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

The Golden Eagles take to the road in search of their second straight Big East win.

I love that blue blob so goddamn much.
I love that blue blob so goddamn much.
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

I can not say this enough: You need to make time in your schedule to see Allazia Blockton play basketball.

The Milwaukee native has been named Big East Freshman of the Week FIVE times this season already, and we're not even to the midpoint of the league schedule.  Blockton is almost guaranteed to win the year end version of that award, and she seems headed to all-Big East First Team honors, too.  She's the only player in the Big East in the top five in points and rebounds, coming in second in the former and fourth in the latter.

What's going to make things easier for Blockton to get those all-league honors will be team wins.  Marquette is 1-4 in league play after beating Georgetown in their most recent contest.  I know, I know, you're saying, "YO, 1-4 isn't very good."  Well, Marquette's still rolling out there with eight freshmen, and they opened conference play by playing the three best teams in the league on the road.  Things, in this case losses, happen.  Their next four games, including tonight's in Cincinnati, are all very winnable for the Golden Eagles, and it'd be a big boost for the youngest team in Division 1 to snatch up these road wins this weekend.

Big East Game #6: At Xavier (13-3, 4-1 Big East)

When: Friday, January 15, 2016, at 6pm Central
Where: Cintas Center in Cincinnati, OH
Audio/Visual: The Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go has the streaming broadcast, plus there's live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

I didn't think very much of the Musketeers when league play started.  Sure, they only had two losses, but they hadn't played anyone of note.  Their best win was at home against Cincinnati, which was still only just barely a top 150 win at the time.  But now they're 4-1 and sharing first place in the league.  I didn't see that coming.

Granted, they haven't been tested by the three favorites in the league yet.  But in order to be successful, you have to grab the wins that are on your schedule in the order that they're scheduled, and that's what Xavier has done so far in league play.  Their lone loss came last weekend when they got blasted by Creighton out in Omaha, 74-47.  The Musketeers had their worst shooting night of the season in that one, knocking down just 29% of their shots.  While that was a deflating loss after winning seven straight coming in, Xavier bounced back by hopping on a plane and dropping Providence less than 48 hours later.

Briana Glover scored a career best 27 points in that game against the Friars, but even with that outing, she's still not the team leader in scoring this season.  That honor belongs to Raeshaun Gaffney, who bounced up from third place on the team since league play started.  Gaffney's averaging 12.3 ppg, just seven tenths of a point more than Glover.  Xavier is a good rebounding team, getting to nearly +5 in a game by game differential.  However, no one really stands out on the team.  Six Musketeers average at least four rebounds per game, but no one manages to crack the mythical five rebound barrier.

They rebound as a team and they share the ball as a team, too.  Six players have at least 20 assists this season and eight average at least one assist per game.  It's not a style of ball that's going to get you a lot of people on the all-conference teams at the end of the season, but it is one that can help you win since the other team has no idea who to really prepare for on defense.

Big East Game #7: At Butler (7-9, 2-3 Big East)

When: Sunday, January 17, 2016, at 1pm Central
Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN
Audio/Visual: The Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go has the streaming broadcast, plus there's live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

Only 10 players on the roster.  Only nine of them play.  Only four have played in all 16 games.  Two seniors, two sophomores, no juniors.  I'm sure this hasn't been fun for head coach Kurt Godlevske.

I can't even say "well, at least they're healthy now."  Sure, Nicole Orr has played in Butler's last eight games after only seeing action in two of the first eight games of the season.  Sure, Taylor Buford has gotten back into the lineup for the last eight contests after missing the first eight.  But Michelle Weaver missed both games in last weekend's trips to Providence and Creighton after starting the first 14 games of the year.

The good news is that Tori Schickel is still leading the Big East in rebounding.  The freshman from Evansville, IN, averages 9.3 rebounds per game, and she's second on the team in scoring to Blaire Langlois.  Schickel, a 6'1" forward tosses in 13.1 poings per game, while Langlois is shaking nets to the tune of 13.6 per contest.  They're the only two double-digit scorers on the team.  Langlois is also tops on the team in assists, dishing 3.1 helpers per game, but that doesn't even rank in the top 10 in the league.  This is the kind of thing that happens when you're the worst shooting team in the Big East, hitting shots at a meager 39% clip on the season.