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Marquette Women's Basketball Weekend Preview: at Xavier & at Butler

The Golden Eagles head out on on the road looking for their first road win of the season and a second straight win for the second time this year.

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Ok!  Marquette snapped a 10 game losing streak to open Big East play back on Sunday in the middle of that terrible snowstorm that pounded Milwaukee all day long.  If you were brave enough to forge your way through the storm to the game, you got to see head coach Carolyn Kieger pick up the first Big East win of her career, although the last minute of the game took a full 15 minutes to play because of Georgetown fouling to extend the game and Marquette inexplicably fouling while up by more than 3 points.

So now, the Golden Eagles head out to Ohio and Indiana this weekend, looking to win two straight games for just the second time this season.  Their only winning streak of the season came back in December when MU swung a win against Vanderbilt in the Milwaukee Public Schools Day game and followed that up with a win over Western Illinois to close out the non-conference schedule.  That was the last two games before Big East play started, so while Marquette headed into Big East play with a bit of a head of steam, that steam has evaporated over the last five weeks.  Here, in Cincinnati, and then in Indianapolis, Marquette gets a chance to get some of that steam back.

Big East Game #12: at Xavier (13-9, 5-6)

When: Friday, February 6, 2015, at 6pm Central
Where: Cintas Center in Cincinnati, OH
Audio/Visual: Free streaming video from The X, plus live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

The Musketeers were the first Big East game on the schedule for the Golden Eagles this season.  Their 74-71 win at the Al McGuire Center evened Xavier's league record at 1-1 at that point, and they've essentially been splitting their games since then.

They won their next two after leaving Milwaukee, then lost two.  That was followed up with a win at home against Georgetown, then three straight losses.  That streak was snapped in their most recent contest, when they defeated Providence in Rhode Island, 68-57.

In the first meeting between these two squads, Xavier built a 12 point lead in the first half thanks to some hot shooting.  As a team, the Musketeers shot 61% from the field, although only 3-8 from long range.  Marquette was able to wipe out that lead with the help of 10 forced turnovers in the first 13 minutes of the second half, and the game was tied at 62 with 3:40 to play.  The Musketeers were able to gut out a win from there, though, thanks to a late Arlesia Morse shot that rimmed out and a pair of even later free throws from Raeshaun Gaffney.

Briana Glover, who scored 14 points against MU the first time around, leads Xavier in scoring with 11.1 points per game, while Gaffney is right behind her at 10.3 per contest.  Five Musketeers average three or more rebounds per game, led by 5.7 per game from Leah Schaefer.  No one averages at least three assists for XU, but there are three players who do dish out at least two helpers per game.

Big East Game #13: at Butler (12-10, 8-3)

When: Sunday, February 8, 2015, at 11am Central
Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN
Audio/Visual: The Big East Digital Network has the broadcast, plus live stats over here.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

Well, how about them Bulldogs?  Their 76-67 win in Milwaukee was just one of the eight wins that Butler picked up in January as they went undefeated through the first month of 2015.  That string was broken in their first game of February when they fell at Creighton, 62-55.  Butler could present an interesting quandry to the NCAA selection committee if they could manage to close out the season by taking the four wins against the teams below them in the standings and going 2-1 against Seton Hall, St. John's, and DePaul.  But they're going to have to go through Marquette to get there, of course.

Like was the case with Xavier, Marquette and Butler had a fairly tightly competed game the first time around in Milwaukee.  Butler's lead was just four points with five minutes to play, and even as it approached the two minute march, Tia Elbert had made the lead 68-63 after a steal and a layup.  Marquette isn't a team that can shoot themselves back into a game, though, and the Bulldogs came away from the McGuire Center with a win back on January 11th.

Loryn Goodwin, Ijeoma Uchendu, and Blaire Langlois provide a nice core for the Bulldogs.  Goodwin and Uchendu both average in double digits in points, and Langlois is just one-tenth of a point per game short of that plateau.  Uchendu's 9.6 rebounds per game mark her as the second best rebounder in the Big East.  Marquette's defense will have to do a better job keeping track of Langlois and Sydney Buck in this game.  The pair combined for all 15 of Butler's three point attempts in the first meeting, but thankfully for our favorite team, they only connected on five of their tries.