Marquette women’s basketball was outshot clean across the board by Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon. Field goal percentage? Advantage Panthers, 53% to 48%. Three-point percentage? Advantage Panthers, 50% to 30%. Free throws? Big margin for the Panthers, 77% to 50%.
But shooting percentages aren’t everything, as Marquette won relatively easily, 83-68, at the Klotsche Center on the east side of town.
Why the lopsided score given the shooting margins? Rebounding and turnovers, y’all. For the most part, UWM got one chance to score in a possession. They grabbed just four of their 24 missed shots in the game, as Marquette dominated the glass on that end of the court. That’s something that MU has struggled with this season. According to HerHoopStats, a year ago, Marquette was one of the 15 best teams in the country at ending defensive possessions with a rebound. This year? They ranked down in the 140s in defensive rebounding rate coming into this game. That wasn’t a problem against the Panthers.
As for the turnover department.... wellll... let’s put it this way: If anyone ribs Sandra Dahling about being the only Golden Eagle in the game who didn’t record a steal, it’s unfair, because she only played for one minute. Everyone else had at least one takeaway, and six Golden Eagles had at least two. Freshman Selena Lott had a game high five with four coming after halftime. All told, UWM was charged with 31 turnovers in the game, while the Golden Eagles coughed it up just 10 times. This was in an 81 possession game, which means that the Panthers lost track of the ball on 38% of their possessions.
That, kids, is a lot.
Even with that in mind, Marquette didn’t seize control of the game until midway through the second quarter. The first period saw the lead tilt back and forth a few times, but a Danielle King bucket with two seconds left in the first frame gave Marquette the lead for good, as it would turn out. The lead didn’t hit three possessions worth of space until there was 5:58 left in the second, and it finally hit double digits with 1:59 left in the half. It was Natisha Hiedeman both times to push Marquette forward with four of her 15 points in the game. She’s now just seven points away from 1,000 in her career.
A jumper by King early in the third would push MU back into double digit land, and a triple from Amani Wilborn gave Marquette their biggest lead at 17 with an even three minutes left to go in the third. The lead wobbled over the next four-plus minutes and finally, an old fashioned three point play from Bailey Farley had slimmed MU’s lead down to just eight points. A 12-4 run by the Golden Eagles over the next five minutes was capped off by a basket from Allazia Blockton, who finished with a masterful 29 points on 12-of-17 shooting to lead all scorers. At that point, MU was up 77-61 with 3:29 left to go, and that was pretty much that.
It was an excellent performance by the Golden Eagles, posting four different players with at least 10 points in the game. They needed this kind of effort, because.....
Up Next: ..... on Wednesday afternoon, they’ll be in South Bend, Indiana, to square off with Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are currently ranked #2 in the country and are 10-1 on the season with only a nine point loss to #1 Connecticut marring their record. ND is coming off a nine point home win against DePaul on Sunday. Maybe head coach Carolyn Kieger can swipe an idea or seven from what Doug Bruno and the Blue Demons did....