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

You need to get to the McGuire Center this weekend if you want to see history happen in front of you.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Allazia Blockton is breaking the freshman scoring record this weekend.

It's going to happen.

Blockton is currently 19 points behind Angel Robinson's freshman season record of 399 points, and wouldn't you know, she averages exactly 19 points a game this season.  Maybe, just maybe, she has a slow day on Friday night.  That means she's definitely getting to the magical 400 point mark during Sunday's game.  It's going to happen, and you need to get your butt down to the Al to see it happen.

There's only one person that I feel bad for as Blockton approaches the rookie scoring record, and that's her teammate, Natisha Hiedeman.  In the process of double and triple and quadruple checking my math on Blockton, I ran a projection on Hiedeman's numbers for Marquette's remaining nine conference games and one Big East tournament game.  If Hiedeman stays on her scoring average, she's going to end up with...... 426 points.  Yep, MU has *two* players that are on track to snap the all time freshman scoring record, and thus, I can't help but feel slightly bad for Hiedeman, who will be playing Buzz Aldrin to Blockton's Neil Armstrong.

As for the team, well, things are going quite well for head coach Carolyn Kieger.  The team is riding a three game winning streak, the longest streak of Kieger's season and a half long tenure.  With their win over Creighton on Sunday, the Golden Eagles hit nine wins on the season and four wins in Big East action, thereby matching their win totals in both regards from a year ago.  In other words, the rest of the 2015-16 season is pretty much all "Hey, look how much better we are!" time for Kieger, and you can't really be in a better situation than that.

Marquette's at the midway point of the Big East schedule right now, with nine games behind them, one against each team in the league.  The next nine games will be return bouts with all nine opponents, wrapping up with the regular season finale against DePaul at home.  At 4-5 in conference games, Marquette's in a tie for sixth place with Creighton.  They're only one game back of fifth place Xavier, and two games back of Seton Hall and Villanova, who are tied for third place at 6-3.  I'm guessing the standings are going to be pretty volatile as we head down the stretch, so every win that Marquette can stack up is going to pay off for them big time when the conference tournament rolls around.

Big East Game #10: vs St. John's (16-4, 7-2 Big East)

When: Friday, January 29, 2016, at 7pm Central
Where: Al McGuire Center
Audio/Visual: The Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go has your broadcast, plus there's live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

St. John's won the first meeting between these two squads, but just barely.  Allazia Blockton knotted the game at 69 with 50 seconds to play and force overtime, but St. John's got nine points from Aaliyah Lewis in the extra session and prevailed, 81-77.  SJU currently sits in second place in the Big East, just one game back of 8-1 DePaul, so it's nice to see that Marquette might be *thisclose* to busting through to the upper tier of the league.

Since these two squads connected on January 5th, St. John's has gone 4-1, including knocking regional rival Seton Hall from the national rankings with a 71-69 home win.  That was a case of SJU holding on to win, as they had a seven point lead with 5:37 to play and Shakena Richardson missed a triple with three seconds left that would have likely won the game for the Pirates.  The loss in that five game stretch came on the road against Villanova.  The Red Storm rallied from down 10 with 12 minutes to play, and trailed by just three with the ball and 16 seconds on the clock.  Jade Walker missed a three (what a coincidence!) and the Wildcats escaped with the win.

Somehow, I've managed to get this far in talking about St. John's without mentioning Danaejah Grant or Aliyyah Handford.  That pair are ranked #3 and #4 in the Big East in scoring at 18.9 and 16.6 points per game respectively.  That's one hell of a one-two punch, one that can't be replicated or bettered by any other team in the league.  Grant also leads the team in rebounding at 6.3 per game, but that only ranks her 8th best in the Big East.  Lewis is the top passer on the team with 4.2 assists per game, fifth best in the league.

Big East Game #11: vs Seton Hall (16-4, 6-3 Big East)

When: Sunday, January 31, 2016, at 2pm Central
Where: Al McGuire Center
Audio/Visual: The Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go has your broadcast, plus there's live stats.
Special Promotions: We've got a craft fair on the concourse starting at 1pm, it's Kids Take Over The Al Day, and on top of ALL of that, Princesses Anna and Elsa from Disney On Ice will be doing a sing-along for the kids at halftime.  Kids in princess costumes will have a chance to win Disney On Ice tickets.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

While Marquette was neck-and-neck with the Red Storm in their trip to the NYC area, that wasn't the case against Seton Hall earlier this season.  In that game, it took Marquette over five minutes to score and by that time, Seton Hall was already up 15-0.  The lead was over 20 points midway through the second quarter and over 30 points for most of the second half.

Just your basic never was actually in it blow out.  It's arguably the worst loss of the season for the Golden Eagles, and I say arguably, because I'd argue that blowing a 10 point lead against the #7 team in the country is worse, even if that lead was early in the third quarter.

Seton Hall is 3-3 since that easy win over Marquette, and they've done it in streaks.  They lost their next three games after blowing MU out to DePaul, and then at St. John's and at Villanova, but they've bounced back with three straight wins: at Georgetown, and at home against Xavier and Butler.  The win over the Hoyas was a bit of a squeaker, but the two games last weekend were 15+ point margins in both games.

Tabatha Richardson-Smith is going out on a high note for the Pirates, as she currently leads the Big East in scoring at 19.5 points per game.  Fellow senior Tiffany Jones is tops in the league in rebounding, hauling in 8.7 missed shots per game.  Unfortunately, the Pirates don't have a lock on all three major offensive stats in the Big East, as Shakena Richardson (5.6 assists/game) is trailing DePaul's Jessica January for the assists title by just four-hundredths of a helper per game.  That's a well balanced team from a statistical approach, and I suppose it has to be.  Head coach Tony Bozzella has just seven players that have appeared in every game for him this season.  He's had the same five starters in all but one game this year, and it's probably worth mentioning that the two reserves that see regular time for him both average less than 15 minutes per game.