After dueling double digit scoring runs by both teams, Marquette and Creighton settled into one of the most action packed women's games that MU has played this season, but the Golden Eagles never gave up and came away with the 79-72 win. The win gives head coach Carolyn Kieger her first three game winning streak since taking the reigns at the start of last season. It also moves Marquette to nine wins on the season and four wins in league play, both of which are matches for MU's end of season totals a year ago.
Isn't it fun to watch a team come together right before your eyes? Since opening the season 0-4, Kieger has guided her roster with eight freshmen and just two returning players to a record of 9-7. As they make the turn to the second trip through the Big East, Marquette is 4-5 in conference action. That's a vast improvement over the 0-10 start that they got off to a year ago.
For a bit in the first quarter, it looked like Marquette was fixing to run away with this game much like they did Friday's contest against Providence. After Creighton recorded the first two buckets of the game, Marquette reeled off the next 18 points to take an 18-5 lead with just under four minutes to play in the first quarter. While it was exciting to watch, what happened next was less exciting, as Creighton popped off a 9-2 run to end the quarter to make it a six point game and then followed that up with the first nine points of the second quarter to take a 23-20 lead.
Amani Wilborn would answer with a three of her own for Marquette, but the Jays would retake the lead and hold it through the midway point of the third quarter. That's when things got fun. I can say "fun" because once MU took a 47-45 lead on a putback by Erika Davenport, officially the Golden Eagles never gave up the lead again. We saw three ties after that, but Creighton never took the lead again. It was a thriller of a finish, though, as Marquette wasn't able to take a lead bigger than four points until the final minute of the game, and even then, Lauren Works converted an and-1 with 31 seconds to play on an inexplicable foul by Allazia Blockton to make it just a three point game. Blockton would redeem herself by converting all four of her free throws down the stretch to ice the game for Marquette.
Blockton continued her amazing run to the Big East's Freshman of the Year award by posting a quad nickel: 21 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five steals. She also found time to chip in a blocked shot, too. With her 21 points in the game, Blockton cut the space between her and Angel Robinson's freshman scoring record down to a mere 19 points. I should point out to you at this juncture that Marquette has nine Big East games remaining and one guaranteed Big East tournament game remaining on their schedule this season.
Blockton wasn't alone in the great performances department. Natisha Hiedeman assembled a 17/7/3 game with two steals, and Amani Wilborn posted a 13/3/4 outing, although her 5-for-14 shooting wasn't the world's greatest effort. Erika Davenport was destroying Creighton early, scoring nine of her 16 points in the first 5:07 of the game.
Creighton was led by 18 points from MC McGrory. The most impressive thing of the day for Marquette was ultimately their defense. Coming into the weekend, the Jays were the best three point shooting team in the Big East, canning 36% of their attempts. MU held CU to just 31% from deep in this game, including just 4-for-16 in the second half. The best job was on CU's leading scorer, Audrey Faber, as the Golden Eagles hassled her into a 2-for-13 effort overall and held Faber to just one made triple on eight attempts.
Up Next: Allazia Blockton is going to get a chance to break the freshman scoring record at home. The Golden Eagles make the turn into the second half of the league slate next weekend by hosting St. John's (16-4, 7-2 Big East) on Friday night and Seton Hall (16-4, 6-3 Big East) on Sunday afternoon.