It wasn’t crucial for Marquette to hold serve and get the season sweep against #17 DePaul on Sunday in terms of their postseason future, but it definitely didn’t hurt that Danielle King scored a career high 28 points to push the Golden Eagles to the 96-81 victory over the Blue Demons. Marquette is now 20-7 on the season and 11-5 in Big East play.
It’s the first 20-win season for head coach Carolyn Kieger, now in her third season, and the first 20-win season for Marquette since the 2013-14 season, the last campaign under the guidance of Terri Mitchell.
Much like Saturday night’s men’s game against Xavier, Marquette blitzed the Blue Demons right out of the gate. The Golden Eagles opened the game up on a 21-8 run..... in just 4:02. How did they do that, you wonder? Simple: THEY DIDN’T MISS A SHOT. MU made their first nine shots of the game, with Allazia Blockton’s layup on the break capping off that streak to put the score right at 21-8. The lead would actually get BIGGER somehow by the end of the first quarter, as Natisha Hiedeman wrapped up scoring in the period by hitting a three to put Marquette up 38-24.
The lead climbed as high as 20 in the second quarter before settling at 18 as the two squads headed to intermission. DePaul doesn’t have that #17 ranking next to their name for their health, though, and the Blue Demons kept right on coming. Over and over and over again, they cut the lead down, repeatedly cutting it to just 10 points. That was as close as they got though, and while some of those runs to push it there might have made things a little bit scary in the McGuire Center, the Golden Eagles answered every single call, never letting the lead dip back into single digits.
Danielle King was great from the word go on Sunday, scoring 11 of her game high 28 in the opening 10 minutes. Part of it might have been something straight out of the scouting report that Marquette discovered from the first meeting between the two squads this season. After all, should the smallest player on the court be getting these kinds of layups this early in the game?
DePaul can't stop Danielle King! pic.twitter.com/PUeIDS09dq— Marquette WBB (@MarquetteWBB) February 19, 2017
It wasn’t just scoring for the sophomore from Chicago, as she narrowly missed a double-double with nine assists. King also grabbed five rebounds and snagged two steals and got a chance to talk to the media after the game.
Erika Davenport assembled a somewhat bananas 19 point, nine rebound, two assist performance in just 25 minutes, and Allazia Blockton continued doing what she does: 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting, six rebounds, two assists, and generally one of the more selfless performances that you’ll see from a Big East Player of the Year candidate in a game against the team that’s sitting in first place.
It’s safe to say that while Marquette’s shooting defense was just fine (DePaul shot just 41% for the game), there was a bit of a hole in their game when it came to defending the Blue Demons, and that was dealing with all of those DePaul misses. The Blue Demons grabbed up 38% of their missed shots, which is how both Brooke Schulte (26 & 10) and Jacqui Grant (11 & 11) posted double-doubles against MU. It’s a little concerning, particularly since those two women should have been items #1 and #2 on the scouting report, but hey: a win’s a win, right?
How about some highlights, courtesy of FS2 and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: Believe it or not, it’s the final weekend of the regular season. Marquette will need wins in both of their last two games - both at home - in order to lock up the #3 seed in the Big East tournament. First up is Georgetown (17-9, 9-7) on Friday night, followed by Villanova (16-11, 11-5), the team that is currently even with MU in third place, on Sunday afternoon to wrap up the 18 game league schedule.