Marquette women’s basketball weathered an absurd shooting start to the game from the Butler Bulldogs on Friday night as the Golden Eagles ended up with the 72-66 win at the final horn.
The Golden Eagles are now 9-5 in Big East action and 18-7 on the season. While the game was not the most exciting event that you’ll ever watch, the important issue is that Marquette got the W and prevented their postseason profile from taking on a road loss to the team in the Big East with the worst RPI.
The Big East standings got a little bit shaky on Friday, with Marquette moving into sole control of third place in the league with the win. St. John’s got tripped up by Villanova, dropping the Red Storm to fifth place at 8-6, while the Wildcats elevated to fourth place at 8-5.
Butler threw everything they had at Marquette in the opening 10 minutes, specifically from Sydney Shelton as she hit on three of her five long range attempts. It was highly irregular to see the Bulldogs splashing threes, as they were shooting just 26% on the season coming into the game, but it made for a bit of excitement in the opening frame. They weren’t running away with it, though, as the best they could manage was a three point lead, but Allazia Blockton popped off the bench for Marquette to hit a jumper with 63 seconds left in the first to give the Golden Eagles a four point lead.
That’s when things did tilt in Butler’s favor, as Sydney Buck closed out the first with a triple and then BU scored the first seven points of the second quarter to take a six point lead, their biggest margin of the game. Altia Anderson finally got Marquette on the board at the 6:20 mark, and then the Golden Eagles outscored the Bulldogs 8-3 the rest of the way to hold a one point advantage at halftime.
It seemed like Marquette was going to assert themselves for good in the third quarter, taking a seven point lead at multiple points, including on a layup by Erika Davenport with 1:49 left for two of her team high 19 points. Butler crammed five points into the final 90 seconds though, and it was just a 47-45 game with 10 minutes remaining.
Marquette looked like they were going to keep Butler at arm’s length in the fourth quarter, leading by more than five points for a lot of the time and retaking that seven point advantage with 2:32 left to go. Butler just wouldn’t die, though, and went on a 7-2 run over the next two minutes and change to make it a two point game with 25 seconds to play. DICEY! But Blockton canned a pair of freebies, and then Danielle King sent home a pair after a Tori Schickel layup cut it to two again, and after Michelle Weaver missed a three, King once again had ice in her veins to lock up the W.
As mentioned, Davenport led Marquette in scoring with 19, and she also wrapped up 11 rebounds for her Big East leading 12th double-double of the season. King had a 13/5/3 outing, Blockton went for 14/8/5 off the bench for Marquette, and Natisha Hiedeman had a very fun 14/9/1 with two steals. Butler was led by 21 points from Buck, who went 7-of-15, all from long range. It was a highly irregular performance both for Buck, who is shooting just 33% on the season after that outing, as well as for the Bulldogs as a team, who shot 40% here to inch up to just 27% on the season. Schickel is averaging a double-double this season, and she nearly hit it, getting nine points and 12 rebounds. She didn’t score at all until the second half as MU focused on shutting her down and letting the usually inaccurate Bulldog shooters take the shots.
How about some highlights, courtesy of the Big East Digital Network and Butler Athletics?
Up Next: The road trip continues as Marquette makes the short jaunt southeast from Indianapolis to visit Xavier on Sunday afternoon. The Musketeers are coming off a 70-43 loss to DePaul on Friday night. You’re going to want to make sure you tune in at 1pm Central on the Big East Digital Network, as Allazia Blockton is just seven points away from 1,000 in her career.