Two Big East fanbases will be cheering for Marquette on Sunday afternoon when they tangle with first place DePaul.
Obviously, Marquette fans want the Golden Eagles to come away with the season sweep against the Blue Demons. It would solidify MU’s already strong case to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, and on top of that, it would give Marquette two straight wins over DePaul for the first time since 2008. It would also keep Marquette in the driver’s seat for the #3 seed in the Big East tournament. With a 10-5 record and just three games remaining, MU can’t do any better than tying Creighton for second, and the Bluejays hold the tiebreaker there. Marquette’s also currently tied for third with Villanova, but the Golden Eagles are 1-0 against the Wildcats already this season with a home game against them left to be played next weekend.
As you can guess from the previous paragraph, Creighton fans are going to be mixing a little gold into their usual blue and white mindsets. The Jays need Marquette to hand DePaul a loss because Creighton can not depend on both Georgetown AND Villanova going into Lincoln Park next week to pull that off. Creighton needs one DePaul loss to have a shot at tying for the regular season title and they need two losses in order to get a crack at the #1 seed in the conference tournament. Marquette is the only team that’s proven to be able to beat DePaul this season in league play, so right now, Carolyn Kieger’s squad is Obi-Wan Kenobi to Creighton’s Princess Leia. The Golden Eagles are their only hope.
Allazia Blockton Watch: Blockton’s 36 points last week pushed her to 454 on the season and 1,015 for her career, making her the youngest of Marquette’s 25 1,000 point scorers. She’s clearly going to go shooting up the chart by the time this season ends, but I don’t think Blockton is going to catch Kiesha Oliver in 23rd place with 1,061 points.
Natisha Hiedeman Watch: The sophomore from Green Bay has the 12th most made three-pointers in a Marquette career. Hiedeman had 68 a year ago and 56 so far this season gives her 124. It would be great to see her catch and pass Erin Monfre at #11 with 125 against the Blue Demons. Hiedeman also has the third most made threes for a sophomore, and next up is Krystal Ellis at 65.
McKayla Yentz Watch: The reason why Hiedeman is 12th is because Yentz has the 9th most made three-pointers in program history. Yentz’s 57 made threes this season moved her to 139 in her career. Courtney Romeiser and Tatiyiana McMorris are tied for seventh at 152 triples, so that’s still a bit off. Yentz’s evolution as a shooter for this team in her 4 year career is quite impressive, as her 149 attempts from long range this season have given her the 9th most in program history at 415. Next up is - guess who - current head coach Carolyn Kieger, who attempted 431 long balls as a Golden Eagle.
Big East Game #16: vs #17 DePaul Blue Demons
When: Sunday, February 19, 2017, at 1pm CT
Where: McGuire Center
Audio/Visual: FS2 has the TV broadcast & Fox Sports Go has the streaming. There’s live stats, too.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB
Marquette has a 23-42 all time record against DePaul. The good news, however, is that MU snapped a seven game losing streak against the Blue Demons when they got a 102-101 overtime victory against DePaul down in Chicago in late January.
Since Last We Met: Nothing but wins for the Blue Demons. Two home wins sandwiched in between a pair of road wins on either side has DePaul 6-0 since falling to Marquette earlier this season. For right now, the Golden Eagles are the only team in the Big East that’s been able to solve the riddle that is head coach Doug Bruno and his squad.
Brooke Schulte continues to crush it for DePaul in league play. She’s been named Big East Player of the Week each of the past two weeks, giving her five such honors, and all have come in the last eight weeks. With Big East Preseason Player of the Year Jessica January missing essentially all of league play (she broke her finger after 18 minutes of play in the first game), Schulte’s play has allowed the Blue Demons to not miss a beat. In 15 Big East games, Schulte is averaging 21 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and just over a steal per game. Schulte went for 35/7/2 and a block in 36 minutes before fouling out in the first game against Marquette this season, so the Golden Eagles are well aware of the threat she presents.
She’s not the only Blue Demon who gave Marquette fits in that overtime contest. Jacqui Grant scored 27 points and wrapped up 17 rebounds in one of the more impressive performances in a loss that you’ll ever see. Grant is DePaul’s second most likely three-point shooter on the season with 111 attempts, but she was held to just three by Marquette and she missed all of them. Grant is only shooting 31% on treys over the course of the full season, so you can see why DePaul head coach Doug Bruno focused on getting the 6’3” senior active inside against the somewhat height-deficient Golden Eagles.
Oh, and remember we mentioned Jessica January? Well, she might be back for this game, at least according to The DePaulia. It’s been six weeks, and January was estimated to have a six-to-eight week recovery period. We’ll see.....