All five Marquette starters shot a combined 54% and scored in double-digits on their way to a 93-81 victory over DePaul on Thursday night. After the first two minutes of the game, the Golden Eagles never led by fewer than six points in the entire game as they moved to 3-0 in Big East play to move into a tie with Creighton for the top spot in the conference. As an added bonus, DePaul drops to 2-1, as MU handed them their first loss of the conference schedule.
It was the 13th straight win for the Golden Eagles at the Al McGuire Center, as well as the fourth straight victory over DePaul in a series that has been heavily tilted towards the Blue Demons over the long history of the matchup. Perhaps most importantly, MU’s 3-0 start in Big East action is their best start in league play since the 2006-07 season.
As it ended up turning out, this game was over before it really got started. DePaul opened up the game by mixing two missed shots with two turnovers on their first four possessions of the game and by the time that the fifth possession started, Marquette held a 10-0 lead. More often than not for the rest of the game, the Golden Eagles would maintain that double digit lead, maxing out their first quarter lead at 16 on a Natisha Hiedeman three-pointer.
Not to say that the game wasn’t without its roller coaster moments, of course. Marquette took their biggest lead of the game at 18 points at the 5:26 mark of the second quarter thanks to an and-1 layup from Amani Wilborn. Thanks to the high paced nature of the game, the lead was down to just eight with 2:28 to play before the break. Yet, even with DePaul rolling together that 13-3 run, Marquette answered with an 8-2 burst to keep the Blue Demons at arm’s length at the half.
Things got twitchy for Marquette coming out of the break, as DePaul scored the first eight points of the third quarter capped by a three from Ashton Millender to turn it into a six point game. Marquette nudged the lead back towards 10, but the Blue Demons were able to keep it right around the double digit mark for the rest of the frame.
The Golden Eagles slowly pulled away from DePaul in the fourth quarter, never putting together a major run, but Allazia Blockton scored two of her game high 25 points to put Marquette back up 18 with 3:45 left to play, and that was pretty much that. Officially, the Blue Demons outscored MU 13-7 over the last stretch of the game, but those seven points were enough to keep DePaul from truly making one final push.
Blockton added 12 rebounds to her line for the night to give her a double-double for the fourth time this season. While MU spread their scoring out well, it was their ability to disrupt DePaul’s offense that was the key on this night. Coming in, DePaul generated half of their shots this season from behind the three-point line. However, just 28 of their 82 shots in the game came from long range. DePaul’s inability to get things truly going with their aerial assault was a major benefit to Marquette’s ability to maintain their lead all game long. Even better? The Blue Demons connected on just six of their 28 long range attempts in the game.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and the Big East Digital Network?
Up Next: Things continue to remain interesting for Marquette, but exactly how interesting remains in doubt. We know that the Golden Eagles will be in Omaha on Sunday afternoon to tangle with Creighton, but it remains to be seen if the Bluejays will also be undefeated when that game tips off. The 3-0 Jays will play St. John’s in New York on Friday night before returning home to host Marquette.