The Marquette Golden Eagles led by nine late in the first half, entered halftime up by four, but could not hold on and ultimately fell 82-76 to the #24 ranked Michigan Wolverines. Yet another chance to beat a ranked opponent has slipped away from the Golden Eagles. Marquette now falls to 4-4 this season.
MU played well for three quarters of the game but couldn’t stave off the Wolverine attack in the third period and that’s ultimately what cost them the game. They started playing exceptional defense holding Michigan to just 29.8% from the field and 2-12 on three pointers. Marquette’s offense also got off to a slow start and shot a combined 14-35 in the first half. So not great...but better than Michigan’s hence the four point halftime lead. It seemed like the turning point of the game was coming when MU held the Wolverines scoreless for over four and a half minutes late in the second quarter which was fun while it lasted. Unfortunately, it was no indicator of things to come.
Michigan got off to a hot start in the third quarter going on an 11-3 run and gaining a four point advantage. After MU immediately fought back and got it within two, Michigan really took control of the game with an impressive shooting display. They were over 60% from the field and made three of their five three point baskets. Marquette simply could not keep up and shot 26% in the third quarter. No surprise that they found themselves down by 11 heading into the fourth. There was still a lot of fight left in the Golden Eagles as they mounted a crazy comeback and cut the lead to just two with a little over four minutes left. MU didn’t have enough left in the tank for the final push, however, and Michigan made some key free throws late in the game to seal the deal.
Leading the way for the Golden Eagles was Erika Davenport with 23 points and seven boards. Allazia Blockton got her second double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Danielle King also had herself a game with 19 points, six rebounds, and five assists. Those were the only three players that played well for MU. Aside from them, Natisha Hiedeman had a disappointing eight points and no other player totaled more than three points. MU typically has four or five players in double-digits and when that doesn’t happen (especially against a top 25 team), you are not setting yourself up for success.
I stressed how important it was to contain Katelynn Flaherty in my preview but the Golden Eagles had no answer for the New Jersey native. She shot just 8-for 21, including 1-of-7 from behind the arc, but she finished with 27 points thanks to making 10 of her 11 free throws. Clearly fouling her didn’t slow her down. It’s not going to shock you that Flaherty scored 12 of her points in the third, and that was while shooting 6-of-9 from the field. Second in scoring for the Wolverines was, yep...you guessed it, Hallie Thome with 17 points. Freshmen Deja Church and Junior Nicole Munger were also in double-digits with 12 and 10 points apiece. Michigan did have 16 turnovers in the game but their offense caught fire in the second half so that was a non-factor in the end. MU’s 18 turnovers didn’t help the Golden Eagles take advantage of the Wolverines’ errors, either.
Marquette has now had three opportunities to get wins against opponents that are currently ranked in the top 25, but they’ve failed to do so. There is no doubt about the fight in this team, they just haven’t been able to put it all together in the big moments.
Up Next: The Golden Eagles will return to the Al McGuire to take on Army West Point on Sunday afternoon. Army is 6-3 this season and most recently fell to Delaware 70-59 at home.