Senior forward Sarina Simmons has scored in double digits in MU's last 3 games. - Maggie Casey/MarquetteImages.com
It's never fun to have to rebound from an outing like Sunday's game against Notre Dame, but it's what Marquette must do to try to earn a postseason slot.
The Golden Eagles face off with the Red Storm tonight at 7pm at the Al McGuire Center. For you out of town types, the game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network, who apparently have some sort of weird affinity for the McGuire Center. If you're tuning in on TV, you'll get James Bates and Tammy Blackburn calling the action.
When last we left the Golden Eagles, they ended up on the business end of a 87-49 loss to #2/3 Notre Dame. Not terribly surprising, I suppose, but it was at least interesting until the 5:58 mark of the first half when a bucket from Katherine Plouffe pulled Marquette to within 10 at 25-15. Unfortunately, Marquette wouldn't score again until a triple from Cristina Bigica with 16:04 left in the second half made it 46-18. You can tell it wasn't your team's night when you can say things like "Other than that 21-0 run, they only lost by 17."
The Red Storm come in having won their last three games, including an overtime win over Georgetown. Aliyyah Handford picked up her third Big East Freshman Of The Week honors for leading St. John's in scoring last week in their wins over South Florida and Cincinnati. The 5'9" guard averaged 15 points last week, but is still only third on the team in scoring behind senior guards Shenneika Smith (16.9 ppg) and Nadirah McKennith (12.9 ppg). Smith is also the team's leading rebounder at 7.2 per game.
Three percentage points is the difference between St. John's and their opponent on most of the Four Factors, with each one favoring the Red Storm. SJU will probably have an advantage when it comes to turnovers in this one, forcing turnovers on 24% of possessions. While they have an advantage on their opponents in offensive rebounding rate as well (37% vs 34%), we know MU is good at that particular attribute. The Golden Eagles might need to find a way to do better than their season average of getting to 41% of their own misses to balance out the Johnnies' ability to turn them over.