With nothing on the line except pride and maybe a little extra polish on the postseason resume, Marquette women’s basketball took care of business on Sunday afternoon, handing Villanova a 62-53 loss in the regular season finale for both squads. MU will head to the Big East tournament with an overall record of 22-7 and finishes 13-5 in the conference campaign.
It was the final official home game for McKayla Yentz, Marquette’s lone senior, although she’ll get to keep playing at the McGuire Center for as long as MU keeps winning in the Big East tournament since the Golden Eagles are hosting the event that starts next weekend. She didn’t go out with a scoring bang, contributing just three points to the effort, but she hauled in a career best and game high 13 rebounds, all on the defensive end, to do more than her fair share of ending Villanova’s possessions after one shot. The Golden Eagles were already doing a number on VU’s shooting, holding them to just 30% shooting overall and 35.7% effective field goal percentage, so keeping them away from their misses was a crucial part of this game and no one had a bigger impact on that than Yentz.
A high powered first quarter (Marquette was leading 22-16 after one) was not indicative of how the remaining 30 minutes would play out. Villanova asserted their preferred tempo over the rest of the game and no one would score more than 15 points in a quarter the rest of the way. Even with that being the case, it seemed like Marquette was starting to inch away with the game when they kept poking the lead to double digits in the second period, getting it as high as 12 on a Danielle King layup on the break with 3:30 remaining.
The lead was 11 at the break, but the lead was zero at the 3:31 mark of the third quarter when Jannah Tucker capped off a 15-4 run for the Wildcats to knot the game at 41. Whole new ball game, and Villanova clearly had Marquette’s attention.
The Wildcats would not score again in the period as MU ran off the next seven points to reclaim control of the game, and after Meghan Quinn drained a three to open the scoring in the fourth quarter to make it a four point game, that would be as close as Villanova would get. VU got outscored 21-12 in the final 13 minutes and change as the Golden Eagles closed them out and closed the conference schedule out as well.
As usual, Marquette’s box score is littered with absurd performances. Allazia Blockton led Marquette with 16 points, and also chipped in three rebounds and a steal, while Danielle King posted her first ever collegiate double-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists. Natisha Hiedeman was a whirling dervish, contributing 10 points, two rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and two steals, and Amani Wilborn got work done off the bench with eight points, 10 rebounds and three assists.
Villanova was led by a pair of 17 point performances from Alex Louin and Jannah Tucker, but only five other Wildcats scored in the game at all and only two of them managed more than just one basket.
How about some highlights, courtesy of the Big East Digital Network and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: The Big East tournament is upon us, and it will be contested at the McGuire Center! Marquette had already clinched the #3 seed in the field before Sunday’s game, and they will square off with #6 seed Georgetown next Sunday at 2:30pm Central time in game 2 of the four game quadrupleheader that is the quarterfinal round of the tournament.