HARTFORD, Conn. -- Christina Quaye had 18 points to lead Marquette (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today; No. 23 AP) to a 61-51 victory over Pittsburgh in the Big East tournament quarterfinals Sunday.
Krystal Ellis added 15 and the Golden Eagles (25-5) went on a 16-4 run late to break open a close game.Marquette has won six of its last seven and will play Rutgers (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today; No. 18 AP) in a semifinal Monday night. The Scarlet Knights beat DePaul 63-55 earlier Sunday."We are excited about our progress," said Marquette coach Terri Mitchell, named Friday as the Big East coach of the year. "Last year in the Big East tournament we bowed out in the first round, so our only goal was to win a game in the Big East tournament and we've accomplished that goal."Marcedes Walker led Pittsburgh (23-8) with 18 points and 12 rebounds.Walker scored her team's first 10 points and grabbed six rebounds to help Pittsburgh jump out to a 10-8 lead. But she picked up her second foul less than five minutes into the game, and ended the half with 13 points in just nine minutes."I just tried to stay in the game," Walker said. "They had a great game plan coming in the second half."The sixth-seeded Panthers extended their lead to 27-19 before Marquette ran off nine consecutive points to take the lead just before intermission. But Jania Sims bucket at the halftime buzzer put Pitt back on top 29-28.The teams traded the lead nine times and were tied six times.Trailing 34-33, Marquette went on an 11-5 run to take the lead for good.Pitt pulled to 45-44, before the Golden Eagles went on their final run with just under seven minutes left.Neither team shot well. Marquette was 19-for-50 from the field, while Pitt was 19-for-61."You know, you have to hit shots," Pittsburgh coach Agnus Berenato said. "Marquette, at the very end, they hit shots and that will happen with a veteran team."Shavonte Zellous, who scored 28 points Saturday in Pitt's 76-71 win over Cincinnati, was 1-for-12 from the floor and finished with five points. Ashleigh Braxton was 4-for-9 from 3-point range and had 12 points for the Panthers, who beat Marquette 91-87 in overtime on Jan. 9.