After losing control of two straight games in the second half, Marquette finds themselves on a three game losing streak. Better end of game execution against South Dakota could have made that only two games, as there were a number of issues that led to the blowout losses against Wisconsin and Auburn.
In any case, Marquette finds themselves with a 2-6 record on the season. That puts the Golden Eagles into a three way tie for the fewest wins so far in the Big East. Thanks to three more losses by Georgetown, however, MU is only tied with Villanova for the second worst record in the conference.
I point this out, because things aren't getting easier for Marquette. This game against NKU won't be easy based on MU's play so far this season, and neither will next Sunday's contest against Western Illinois (6-4). In between that, Marquette will host Vanderbilt on Thursday, and the Commodores are 7-2. Those games will wrap up Marquette's non-conference schedule and they'll kick off the Big East schedule with the fourth of four straight home games on December 30th against Xavier.
The good news is that's winter break, so the NCAA restrictions on how much practice time can be spent per week is lifted. Can a few extra hours here and there help Marquette break through to what Carolyn Kieger intends for her squads to be going forward?
Game #9: vs Northern Kentucky (4-5)
The Norse are in their third season of Division 1 competition, and they've finished over .500 each of their first two seasons. They find themselves under .500 at this point of the season after losing their last two games. First it was a 82-64 game against #13 Kentucky in Lexington, then a trip to Fort Wayne ended with an 65-59 loss to IPFW. The Mastodons led the Norse (and that was fun to type) by as many as 18 points in the second half, but an NKU rally cut it to within 4 with 24 seconds left before running out of gas.
Marquette and Northern Kentucky do have an opponent in common this season. Both squads have played against Loyola-Chicago. While Marquette ended up with an 86-71 home win over the Ramblers, NKU lost at home, 45-38. Both teams shot under 32% in that game with the Norse dragging things way, way down at just 18.3%. The Norse shot just 4-25 behind the arc against Loyola, but hey: at least they made three pointers, as Loyola went 0-7.
NKU has two double digit scorers in Melody Doss (12.8ppg) and Christine Roush (10.8). Roush and Doss are the two Norse most likely to launch from behind the arc, and luckily, they're also the team's best chance of putting a three ball down. They're each shooting better than 33% from distance, the only two players hitting on more than 30% of their tries. Senior center Kaitlyn Gerrety leads NKU in rebounding, gathering up 6.3 misses per game. Three more players, including Roush, average at least 4 rebounds per game as well. NKU isn't likely to pass to score a basket, with no one averaging more than 2.1 assists per game.