Backed by 24 points from Natisha Hiedeman and 23 points from McKayla Yentz, Marquette parried an attack from the Seton Hall Pirates on Tuesday night and held on for an 83-77 victory. MU is now 4-2 in Big East play and 13-4 overall.
This victory should have been over much earlier than the final horn. The Golden Eagles went on an 18-0 run bridging the very end of the first quarter into the second to take a 35-14 lead and eventually extended that into a 60-37 lead with 5:56 left in the third quarter. All you have to do is just play them even for 15:56 and you coast to victory.
Nope, not on this night. The Pirates assembled a 30-10 run capped off by a three point play from Kaela Hilaire to slash Marquette’s lead to just three points at 70-67 with 5:08 to play. Thankfully, Marquette answered this with a 7-2 burst powered by two monster triples from Yentz to take control of the game back. That made it an eight point game with 2:20 to play, and gave Marquette enough space to operate. Seton Hall would wrench the lead down to just four points twice, first on a trey from Claire Lundberg, then on a pair of freebies from LaTecia Smith, but both times, Marquette answered with two free throws of their own. First it was Hiedeman with 50 seconds remaining, then Davenport with 12 seconds left to make sure that the Pirates had nothing left in their arsenal.
Three point shooting was the story of the day in South Orange. The Golden Eagles went 14-for-33 (42%) from long range, but most of it was a pair of 6-of-11 outings from Yentz and Hiedeman. As you can guess, yes, the rest of the team was merely 2-for-11. That’s not great, but team wide, that’s a great number. On the other side of the court, Seton Hall did damage from behind the arc as well. Unfortunately for head coach Tony Bozzella, SHU was just 8-of-19, and while that 42% is pretty great, they fell way short of the sheer number of points that Marquette was able to generate on long range shots.
Yentz and Hiedeman had the flashy point totals to lead the way, but Carolyn Kieger got contributions from elsewhere on the roster. Amani Wilborn may have only made one of her eight shots, but she grabbed seven rebounds and dished a game high 10 assists. Allazia Blockton had a quiet scoring day, finishing with just 10 points. The Big East Player of the Year candidate chipped in five rebounds and three assists in 23 foul hampered minutes while her sharpshooting teammates took over.
Seton Hall was led by 18 points from Claire Lundberg, who generated all of her scoring on six long range connections on just seven attempts. Four different Pirates scored in double figures, but the good news is that Lubirdia Gordon, SHU’s biggest inside threat, had just 12 points and six rebounds. Marquette has struggled defending the interior against Creighton and St. John’s, but that wasn’t really a problem for them on this night.
Up Next: Back to the McGuire Center we go for the final two pack of games in the first run through the league. Marquette will host Xavier (10-6, 2-3 Big East) on Friday night with the Musketeers coming off an overtime home loss to Butler on Sunday.