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Marquette Women's Basketball Preview: vs Loyola-Chicago

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Second year head coach Sheryl Swoopes (yes, that Sheryl Swoopes) bring the Ramblers to Milwaukee for a non-conference clash.

There's no pictures of Loyola's mascot.
There's no pictures of Loyola's mascot.
Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

Marquette women's hoops has played two games this season: one exhibition, one regular season.  Combined, they highlight the flaws of this team at this point under Carolyn Kieger.  In the exhibition loss to Lewis, Marquette's already short bench was shortened even further when Arlesia Morse and McKayla Yentz sat out for minor health reasons.  Against a Division 2 team ranked #9 in the preseason polls, that was enough to cost the Golden Eagles the game.

In Saturday's regular season opener against UW-Green Bay, both Morse and Yentz were back in the lineup.  It didn't matter though, as Marquette shot the ball poorly, turned it over a bunch, and allowed repeated layups as the Phoenix ran away with the game.  Granted, the Phoenix earned a vote or two from Top 25 poll voters in the preseason and they've won 16 straight regular season conference championships.  Given that, it's not surprising that the Golden Eagles, a relatively inexperienced team with a new head coach, struggled against a deep, experienced team like Green Bay.

So it might be a long season. That makes games like today's slightly more important, especially with this weekend's trip to North Carolina looming.

Game #2: vs Loyola-Chicago (0-1)

When: Monday, November 17, 2014, at 7pm Central
Where: Al McGuire Center
Audio/Visual: OPTIONS!  Watch live on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel or stream it on GoMarquette.com. Live stats, too.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

Marquette and Loyola have squared off 17 times in the history of their women's hoops programs, with the Golden Eagles coming away as the victors nine times.  Eight of those times have come in the last eight games, with Loyola's most recent win coming in 1991.

The Ramblers are guided by second year head coach Sheryl Swoopes, whom you may have heard of before.  They were picked to finish seventh in the 10-team Missouri Valley Conference this season after finishing eighth last year in their first season as a part of the MVC.  This seems slightly unfair to Loyola, though.  Last year, Taylor Johnson and Tiana Karopulos were lost for the season to injury after five and six games respectively, and they return this season.  Johnson averaged over 18 points and six rebounds a game through five contests last season, while Karopulos chipped in 11.7 per game in the six that she appeared in.  Also returning to the lineup this season is senior forward Simone Law, who appeared in just three games in 2013-14 while struggling with knee injuries.

In Loyola's regular season opener, they lost badly to Georgia Tech, 92-57, but Law led the team in points and rebounds, while Johnson and Karopulos combined for 15 points and eight rebounds as the starting backcourt.  What could make this game fascinating to watch is what happened in Loyola's exhibition schedule.  They also played Lewis, coming away with an 83-61 loss.  At home.  To the same Lewis team that barely squeaked past a shorthanded Marquette team.