2017 Big East Women's Basketball Tournament Semifinals
With a relatively easy win over Georgetown in the quarterfinals, Marquette is now definitely playing with house money when it comes to their postseason future. They probably didn't need the win over the Hoyas to lock in their NCAA tournament at-large berth, but putting together a good showing against the Hoyas and, more importantly, picking up the win along the way, Marquette is just tacking on to their resume at this point.
There would be a benefit to getting the win on Monday over the Bluejays, as Marquette took two losses to Creighton during the regular season. Getting one postseason win back against them would help the tournament resume a bit, plus it would be a nice peace of mind win for the team. See, they got their doors blown off by the Jays in Milwaukee earlier this season as Creighton just kept building a lead across the entire game and won by 20 at the final horn. When the season series moved to Omaha in late January, Marquette appeared to have the road victory locked up with a five point lead with 56 seconds to play. Play some defense to burn clock, don't turn the ball over, make free throws, win. Simple enough, except it didn't happen. CU's Sydney Lamberty scored quickly, Marquette turned it over AND committed an immediate foul which allowed Lamberty to pop in two free throws with the clock stopped, and then Marquette turned it over AGAIN. That turned into a (guess who) Lamberty jumper, boom, Jays up one. Danielle King's last second trey missed, and Marquette took a very very very bad loss after leading by 13 at the end of the first quarter.
You can see how Carolyn Kieger and her team might reeeeaaaaaalllly want to pound the Bluejays into the earth here.
Creighton advanced to the semifinals with a come from behind victory over last place Butler in the quarterfinals. The Bulldogs led by as many as nine in the first quarter and held a 31-29 advantage at halftime. That lead disappeared on Creighton's first possession of the second half, and the Bluejays took the lead for good on a bucket by Brianna Rollerson with 3:18 left in the third quarter. That's not the best start to the tournament that you'd like to see if you're a Bluejays fan, but survive and advance, etc.
We do have one injury note to take care of before moving on to the Marquette stat watch. Early in the Georgetown game, Natisha Hiedeman slashed to the basket for a layup, but landed awkwardly and immediately grabbed her ankle. She appeared to be in an immense amount of pain, but she was able to get up and hobble quickly off the court on her own power. She missed about three minutes of game time in the locker room and ended up playing 28 minutes in the game, a little bit down from her average of 32. Hiedeman went hard the whole time after the injury, but she was wincing and grimacing repeatedly, especially after she made some long fast runs on the break to chase down a pass. It's not unusual for a player to be able to finish a game after an ankle sprain but be unable to play in their team's next game, especially in a tournament setting like this. We'll see if Hiedeman is able to go against Creighton, but if she can't, someone on the Marquette bench is going to have to step up. Even with Hiedeman not at 100%, Kieger went with her usual six woman rotation and only got four minutes of action for Shantelle Valentine. No one else got into the game until there was less than a minute left, and that's not going to work if Hiedeman can't go.
Allazia Blockton Watch: Blockton scored 20 against Georgetown to get her to 520 on the season and 1,081 for her career. That has the sophomore (yes, sophomore) in 21st place all time in Marquette scoring, passing both Sarina Simmons and Danielle Kamm. Up next is Lori Goerlitz at 1,133, so it's going to be a game or three before she gets there, but she is just 15 points away from Lisa Oldenburg's third best total for a sophomore at 535. With 205 made field goals on the season, Blockton is tied with Oldenburg for the second most by a sophomore, but Kristen Maskala's record of 242 is still a ways off.
Natisha Hiedeman Watch: The sophomore from Green Bay has tied Courtney Weibel for the 10th most three pointers in a career with 135. Hiedeman had 68 a year ago and 67 so far this season has driven her that far up that chart as only a sophomore. Her 67 makes this year give her the second most ever by a sophomore, and she needs just two more to tie Kristen Maskala's record, set in 1991-92. Her 187 long range attempts this season are the second most by a sophomore, trailing only Krystal Ellis at 183.
McKayla Yentz Watch: The reason why Hiedeman is 10th in made threes is because Yentz has the 9th most made three-pointers in program history. Yentz’s 67 made threes this season moved her to 149 in her career. Courtney Romeiser and Tatiyiana McMorris are tied for seventh at 152 triples, so that's in range for Monday afternoon. Yentz’s evolution as a shooter for this team in her 4 year career is quite impressive, as her 176 attempts from long range this season have given her the 7th most in program history at 442. Yentz passed current head coach Carolyn Kieger as well as Courtney Weibel in attempts last weekend and now has her sights set on Kelly Schwerman’s sixth highest total of 454.
Erika Davenport Watch: The Michigan native is up to 284 rebounds on the season, which is now the third best season by a Marquette sophomore. Davenport passed Kathy Andrykowski, who grabbed up 273 in 1977-78, last weekend, and Abbie Willenborg's 297 is in range if she can have a big game against the Bluejays.
Team Watch: Marquette hit six three-pointers against Georgetown to tie the team record for made threes in a season at 208. MU's first made triple of the game against Georgetown will of course set a new record and officially make this the best three-point shooting season in Marquette basketball history, as the men's team has already broken their record for triples in a season. The Golden Eagles are also in range for the team record for assists in a season. They have 513 so far, and the record is 537, set in 1994-95. Probably not coincidentally, that's the same season that they set the made three-pointers record. MU averages over 17 assists a game, so it'll take a high scoring game to get the record on Monday, but with at least one more game pretty much guaranteed at this point, this record will fall at some point.