Backed by a game high 24 points from Big East Player of the Year candidate Allazia Blockton, Marquette bounced back from an early fourth quarter deficit to beat Wisconsin, 81-75, on Sunday afternoon in Madison.
The Golden Eagles overcame a better shooting night by the Badgers with defense and rebounding. Wisconsin shot 49% overall and 43% from the arc against 42% and 32% for Marquette. Meanwhile, the Badgers were forced into turning the ball over on more than 23% of their possessions, and MU allowed UW to get to just 13% of their missed shots. Marquette’s missed shots didn’t mean all that much either, as the Golden Eagles grabbed up 33% of their missed shots, led by three offensive rebounds by Blockton and four from Erika Davenport. Unsurprisingly, both of those women posted double-doubles for Marquette, with Blockton tallying 24 & 10 along with two assists and a steal and Davenport getting 13 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, and a steal.
Marquette got out to a 15-8 lead with 2:34 left in the first quarter, but Wisconsin rallied to knot it at 17 on a Kendra Van Leeuwen jumper early in the second quarter. MU answered that tie game with a 7-0 run capped by a Blockton layup on their way to extending the lead out to 10 points late in the quarter and nine at the half.
A Danielle King bucket made it 11 on the first possession of the second half, but the rest of the third frame was almost all Badgers. They outscored MU over the next 9:40 by a 25-13 margin, finally taking a one point lead on a layup from Cayla McMorris. She tacked on two free throws at the 9:28 mark of the fourth quarter to make it a three point game, and it seemed like we might have a game down the stretch.
That’s when Marquette kicked off a 15-0 run. Amani Wilborn got it started with her only bucket of the game, and a layup by Natisha Hiedeman made it a 12 point game with 7:04 left to play. Things kept tilting back and forth: Wisconsin cut the lead to just five points on a pair of freebies from McMorris; Marquette jammed it back to 12 with a 7-0 run made mostly of free throws, Wisconsin made one last gasp with a 6-0 to make it 78-72 favoring the Golden Eagles with 1:27 remaining.
Things weren’t quite written in stone there, especially as Marquette missed three straight free throws with less than a minute left. Fortunately, they were shooting the third miss because Hiedeman grabbed the offensive rebound on the second one. Hiedeman hit the back end of her pair, and Blockton drained a pair with 18 seconds left to put the game on ice.
Up Next: Just like the men’s team, the women will take the rest of the week off for finals. They’ll return to the court on Sunday afternoon when they host UW-Milwaukee. The Panthers are 7-2 on the season with their own win over the Badgers.