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Marquette Women's Basketball Preview: at UW-Milwaukee

A road trip where the Golden Eagles get to spend the night before and the night after in their own beds.

This picture from 2006 is now the only UWM mascot picture we have in the hopper.
This picture from 2006 is now the only UWM mascot picture we have in the hopper.
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

At 4-6 on the season, Marquette is one game better than they were last season after 10 games.

With similar losses to Green Bay, Northern Kentucky, and South Dakota, it's hard to say for certain that Marquette is clearly better than they were a year ago.  What we do have, though, is optimism that things are moving forward.  Instead of a senior dominated squad struggling to adjust to a new head coach, we have a freshman heavy team figuring a new thing out every time they step out on the court.  It's head coach Carolyn Kieger's second season, and eight of the 10 players on the active roster were all recruited by Kieger.  They all know what to expect from her by now, or at the very least, they know what Kieger expects from them every single time they touch the ball.

If you round up, Marquette's got three players scoring in double digits every time out.  Allazia Blockton (17 ppg) has started to create a solid Freshman of the Year campaign, as she just won her third straight Freshman of the Week award this past Monday.  Natisha Hiedeman (12.8 ppg) is right behind Blockton, both in terms of overall scoring and when it comes to being one of the more reliable freshmen in the Big East.  The biggest surprise of the trio is junior McKayla Yentz, who did not see all that much playing time in her first two years in Milwaukee.  Yentz is not only averaging 10 ppg, but also canning triples at a rate of 41%.  That's the second best mark on the team after Blockton, but Yenz is much more willing to rifle up a three-point attempt, as she leads the team in that category.

Game #11: at UW-Milwaukee (4-4)

When: Tuesday, December 22, 2015, at 7pm Central
Where: Klotsche Center in Milwaukee, WI
Audio/Visual: TWC SportsChannel will carry this one live, plus it'll be on WatchESPN, PLUS 920 AM will have a radio broadcast.  Live stats will be here.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

If Marquette annihilates UWM on Tuesday night, I would imagine that if we pulled the phone logs from the McGuire Center, we would find a 305 area code at least once in the last week.  You see, Miami plastered the Panthers 77-38 back on November 27th down in Coral Gables.  Marquette head coach Carolyn Kieger was a Hurricanes assistant for six seasons under UM head coach Katie Meier, so you know that the two of them are going to chat on a regular basis anyway.  It only makes sense that a tidbit or three or seven are going to make their way across a phone line or an email at some point in the not distant past.

The loss to the Canes was the only truly lopsided game that UWM has played this season.  They've suffered losses at Florida Atlantic, at #15 Northwestern, and at home against Denver in their most recent outing, and while their worst margin there was 25 points against the Wildcats, they didn't trail Northwestern by 20 until there was five minutes left in the game.  Their wins have come against UMKC and Northern Illinois here in Milwaukee, along with La Salle in the consolation game of the tournament that Miami hosted and a trip to Eastern Illinois for some reason.

4-4 through eight games might be just about right for a team picked to finish ninth in the 10 team Horizon League.  The key here is that they were ninth by a WIDE margin, accruing just 71 points compared to the 134 gathered up by eighth place Northern Kentucky.  That would be the same Norse squad that defeated Marquette 83-78 earlier this season.

Sophomore Jenny Lindner leads the way for UWM with 13.9 points per game, and she's no slouch on the glass either, yanking in 7.6 rebounds per game.  That's not the best mark on the team, though.  Fellow sophomore and Oak Creek product Steph Kostowicz is tops for the Panthers in that regard, nearly averaging a double-double with 9.9 points and 9.9 rebounds.  Senior Sydney Howard runs the show, averaging 3.3 assists per game.  Marquette's going to have to keep an eye on Northern Illinois transfer Alexis Lindstrom, who is canning 37% of her three point attempts this season and leads UWM in long range attempts, too.