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Marquette Women's Basketball Weekend Preview: vs St. John's & vs Seton Hall

Two weekends in the back half of the conference schedule, two 1-1 weekends. Can the Golden Eagles make it three in their last homestand of the season?

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

If it's the last homestand of the season, that means that Sunday's game against Seton Hall will be Senior Day for Marquette's four seniors: Cristina Bigica, Chelsie Butler, Arlesia Morse, and Apiew Ojulu.  It seems a little weird to have Senior Day just slightly after Valentine's Day, but that's the luck of the draw when the Big East goes to the weekend travel partners schedule.

As mentioned in that brief summary, the Golden Eagles have gotten on what amounts to a roll since they flipped over to the second nine games of the Big East slate.  As they had lost all nine of the games in the first run through the conference, it wasn't very hard to get positive momentum.  But they have won two of their last three games after losing 10 straight games.  Each of the first two weekends of the second time around has had Marquette losing on Friday, but winning on Sunday.  It might be easier to get to that 1-1 mark this weekend by flipping that around, but let's take one thing at a time.

Big East Game #14: vs St. John's (16-7, 7-5 Big East)

When: Friday, February 13, 2015, at 8pm Central
Where: Al McGuire Center
Audio/Visual: Fox Sports 1 has your broadcast, and live stats will be here.
Special Promotions: It's a Play 4 Kay game to raise awareness for breast cancer research, so if you wear pink, you can get seats on the south end for $4. PLUS: Free Tshirt for students!
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

Marquette lost 67-52 to the Red Storm on their trip to New York earlier this season.  That sounds like a bit of a beating, but that game really only went off the rails in the last 8 minutes.  The Golden Eagles were going back and forth with St. John's early on in the game, and SJU wasn't able to get more than six or eight points of separation during most of the second half.  Did it end up as a 15 point loss on the ledger?  Sure.  Was it the kind of 15 point loss that you see from a team relying on three freshmen to do a lot of heavy lifting, where they just run out of gas as a team in the late stages?  Yep.

Back when that game took place, the Red Storm came into the weekend tied for first place in the Big East at 4-1 and picking up votes in the Associated Press Top 25.  Since then, the Johnnies have gone 2-3 and now sit in fifth place, three games behind first place DePaul in the loss column.  The Red Storm are 1-2 in road games in that stretch, including losses in their two most recent games.

If Marquette wants to come out on the plus side in this game, they're going to have to figure out how to deal with SJU's triumvirate of Aliyyah Handford, Danaejah Grant, and Amber Thompson.  Handford and Grant are #1 and #3 in the Big East's scoring leaders, averaging 20.3 and 17.6 points per game respectively.  Thompson leads the Big East in rebounding at 11.1 caroms per game, making her the only person in the conference to average more than 10 rebounds per game.  Marquette was able to limit Grant and Thompson from their stellar averages in their first meeting, but Handford was able to go off for 25 points and Grant made up for Thompson's lower rebounding by getting a 15-point, 11-rebound double-double.

Big East Game #15: vs Seton Hall (21-3, 10-2 Big East)

When: Sunday, February 15, 2015, at 2pm Central
Where: Al McGuire Center
Audio/Visual: Free streaming video from, plus live stats.
Special Promotions: Sunday Funday means buy 1, get 1 tickets for general admission seats, plus concession deals.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

While the game in New York City was a competitive affair for the majority of it, the result was exactly the opposite over in New Jersey.  The Pirates took a 10 point lead on Marquette after 10:15 had elapsed.  The lead was 20 with just under seven minutes left in the first half, and after a layup by Ka-Deidre Simmons with 52 seconds left in the half, it wouldn't go under a 20 point margin for the rest of the game.  Just a beating from one end to the other, with barely a moment for Marquette to breathe.

Seton Hall was one of the other teams in that 4-1 tie when St. John's and Marquette tangled earlier this season, and SHU has gone the opposite way from the Red Storm.  The win over Marquette was the third in an eight game winning streak for the Pirates which was only broken in their last outing in a trip to Creighton.  MU will catch a slight bit of a break, as Seton Hall will be in Chicago on Friday night to attempt to force their way into first place in a game against DePaul, the current league leader.  Maybe Doug Bruno and the Blue Demons will do Marquette a favor and run the Pirates through a grueling three overtimes just 40 hours before they come to Milwaukee.

If you thought that defending St. John's wasn't going to be a picnic for Marquette, then watch out for Seton Hall.  They have the fourth, fifth, and sixth best scorers in the Big East in Tabatha Richardson-Smith (17.5 ppg), Ka-Deidre Simmons (17.3), and Daisha Simmons (17.0).  All three of them eclipsed 16 points against Marquette the first time around, led by 24 from Daisha Simmons, and Janee Johnson joined the party with 15 points, too.  Ka-Deidre Simmons leads the Big East in assists on top of all of this, dishing out 5.5 helpers per game.