SPRING VALLEY — The Marquette Lady Crusaders proved too much for the Princeton Tigresses, dominating them throughout the game as they cruised to a 71-26 victory in regional semifinal action, sending the Tigresses home for the season.
The Tigresses had hoped to come out and give them a game, especially after they played them tough during their regular season.
“If we could keep up with 60 percent,” said Princeton coach Kevin Hieronymus. “My goodness, they had a lot of weapons. Obviously, we knew Miss Gama could score, but she had a lot of friends out there tonight.”
The 60 percent he was referring to was the Crusader shooting percentage Tuesday, which did not even include many points from senior guard Marissa Gama who lit it up against them in the regular season.
The Crusaders came out shooting and grabbed control from the get go with a 13-0 run on way to a 36-13 halftime lead. The second half was then more of the same as they began with a 9-1 run, outscoring the Princeton Lady cagers 22-4 in the third quarter and 35-13 in the second half.
The Crusaders played well and executed from all over the court.
“They [Princeton] scared us last time we played,” Marquette coach Todd Hopkins said, “The girls remembered that. They hit their shots. They played controlled and businesslike.”
“But you have to give Princeton credit. They played hard. To be honest, I didn’t get much sleep. They’ve got some speed. In a one and done, anything can happen.”
“Heart and hustle is what our team was all about,” said Hieronymus, even though their final record of 6-22 is not where they’d hoped it would be or what Hieronymous hoped for in his first year back in the coach’s box.
After giving the sophomores some minutes in the final frame, Hieronymus put his five seniors – Makenzey Wilson, McCaela May, Lexi Marselle, Emmalee Sears and Sidney Hall – back on the court and told them to have fun.
One of those seniors, Makenzey Wilson, said the year was a lot of fun despite the record.
“We had a really fun year this year. We all enjoy each other – it was a good year,” she said. “There were a lot of games we had a bad first half and we battled back together. We learned perseverance.”
Though Princeton goes home, Marquette gets to face off against St. Bede for the championship Thursday night in a match-up of the No. 1 seed (St. Bede) and two seed.
Princeton has now faced both teams twice, giving Wilson a firsthand insight into each team.
“I’m going to guess that St. Bede is going to win, but I think it will be 54-51, a close game, but I think St. Bede will pull it out,” Wilson said.