KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Marquette's seniors had never had a chance to play in the NCAA tournament before this season, and they weren't about to settle for a loss in the first round.
Senior guard Tatiyiana McMorris made a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left that gave Marquette a 68-65 lead, and ninth-seeded Texas failed to get off a proper shot when Kathleen Nash got stuck in a crowd of defenders as time expired on Saturday.The Golden Eagles were moving on.
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"I felt like I was going to be open," McMorris said. "Once I got it I knew I had to shoot it. If I missed, I knew we were going to overtime, so I was confident."Angel Robinson, a fellow senior, finished with 19 points to lead the eighth-seeded Golden Eagles (24-8), who will face No. 1 seed Tennessee in the Dayton region on Monday. Marquette is making its fourth appearance in the second round but has never advanced to the semifinals."These seniors have a mentality that they will not be denied," Marquette coach Terri Mitchell said. "Even when Texas went on a run, you could just hear the energy in our timeouts."The Longhorns (19-14) led by as many as nine with 12:38 left in the second half, and still had a 59-54 advantage when McMorris hit a 3-pointer with 6:58 remaining to close the gap.Texas, which was charged with 13 personal fouls during the game, committed three in a 1:35 span. Robinson hit a pair of free throws, and Paige Fiedorowicz hit four foul shots to take a 65-61 lead for the Golden Eagles.The Longhorns got the next two baskets, a pair of layups by Nash and Ashley Gayle that tied the game at 65 with 2:13. Neither team would score until McMorris took a pass at the wing, paused and launched her go-ahead 3-pointer.
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"The play they ran at the end we knew was coming, but we didn't do a good job switching out," Texas coach Gail Goestenkors said. "We played extremely hard, sometimes not well. I'm a little disappointed that we didn't attack the basket more. That's really our game."Marquette finished 13 of 14 from the foul line. Texas attempted no free throws for the first time in school history after the Golden Eagles were charged with just nine personal fouls.Nash led the Longhorns with 19 points, Chassidy Fussell scored 11 and Ashleigh Fontenette had 10. Gayle pulled in 11 boards as Texas outrebounded the Golden Eagles 42-35.Fiedorowicz finished with 14 points, and McMorris had 13 for Marquette, which has won seven of its last nine games by five points or fewer. The senior trio of Robinson, Fiedorowicz and McMorris each boast double-figure scoring averages for the season.The Golden Eagles shot 44.6 percent and scored 11 points off 11 turnovers. The Longhorns, who have now lost three straight first-round NCAA games, hit 39.2 percent of their shots."We had a few shots blocked. We stopped attacking for some reason, and that's a huge part of our game," Nash said. "We settled for outside jump shots. That was huge for us that we didn't get those free throws."