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Whitney Young's Linnae Harper (15) shoots a jump-shot against Marshall in the Public League girls basketball playoffs on Saturday, January 26, 2012, in Chicago. | Chandler West~For Sun-Times Media
The third time proved not to be the charm for Marshall.
The Commandos faced off against top-ranked Young for the third time this season at Saturday’s Public League quarterfinal at Chicago State and Linnae Harper made sure that any thoughts of an upset were soon dispelled.
Young jumped out early behind Harper and easily beat Marshall 66-43 to advance to Wednesday’s semifinal game against Phillips at Chicago State at 5:15 P.M.
"That’s why she’s an All-American,’’ Marshall coach Dorothy Gaters said. ``She shows up in big games and leads her team.’’
In the previous two meetings, Gaters recalled the games being, `a lot to a little’, in referring to the scores. This one was no different thanks to the kick start that Harper gave her team.
The sight of Harper breaking away for an uncontested layup after a steal became common in the first quarter. The Kentucky-bound senior scored 10 points, had five steals and two assists in the first to spark her team to a 19-8 lead.
``We have to show no mercy and prove ourselves every time we play,’’ Harper said. ``Even though we played this team several times, we have to bring the effort and intensity and value every possession.’’
Yowanda Posey is normally a starter for Marshall (11-10) but came off the bench because Gaters felt like she didn’t have enough energy in the morning shoot-around. Posey scored 12 of her 17 points in the first half and twice pulled the Commandos to within four points.
But the closeness of the score was short-lived as Harper went into assist mode in setting up Taylor Brame, Katrina Beck and Madinah Muhammad for consecutive scores that led to the Dolphins (19-4) pulling away for good.
``We feed off her as the leader of our team,’’ Brame said of Harper. ``When she’s dribbling up the court we lock eyes so that I know that I will be getting the ball. The key is to always be ready because you never know when the ball is going to come your way from her.’’
Harper finished with 18 points and 10 assists. Brame had 13 points and Khaalia Hillsman had 10 points and blocked five shots while altering many more.