the first time West Virginia trailed at the half at home this season. Both teams had 18 turnovers; Marquette was right at its Big East-leading steal mark with 12.

It was just the third home game since No. 18 for West Virginia, the second of three straight ranked Marquette foes in 12 days. The Golden Eagles have lost three of four to ranked teams by five or fewer points.


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