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Marquette Women’s Basketball Preview: vs UW-Milwaukee

The Golden Eagles wrap up their trip through their in-state rivals by hosting the cross-town Panthers.

NCAA Round One: Oklahoma University Sooners v University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers
I’d use a more recent mascot picture, but UWM doesn’t have any solo mascot pictures on their Facebook page.
Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The next month of Marquette women’s basketball is going to be a non-stop blast of games.

Starting with Sunday’s game against Milwaukee, the Golden Eagles will play 10 games between December 18th and January 15th. Four of them will come on the road, and six of them will be at the McGuire Center. Only the first two will be non-conference games, and the rest will be Big East games. If you’re scoring along at home: Yes, Marquette will play eight of their 18 conference games between now and when spring semester classes start. The ninth game, on the road against DePaul, will come the Saturday after classes start.

For comparison purposes: the men’s team will only play six conference games before the beginning of the spring semester, and the sixth one is the day before classes start. In case you were wondering: both teams start league play on the same day.

It’s probably going to suck out loud really badly for Marquette. They’re probably going to take at least one loss that they shouldn’t. With that in mind, it’s important for MU’s postseason outlook for the Golden Eagles to snag wins in their final two non-conference games. Nothing against Milwaukee or New Mexico, but the fact of the matter is that they are both below #140 in the NCAA’s RPI rankings. Can’t take an L there, not with MU hovering below #50 and on the hunt for an NCAA tournament berth.

Two small statistical notes: Allazia Blockton is leading the Big East in scoring by more than two full points per game. Erika Davenport is second in the Big East in rebounding by half a rebound per game.

Game #10: vs UW-Milwaukee (8-2)

When: Sunday, December 18, 2016, at 3pm CT
Where: McGuire Center
Audio/Visual: GoMarquette.com has the free video stream & live stats.
Special Promotion: Christmas at the Al! The Golden Eagle will be wearing his Santa suit & handing out candy canes, and admission is buy-1, get-1 free!
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

Marquette has a 27-19 advantage in the all-time series against UW-Milwaukee. However, it’s been a series that’s had two noticeable directions. MU has won 20 of the last 22 meetings, including each of the last four.

Stick with me for a minute here: Last year, Milwaukee went 19-13 overall with a 12-6 record in the Horizon League. That got them a second place finish in their conference, and after getting smashed by 32 in the Horizon League title game, they qualified for the WNIT. The Panthers lost to Minnesota in the first round, but hey, it was their best season in 10 years, so who’s really complaining?

Why do I bring all of this up? Well, because Marquette beat the Panthers in the Klotsche Center last season, 101-81. The Golden Eagles jumped on UWM, 25-8, in the first quarter, and just pushed the lead out from there. It was Milwaukee’s best season in a decade, and a freshman heavy Marquette team just buried them into the earth behind a 30 point night from Natisha Hiedeman.

Big things are expected from the Panthers again this season, who were picked to finish third in the Horizon League. Their only losses this season came in a track meet against Northern Illinois (114-104 final), and a squeaking at home against Northwestern. The Wildcats got the 65-63 win after losing an eight point lead with 67 seconds left. UWM managed to tie the game up, but gave up a pair of free throws with eight seconds and couldn’t get two last second tying attempts to fall.

Steph Kostowicz was named to the preseason all-Horizon League First Team, and she’s living up to the hype. Kostowicz is leading UWM in scoring at 17.4 points per game, as well as rebounding at 9.6 per game. The 6’2” junior had a double-double against Marquette last year, and she’ll obviously be a threat to do that again this season. UWM has three players who are attempting at least one three-point attempt per game and shooting better than 33%. However, the Panthers’ most likely shooters, Alexis Lindstrom and Sierra Ford-Washington, are both shooting under that efficiency break-even point at 31% and 27% respectively.