Natisha Hiedeman’s game winning three with time expiring did not fall and the #20 Marquette Golden Eagles lost 101-99 to the #12 Tennessee Volunteers. It was a real nail-biter right until the end in a game that could have gone either way. I am proud of how Marquette played against a really good Lady Vols team. It was like watching a heavyweight fight (thank God for Statbroadcast providing me with live updates because I wasn’t about to take the chance on a bad stream and pay to watch the game, sorry/not sorry) with both teams delivering big blows throughout the game.
The Golden Eagles were down 12-2 early in the first period but fought back hard and cut the deficit to just two by the end of the frame. The second period was similar with the Lady Vols pulling away from the Golden Eagles, only to see them get it back within one possession. Marquette was down by as much as 10 points but got it back to within three at halftime. The Golden Eagles were finally able to pull ahead of Tennessee in the third quarter and led by as much as seven. The momentum shifted back-and-forth as the Volunteers briefly regained the lead before Marquette wrestled it back and led 69-67 heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, MU gave up the lead early and had to claw their way back. That, they did. Allazia Blockton did #thething (if you’re not familiar with what this is yet then 1. do you even go here? and 2. please follow the link) and made all three of her free throws to tie the game at 89 and send it to OT. Overtime was just crazy as both teams gave it all they had to come out victorious. Marquette held a one-point lead with a minute left but Tennessee came back strong and was up two with 15 seconds left. The Golden Eagles gave the ball to Hiedeman but her potential game-winning three did not fall and that was the game. Heart-breaker.
The Golden Eagles played their tails off. They had two players with 20+ points and five in double figures. What’s more fun is the double-doubles: Both Allazia Blockton (28 pts, 11 reb) and Erika Davenport (10 pts, 12 reb) had a double-double. For Davenport, it’s her second of the season. Blockton led the way with her 28 and Hiedeman was close behind her with 23 points. Other big contributors were Amani Wilborn and Lauren Van Kleunen with 15 and 14 points respectively. Marquette played so well... how did they lose?? Welp, the three-ball was not falling for the Golden Eagles. Hiedeman, whose MU’s three-point specialist, went cold shooting 1-10 from behind the arc. They shot 22% as a team from three. In a high-caliber game like this one, that will be the difference. MU was level with Tennessee in the other categories having nearly identical two-point field goal percentage (43%) and free throw percentage (71%).
Tennessee’s shooting from behind the arc wasn’t amazing, just 34%, but it was better than Marquette’s. The Volunteers also had five players in double figures with Jaimie Nared and Mercedes Russell leading the way with 26 and 17 points each. Rennia Davis also had herself a good game with 14 and Anatasia Hayes came off the bench and put up 16 points. Aside from the 3-point shooting, three Lady Vols recorded double-doubles. That proved to hurt MU throughout the game as they constantly found themselves having to fight back to get level.
Not a bad loss at all for the Golden Eagles who showed they can hang with a national powerhouse. They were one lucky bounce away from pulling off the upset. I think Carolyn Kieger’s side should be very proud of how well they played in this game. Even though they didn’t get the win, they can still use this as a stepping stone for when they play ranked teams in the near future. Looking ahead they will play two ranked teams, potentially three before the end of non-conference play. #6 ranked Notre Dame and #25 ranked Michigan await next month. More recently, MU will square of against Green Bay whose receiving 14 votes in the AP Poll.
Up Next: It’s a quick turnaround for the Golden Eagles as they will play the Montana Grizzlies (0-4) tonight at 8pm Central time.