Marquette had one last chance to pick up a Big East win on Sunday afternoon in Chicago, but it didn't work out in their favor. Both teams had four players score in double digits, but DePaul's Megan Podkowa finished with a game high 24, and DePaul came away with the 99-82 victory.
With the loss, Marquette finishes the regular season at 8-21 with a Big East record of 4-14. That slots the Golden Eagles alone in 8th place for the season. This all sounds like a bit of a bummer, but there is this: Marquette went 4-5 in their final nine games after losing to every single other Big East team on their first pass through the league. In fact, they opened the second time around with a loss, so they're 4-4 in their last eight, which has to be seen as a sign of improvement under first year head coach Carolyn Kieger.
Things didn't start out well for Marquette, as play opened with Arlesia Morse fouling Chanise Jenkins on a three point attempt just six seconds into the game. In general, the first half went about that well, as DePaul opened up an 11-3 lead in the first eight minutes. That lead would grow to as high as 13 on a steal and layup combo from Jenkins with 3:04 left before intermission, but the Golden Eagles would respond to that with a 12-2 run to close the half and cut the lead to just 3 points at the break. The biggest impact was a pair of triples from McKayla Yentz to power that run.
Podkowa would open the scoring in the second half and DePaul slowly ground their way to a double digit lead. It hit 14 with 12:49 left, but Marquette roared to life again. Three three-pointers - two from Arlesia Morse and one from Cristina Bigica - and the Golden Eagles had assembled a 13-2 run over the next 2:30, and suddenly, the lead was only 3 points. DePaul answered with their own 13-2 run, though, and then it was a 14 point game again, but now with just 7:32 remaining. The Golden Eagles didn't have the gas from there, and the game stayed out of their reach for the remainder.
MU got 19 points from Kenisha Bell to lead the way, and the freshman also added six rebounds and four assists. Bigica was the surprise performer of the game, canning all four of her three point attempts in the game en route to a 17 point, five rebound outing.
Up Next: It's time for the Big East tournament! As the #8 seed, Marquette gets matched up with the #9 seed as part of the opening day doubleheader. That'll be the Providence Friars, who finished the regular season with a record of 6-23 and 3-15 in league games. MU and PC split the season series between the two squads, with each team winning on the road. How that applies to playing a game in Chicago, we'll have to wait and see.