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Marquette Women’s Basketball Preview: The Pacific Tiger Turkey Tip-Off

The Golden Eagles take their 4-0 record to Stockton, CA, with an eye on a national ranking come Monday.

NCAA Basketball: USA TODAY Sports-Archive Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

That noise you hear is Carolyn Kieger’s trap game siren.

Marquette is coming off back to back wins over ranked opponents. One was a double digit defeat of then-#18 Arizona State at home, the other was a narrow road W over #22 Oregon State. The Golden Eagles are already getting votes in the Associated Press top 25 poll, and that was before knocking off the Beavers. They will almost assuredly be ranked come Monday afternoon......

....... as long as they come away from Stockton, California, with two victories.

I’m not kidding about that, either. Ranked teams don’t lose to either of the two squads that Marquette’s going to play on Friday and Saturday. All due respect to those teams, their coaches, and their players, but if you want to be ranked, then you can’t lose to middle to back of the pack teams in the West Coast Conference. Sorry/not sorry to the WCC, but it’s true.

Natisha Hiedeman has been a white hot greasefire of pure entertainment to this point of the season. The sophomore from Green Bay is averaging 16 points, four rebounds, and nearly four assists per game while shooting 41% from three point range. She was particularly destructive against ASU and OSU, averaging 23.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and five assists while shooting a blistering 59% on long range bombs. Erika Davenport has been great for Marquette as well, averaging a double-double (17/10) by posting a double-double in every single game this season.

I didn’t even mention the 20/6/5/1 that Allazia Blockton has quietly - QUIETLY - assembled this season.

Game #5: vs Santa Clara (1-2)

When: Friday, November 25, 2016, at 6pm CT
Where: Spanos Center in Stockton, CA
Audio/Visual: It appears that TheW.tv will be providing a free video stream, plus there’s live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

This will be the first ever meeting between Marquette and Santa Clara.

After opening their season with a narrow victory at home over Idaho State, the Broncos have dropped their last two contests, both on the road. California pulled away from SCU in the second half for a 17 point win, while San Jose State needed a big fourth quarter to hand Santa Clara an 11 point loss this past Sunday.

I don’t know if this is representative of what the Broncos can be this season, but they were picked to finish fifth in the West Coast Conference this season after making it to the WNIT for their first postseason appearance in 10 years last season. On top of that, Santa Clara placed two players on the 10 player preseason all-WCC team, so it’s kind of funny that they fell that far down the team ranking list.

Lori Parkinson and Marie Bertholdt are the two all-WCC honorees, but they’re not carrying the load for the Broncos in the early going. They have five players averaging in double digits right now, with Morgan McGwire leading the way at 14.0 per game. Bertholdt ranks third at 12.0 per game, while Parkinson is the fifth and final in double digits at 10.3/game. McGwire, Bertholdt, and Parkinson are all averaging seven or more rebounds per game, which will present Marquette with a very interesting challenge.

While they appear to be a good rebounding team, the Broncos are not a good three point shooting team. After shooting just 28.5% from long range last season, Santa Clara is out to a 28% start this year. Emily Wolph has shown an ability to knock shots down at 33%, and she averages five attempts per game. Taylor Berry averages less than three attempts per game, but she’s hitting on 36%. Other than that, though, feel free to let them shoot it until they put two down.

Game #6: at Pacific (1-2)

When: Saturday, November 26, 2016, at 5:30pm CT
Where: Spanos Center in Stockton, CA
Audio/Visual: It appears that TheW.tv will have a free video stream, but Pacific’s website only says live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

Marquette holds a 1-0 series lead against Pacific. The first game between the two programs came back in 1999, when MU prevailed 86-81 as a part of an event hosted by Oregon State.

Remember how we talked about how maybe Santa Clara was a little low at 5th in the WCC preseason poll with two all-WCC players? Well, Pacific was picked to finish eighth.

Amazingly, they do have an all-league player in Desire Finnie, a junior guard from Berkeley, CA. I don’t mean “amazingly” just because the Tigers are picked to finish eighth, I mean “amazingly” because I don’t know if even head coach Bradley Davis thinks she’s that good. She’s starting, but averaging just 19 minutes per game right now, and yeah, she’s third on the team in scoring in limited time, but that’s about it.

GeAnna Luaulu-Summers is leading the team in scoring, rebounding, and assists, and she actually averages more assists (7.7) than rebounds (7.0). However, she did not play in their most recent game, so we’ll see if she’s available for this game against Marquette.

Pacific will try to claim that they’re 2-2 on the season, but one of those wins is over UC-Merced, and we’re not going to count 61 point victories over NAIA schools. They opened their regular season by getting stomped by #9 UCLA, which is fine, but they bounced back with a narrow win over that same San Jose State team that beat Santa Clara. They lost at home to UC-Davis in their most recent contest, and they’ll play Montana State on Friday before squaring off with MU.