Allazia Blockton scored a season high 29 points on — this is not a joke — 10-of-12 shooting as Marquette roared past Seton Hall on Saturday night, 97-84. With the win, the Golden Eagles are tied with Creighton and DePaul at 2-0 in Big East action, with Xavier trailing half a game back at 1-0.
This wasn’t a back and forth game, as Seton Hall only ever led 3-0 off the first shot of the game. Erika Davenport recorded an and-1 on MU’s first possession, and another bucket from Davenport gave MU a lead they would never relinquish. However, it was an up and down game, topping out at 75 possessions. While Seton Hall is comfortable with playing at a quicker pace, they were clearly not as comfortable as the Golden Eagles were. MU forced Seton Hall into 22 turnovers in the game, maxing out at nine in the opening frame and never dipping below four in any quarter. It was a good thing that the Golden Eagles were able to eradicate that many SHU possessions, as the Pirates posted an effective field goal percentage of 69.8% in the game. If they got a shot off, it usually went in, especially if it was from long range, where Seton Hall went 15-of-26 for the day.
The other big thing that Marquette did to balance out that great Seton Hall shooting? Rebounded the hell out of the ball. While MU didn’t shoot the ball particularly well in the game, it didn’t matter as the Golden Eagles got to 59% — FIFTY-NINE — of their missed shots in the game. That’s bananas! Marquette did a pretty decent job on the defensive end of the court, too, only allowing Seton Hall to get to 21% of their own missed shots. Defensive rebounding was a major strength for the Golden Eagles last season (ranked #13 in the country), and thanks to their very tough non-conference schedule, they’ve been struggling with it a little bit (#114) this season. This was a performance well above their season long average, and waaaay below Seton Hall’s season average as well. That’s a positive thing all around.
I should point out that Marquette did not run away with this game after Davenport gave MU the lead early. The lead pushed out to 12 late in the first quarter and 13 to start out the second, but Seton Hall closed the half on a 13-4 run, and it was just a three point margin, 50-47, at the half.
It seemed like things were primed for a classic contest after the break, but apparently MU head coach Carolyn Kieger ordered a demolition in her halftime speech. Seton Hall didn’t score until more than four minutes had wound off the clock in the third quarter, and Selena Philoxy’s bucket to break the ice for the Pirates trimmed the lead to a neat 13 points. MU answered that basket with a 7-0 run to blow the lead out to 20, and it eventually hit 23 late in the frame.
As you can see from the final score at the top, Seton Hall did push their way back into the game. It was all a case of too little, too late, though. A layup by Lauren Van Kleunen put Marquette up 89-67 with 6:40 to play. It took Seton Hall more than three minutes to cut that lead from 22 down to 13. An impressive accomplishment to get themselves back within shouting distance, but they took way too much time to do it. Altia Anderson and Amani Wilborn scored on back to back possessions for the Golden Eagles, and that ended the final Pirates gasp.
Well, kind of. Apparently SHU head coach Tony Bozzella wanted some kind of show of fire from his team all the way to the end, which explains why he was pressing with under a minute left while down by 11, not to mention exploding with anger when the Pirates missed an assignment on said press attempt. Not quite sure why he was expending the energy, but he did.
With her 29 point performance, Blockton moved up to 1,376 career points. That means she’s moved past Heidi Ach and Clare Barnard to become Marquette’s #11 all time scorer. She wasn’t just a ruthlessly efficient scorer in this game, by the way. Blockton also grabbed three rebounds, dished two assists, and came up with two steals, all while not committing a turnover herself. Davenport finished with 21 points and 11 assists for her third double-double of the season. Five different Pirates scored in double figures, led by 16 from Donnaizha Fountain, but 13 of those came in the first quarter, and none of them came after halftime.
How about some highlights, courtesy of the Big East Digital Network and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: As competitive as these two games this week were, Marquette goes out of the frying pan and into the fire next week. They’ll play just one game, but it will come hosting co-league leader DePaul on Thursday night at the Al McGuire Center. Tipoff is set for 7pm Central.