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Marquette Women’s Basketball Preview: vs Georgetown & vs Villanova

Get two wins, get to be the #3 seed in the Big East tournament. Simple.

NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall at Villanova Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the final weekend of the regular season!

Here’s what at stake for the Golden Eagles in terms of the Big East tournament, which, by the way, they will be hosting at the McGuire Center:

Marquette is currently tied with Villanova for third place in the Big East at 11-5. With just two games left to play, neither the Golden Eagles nor the Wildcats can catch DePaul and Creighton, who are tied for first place at 14-2. Both MU and VU could end up as far south in the standings as sixth, as St. John’s is 10-7 with only a game against travel partner Seton Hall remaining and Georgetown is 9-7. Marquette currently holds the tiebreakers against both Villanova and Georgetown thanks to wins earlier in the season, but St. John’s picked up the season sweep of the Golden Eagles and thus the tiebreaker there. Of course, if VU or GU beat Marquette this weekend, that will send things to a second tiebreaker level than merely head to head, and who knows how that will all turn out. We already know for sure that the Golden Eagles will skip the opening round of the Big East tournament and go directly to the quarterfinals.

There’s also the issue of Marquette’s NCAA tournament future. In Charlie Creme’s latest bracketology effort for ESPN, he has the Golden Eagles as a #8 seed in the tournament. That sounds mostly safe and it probably is. However, because women’s basketball is incredibly top-heavy and because it’s only a 64 team field, the automatic bids from the smaller conference occupy every single seed line from the 11s on down. When the four #10 seeds are the Last Four In, that doesn’t really provide all that much cushion for a team floating around somewhere in the 8s. Villanova, Marquette’s Sunday opponent, is lugging around an RPI of 57 through Wednesday’s games, while Georgetown is kicking around at #60. If MU splits their final home games, they’re probably still going to make the NCAA tournament. An 0-2 weekend at home, though? That could make things a little dicey.

Allazia Blockton Watch: Blockton’s 13 points against DePaul pushed her to 467 on the season and 1,028 for her career. That has her at #24 on the all time scoring chart. As a sophomore. Yup. Kiesha Oliver in 23rd place with 1,061 points, so with two solid games, Blockton could catch her, and with two good games, Sarina Simmons (1,073) and Danielle Kamm (1,079) are within range, too.

Natisha Hiedeman Watch: The sophomore from Green Bay has the 11th most made three-pointers in a Marquette career. Hiedeman had 68 a year ago and 60 so far this season gives her 128. Her four makes against DePaul pushed her past Erin Monfre at 125 and up next is Courtney Weibel with 135. 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 11th is because Yentz has the 9th most made three-pointers in program history. Yentz’s 60 made threes this season moved her to 142 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 155 attempts from long range this season have given her the 9th most in program history at 421. Next up is - guess who - current head coach Carolyn Kieger, who attempted 431 long balls as a Golden Eagle.

Erika Davenport Watch: Finally we get to add this category. The Michigan native is up to 263 rebounds on the season, which has her just 10 short of the third most by a sophomore. That mark is currently held by Kathy Andrykowski, who grabbed up 273 in 1977-78, but with two games this weekend, Davenport and her 9.7/game average should sail right on past that.

Big East Game #17: vs Georgetown Hoyas (17-9, 9-7 Big East)

When: Friday, February 24, 2017, at 7pm CT
Where: Al McGuire Center
Audio/Visual: The Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go has the free streaming broadcast & there’s live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

Marquette has an 12-3 all time record against Georgetown, and the Golden Eagles have won three out of the last four encounters.

Since Last We Met: Almost the whole damn league slate happened. When Marquette beat Georgetown in D.C. back on December 30th, it dropped the Hoyas to 0-2 in the Big East. They then dropped their next two games after that to really take the air out of the “Receiving Votes” balloon that they were holding aloft back then. Things have kind of straightened out for Georgetown since then, going 9-3 over their last 12 games, never losing two in a row and rattling off five straight wins at one point. They come in on a two game winning streak after beating Butler and Xavier at home last weekend.

In the first meeting between the two squads, Marquette got the 84-77 victory based on two things. First, Natisha Hiedeman went bananas, sinking five of her 11 three-point attempts and going 7-of-14 overall. The other thing was Dionna White and Dorothy Adomako riding the struggle bus. The pair, who currently rank in the top 5 in the Big East in scoring, combined to go 8-of-27 from the field, including a woeful 0-for-9 on long range shots. They ended up combining for 26 points, largely because of eight made free throws between them, but that was a whole lot of empty possessions for the Hoyas.

The game wasn’t really as close as the final score indicates, by the way. Marquette probably could have done a better job closing out after leading by 15 with five minutes and change left as well as being up 11 with 90 seconds left. Still, a W is a W.

Four different Hoyas scored in double digits in that game, so Marquette will have to keep their head on a swivel to defend them. DiDi Burton led them with 19 and Faith Woodard picked up 15. Cynthia Petke had an underrated game against Marquette, only scoring six points, but grabbing up 13 rebounds, including four on the offensive end.

Last thing: Georgetown is kind of maybe fighting for an NCAA tournament spot. Because they racked up so many quality wins in the non-conference slate, ESPN’s Charlie Creme has the Hoyas as the seventh team off the cut line in his most recent bracketology. They need big wins, namely Marquette and DePaul, their two opponents this weekend.

Big East Game #18: vs Villanova Wildcats (16-11, 11-5 Big East)

When: Sunday, February 26, 2017, at 2pm CT
Where: Al McGuire Center
Audio/Visual: The Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go has the free streaming broadcast & there’s live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

Marquette has a 9-9 all time record against Villanova. MU’s win earlier this season on the Main Line snapped a four game losing streak to the Wildcats, and Villanova has won six of the last eight meetings.

Since Last We Met: The entire league schedule did happen. Marquette opened Big East play against the Wildcats out in the Pavilion, coming away with a 77-71 victory. After opening up league play 3-2, the Wildcats won their next five games, went into a two games skid, and then powered back out to win their next five after that. They have gone to overtime in each of their last two games, including a second extra session against Xavier, but still came away with the home W’s.

In the first meeting between the two teams, Adrianna Hahn went BANANAS, sinking three treys in the first five minutes and ending up tying the VU record with nine three-pointers in the game. This is not likely to happen again, of course, but the path that the Golden Eagles took to get there is troubling in the first place. At the start of league play, Hahn was a preseason all-Big East honoree and ranked #6 in the league in three-point percentage. MU still let her get SIXTEEN attempts off. Flash forward to now, and we see that Hahn is VU’s most likely shooter (nearly seven attempts per game) and she’s ranked third in the Big East at three-point percentage at 44%. In league games only, Hahn is the best shooter in the entire conference, connecting onf 46% of her long balls. Like I said: not likely to happen again, but the fact that Marquette had to know what to expect and still let it happen is somewhat troubling for the return bout.

Hahn and Meghan Quinn (40% on threes, half as many attempts as Hahn) are the only two shooters on the squad that MU needs to worry about, which you would hope would help the defense keep track of them. On the flip side of that coin, if Alex Louin (30%) and Jannah Tucker (28%) want to launch, let them be. Other than the long range struggles, Louin is probably VU’s best player, finishing second to Hahn in points, second to Quinn in rebounds, and leading the team in assists.