Marquette slowly built a lead through the first 22 minutes against Butler on Friday night, and then did just enough against a hot shooting Bulldogs squad to hold on to win, 76-69. The win moves Marquette to 12-13 on the season and 7-7 in league play with four games to play before the Big East tournament.
The Golden Eagles jumped out to a 15-3 lead on the Bulldogs thanks to some fancy three point shooting from Allazia Blockton and Natisha Hiedeman. They cooled way down from there, finishing the first half shooting an effective field goal percentage of just 42.3%. Thankfully, they were rebounding like crazy, racking up eight offensive rebounds in the opening 20 minutes, and Butler was actually shooting worse than Marquette at 38.3%. That's how Marquette was up 35-24 at the break, and that lead became 41-24 when MU popped off the first six points of the second half.
That 17 point margin was the biggest lead of the night for the Golden Eagles, and it went away fast. Butler went on a 14-1 run over the next four minutes, and suddenly we had ourselves a four point game. Marquette bounced back with a 10-2 run of their own with eight of the points coming from Blockton. Marquette actually pushed the lead back to 15 early in the fourth quarter, but Butler was white hot in the second half, shooting 60% eFG%. That was largely due to Blaire Langlois going 5-9 on threes on the way to finishing 7-14 with a game high 24 points, but that's not what made the game close in the closing moments. That was due to Brittany Ward, who scored half of her 14 points after MU went up 15 in the fourth quarter. Her final bucket came with 19 seconds left and cut the lead to just three points. Butler fouled to extend the game, but Danielle King iced four straight free throws to preserve the win for Marquette.
We all know that Allazia Blockton has the Marquette freshman scoring record, and that's up to 466 points after this game. Blockton was joined in the history books in this game by Natisha Hiedeman, who broke two freshman records. Hiedeman is now MU's freshman leader in both three pointers made and three pointers attempted after knocking down the records that were held by Arlesia Morse. Blockton continues her rise to the Big East's freshman scoring record, as she's now 62 points away after her team high 21 in this game.
Up Next: Marquette hosts Xavier on Sunday afternoon. That game starts at 1:30pm Central time, and you can catch it on FS2 if you can't make it out to the McGuire Center. If you can make it in person, tickets are just $2 if you wear pink, as it will be MU's yearly Play 4 Kay game. The Musketeers (17-7, 8-5 Big East) are coming off a 30 point loss to DePaul on Friday night.