After a slow start, the Marquette Golden Eagles poured it on in the second quarter on Monday night and cruised to a 23-point victory over the Wisconsin Badgers, winning 88-65. Natisha Hiedeman probably saw the prediction I made and said, “yeah, right we can do better than that.” She had a team high 26 points on 9-of-16 shooting leading the Golden Eagles to victory. Marquette now improves to 4-3 on the season.
There’s no better way to tip-off Badger Hate Week than a 23-point victory over your biggest rival. Hiedeman clearly reads my previews and saw that I predicted her to step it up. She carried MU on her back in the first with her 10 points and they were up 18-12 at the end of the first. Marquette pulled away in the second quarter thanks to her and also other teammates getting heavily involved. Marquette carried a commanding 54-28 lead into halftime.
The second half was more of the same as MU controlled both sides of the ball and led by as much as 36 points in the fourth quarter. With that big of a lead coach Carolyn Kieger started subbing out her starters to give her bench players some time to shine. Every single player saw some time on the court which is always great to see. I already mentioned Hiedeman’s stellar performance but many other players were also torching the Badgers defense. Allazia Blockton came off the bench (I speculate because of her poor performance on Saturday but it was a strange thing to see) and shot 66% from the field tallying 19 points and tacking on eight rebounds. Great to see her bounce back from a rough outing against Green Bay. Danielle King was also feeling the hot hand, going 6-8 en route to her 14 points. Amani Wilborn was the most impressive to me as she was on triple-double watch with her nine points, eight assists, and six steals. That would have been incredible...especially doing it with steals instead of rebounds.
As hot as MU’s offense was, the Golden Eagle defense was all over the Badgers forcing them into 22 turnovers. Twenty-two. MU had 17 steals to disrupt the Wisconsin offense and send UW head coach Jonathan Tsipis into fits on the regular. Marquette held Wisconsin to 41% from the field and just 2-16 from 3-point range. The easiest way to not let a team back into the game is to take away their three ball and MU did just that. Where else can I show Marquette’s superiority over the Badgers? Let’s see...MU nearly doubled Bucky in the assists category dishing out 21 to Wisconsin’s 12. And they were better at the line converting 15-of-21 compared to the Badgers’ very poor 11-of-19 free throw mark.
Let’s have some fun and watch some highlights of the wonderful display of dominance that the Golden Eagles showed against the Badgers:
Coach Kieger should be proud of the response from her team after falling to Green Bay and being knocked out of the top 25 for the first time this season. However, there’s still a few things MU needs to improve upon if they want to beat Michigan on Wednesday. First is rebounding. They were out-rebounded by Wisconsin 36-31 overall in large part because they only brought down eight offensive boards while Wisconsin had 16. Now, given the shooting numbers in the game, it’s kind of self explanatory as to how UW ended up with so many offensive rebounds, because they just had more missed shots to grab. WITH THAT SAID, Marquette can’t allow a team to grab 41% of their misses. That has to be something Coach Kieger addresses with her team between now and Wednesday. It would also be helpful to eclipse the 40% mark from 3-point range. MU’s only done that in one game this season when they shot 50% against Montana. They are averaging just 35% from deep this season. That’s over the efficiency break-even of 33%, but it would be nice to raise that up a bit because they may need to be more lethal from behind the arc against a very strong Michigan squad.
Up Next: Yep, you guessed it. Marquette will travel to Ann Arbor to play another Big Ten foe in the #23 Michigan Wolverines. This is a game with tournament implications. Yes, it’s early in the season, but getting a win here will be a huuuuuge boost to the Golden Eagles resume after their early season struggles. The Wolverines are 6-2 this season with their only two losses coming against #3 Notre Dame and #5 Louisville.