Marquette fought through some up and down periods on Wednesday night to pick up a 79-74 victory over Providence. MU is now 3-1 in league play and 12-3 overall.
The first quarter was kind of lousy for Marquette as it ended with both teams tied at 12 and without the Golden Eagles scoring in the final 2:53 of the frame. Things turned around quickly in the second period, as MU found themselves up by eight points at the midway point and up 15 at the half. It seemed like the Golden Eagles were running away from the Friars with a large dose of enthusiasm after closing the period on a 9-0 run capped by a layup from Amani Wilborn.
The lead extended to 16 early in the third quarter after Erika Davenport cashed in the freebie on a three-point play, but Providence came right on back. They cut the lead to just six points as Sarah Beal had an and-1 of her own for the Friars with 4:43 left to go, making it look like we might have a game on our hands.
And then Marquette went on a 10-2 run over the next 2:40, and the last bucket of the run, a three-pointer from Natisha Hiedeman, put the Golden Eagles up 14.
And then Providence cut the lead to just nine points at the end of the quarter and when Allegra Botteghi recorded the first basket of the fourth quarter, MU’s lead shrank to 58-51. The two teams traded buckets for a while before McKayla Yentz kicked off a 10-0 run with a four point play, and by the time that Davenport capped it off on a feed from Allazia Blockton, Marquette was up 72-55 with 4:31 to play.
The game was essentially out of reach for Providence at that point, and Carolyn Kieger started turning to her bench. She made her last substitution of the game, replacing Danielle King with Chelsey Gibson at the 2:16 mark while leading by 14. Providence went on a 13-4 run to close the game out, and thankfully a pair of free throws and a tip-in from Altia Anderson gave MU enough cushion to close this one out. The very end of the game was pretty weird, though. PC’s Yoyo Nogic drained a triple with 36 seconds left to make it a seven point game, and then Gibson turned it over and committed a foul with 19 seconds to play. Ny`Dajah Jackson canned the freebies for the Friars, making it a five point margin...... and then PC just let Marquette stand around with the ball to let the clock expire. I get not fouling while down seven with 30 seconds to play, but it seems weird to not foul down five with 19 seconds left, especially when women’s college basketball has the “time out and advance the ball past halfcourt” rule.
We had a bit of oddness to start the game out as well. Kieger inserted Sandra Dahling, Shantelle Valentine, and Amani Wilborn into the lineup, replacing McKayla Yentz, Natisha Hiedeman, and Allazia Blockton. It was the first time this year that all three women weren’t in the starting lineup. All three entered the game at the first quarter media timeout, and Kieger had this to say to the Marquette Wire after the game:
“We just needed to change it up and get a sense of urgency,” head coach Carolyn Kieger said. “Nothing wrong with a little friendly competition.”
Roughly translated: Losing by 20 to Creighton sucked out loud and we have to be better than that if we want to make the NCAA tournament. I’m not sure why the memo was directed to those three, but not to Danielle King and Erika Davenport, but it is what it is.
Kieger told the Wire this, as well:
“I was much more pleased with our effort tonight and our focus,” Kieger said. “It was a great bounce-back win.”
“We had some real conversations the past few days,” Kieger said. “We watched a lot of film and we tried to fix what we need to — just be great teammates and play for the name on the front of the jersey.”
Blockton finished with a team high 18 points off the bench, and Davenport posted her ninth double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Providence had a pair of 20 point scorers in Sarah Beal (24) and Yoyo Nogic (21), but no one else scored more than eight points for the Friars.
How about some highlights, courtesy of the Big East Digital Network and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: Marquette heads back out on the road for an east coast road trip for their third pair of league games. They’ll be in New York on Sunday afternoon to square off with St. John’s. The Red Storm are 1-1 in league play after Monday’s win over Xavier, and they’ll visit Butler on Thursday night before returning home.