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Marquette Women's Basketball Previews: at Georgetown & at Villanova

The Golden Eagles are 11-11 with 7 regular season games to play. Let's dream a bit, shall we?

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Your Marquette Golden Eagles are 11-11 on the season and 6-5 in in league play, thanks to a five game winning streak.  The longest winning streak since November of 2010 has Marquette riding high, and if you take a look down the road for the final seven games, you have to start wondering about the postseason potential of the team.

First, let's start with looking at what they've done so far this season.  Marquette is #77 in the current RPI.  They're 2-6 against the RPI top 50, which sounds not great.  The good news is that they've played eight of those games and that the two wins came in the most recent games: at home against St. John's and Seton Hall.  They have a 4-8 record against the RPI top 100, and their worst loss on the season is to #158 Northern Kentucky.  If you were the forgiving type, you'd notice that was 1) on the road and 2) in the first four games of the season and realize that Marquette is much better now than they were in November.

Admittedly, it's not the world's strongest profile.  It's also not destined to get all that much better.  Marquette has just three top 100 games left to play, and only one of them is a top 50 game.  The other two are this weekend on the road against Villanova and Georgetown.  If we look at ESPN's most recent bracketology, we see that Seton Hall is a 9 seed and St. John's is a 10 seed, as well as one of the last four teams in the field.  Villanova is in the Next Four Out department.

Let's just say, for kicks, that Marquette runs the table.  It's not unreasonable, as MU already has wins against three of the teams they'll see and lost by seven or fewer against the other three. That would get them to 18-11 and riding a 12 game winning streak heading to the Big East tournament, and they'll move to 3-6 against the top 50 and 7-8 against the top 100.  That at least has to make the NCAA selection committee talk about them in the meetings, right?  Even going a game or two the other way would at least get the attention of the WNIT.  Last year, Villanova got invited to the WNIT with a 19-13 record.

Obviously, there's a lot of things in motion here.  But Marquette is playing some really great basketball right now, and they can only get better.  Given that head coach Carolyn Kieger was essentially starting the program over from scratch this season, getting to .500 at the end of the campaign might be one hell of an accomplishment.  Think about this, though: If the Golden Eagles can fight their way into an NCAA or WNIT berth, that's an extra week.... or more... of practice for this incredibly young team.  The longer they can play, the more it's going to pay off down the road.

Allazia Blockton Watch: In Marquette's most triumphant win over Seton Hall on Sunday, Allazia Blockton became the first Marquette freshman to ever score 400 points, surpassing Angel Robinson's rookie record of 399 points.  She sits on 416 points right now, and every bucket just keeps on boosting that record further and further.

She's not done doing damage to the record books, though.  Blockton is 112 points away from the Big East record for points by a freshman.  Her next field goal will tie Marquette's record for field goals made by a freshman, set by Tammy Shain in 1988-89.  With three more made free throws, Blockton will tie her head coach for the second most FTM by a Marquette freshman, and her fourth made FT will tie Angel Robinson's freshman record of 99.

Natisha Hiedeman Watch: Yeah, that's right, we have to expand the stat watch segment.  Hiedeman has already surpassed Shari Smith (1995-96) for the third most made three pointers by a Marquette freshman, as she currently sits on 46 triples on the season.  With an average of slightly more than two makes per game, Hiedeman is on pace to tie Kristi Johnson (1998-99) for the second most long balls by a freshman by the end of the weekend.  If Hiedeman catches fire, it's not unreasonable to think that she could tie Arlesia Morse's record of 55 made threes by a freshman by Sunday night.

McKayla Yentz Watch: STILL GOING.  Yentz's next made three pointer will tie her for the third most by a junior with Kelly Schwerman (2003-04) at 56.  She's easily on record to roll past Lori Goerlitz's junior season record of 68.

Big East Game #12: at Georgetown (12-9, 5-6 Big East)

When: Friday, February 5, 2016, at 6pm Central
Where: McDonough Arena in Washington, D.C.
Audio/Visual: The Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go has the broadcast, plus there's live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

When these two teams first met in Milwaukee this season, it turned into the second of four straight losses for the Hoyas.  They had already lost to DePaul earlier in that weekend, and they turned around and dropped contests at home to Seton Hall and St. John's the next weekend.  Since then, though, GU has won three straight.  They clipped Villanova in a sub-60 point affair out on the Main Line, and then took two wins in the terrible Providence/Creighton road trip.

While it's been a whole bunch of up and down and up and down for the Hoyas this season, I'm sure they're pleased with the way the season is going.  After all, last year, Georgetown was 4-27 overall and just 2-16 in Big East action.  Georgetown has had a pretty rough go of it over the last two seasons (they're on their third coach since the start of the 2013-14 school year), but Natasha Adair appears to have things moving in a positive manner.

Dionna White is Allazia Blockton's biggest competition for Big East Freshman of the Year.  White has been named Freshman of the Week four times, compared to six for Blockton, but White is definitely deserving.  She's leading Georgetown in points (14.6 ppg), tied for the lead in rebounds (5.9 rpg), and leads in assists (3.8 apg) and steals (2.1 spg), too.  White is top 10 in the Big East in both points and rebounds, and she's second in steals.  Dorothy Adomako is second on the team in scoring at 14 points per game, and she's actually tied with White for the team lead in rebounding.

Big East Game #13: at Villanova (14-8, 7-4 Big East)

When: Sunday, February 7, 2016, at 12pm Central
Where: The Pavilion in Villanova, PA
Audio/Visual: The Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go has the broadcast, plus there's live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

From an old school perspective, this game will be a battle of who blinks first.  Villanova will send the Big East's best scoring defense (56.8 ppg) into battle against Marquette, the second best scoring team (78.0 ppg).  Things tilted in Marquette's favor as far as the number of points scored in the first meeting this season between the two squads, but Villanova came away with the 82-75 win at the McGuire Center.

That win tipped VU back into the plus side of the ledger in terms of the Big East standings, moving them to 3-2 after alternating wins and losses in the first two weekends of the league schedule.  It also kicked off a four game winning streak, where Nova asserted themselves as a contender for the league title.  They followed up the win against MU by defeating DePaul, Seton Hall, and St. John's in rapid fashion.  That had them at 6-2 in league action, but they went back to alternating wins and losses in their last four contests.  Only three of those games were Big East contests, though, as Villanova got a 20 point home win over Penn tucked into their "bye" week after losing to Georgetown.

Caroline Coyer continues to be the most important player on the Nova roster.  She's leading the team in scoring at 14.4 per game, which has her in the top 10 in the league.  She leads the Wildcats in overall field goal attempts and three point attempts, although she's not the best long range sniper on the squad.  That honor belongs to Adrianna Hahn, who cans long balls at a 38% clip.  Coyer ranks third on the team in rebounding, but 5.4 boards per game is nothing to sneeze at, either.  Coyer leads the team in assists with 108 on the season, more than twice as many as the next best helper on the team.