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Best Start Ever: Marquette Women’s Basketball 92, Creighton 77

The Golden Eagles have literally never been this good this early in Big East play.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Marquette vs DePaul
Amani Wilborn scored 23 to lead Marquette against Creighton.
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, after 32 years of games, Marquette women’s basketball has left Omaha with a win over Creighton.

On Sunday, Marquette blew the doors off of Creighton in the second half, turning a three point halftime margin into a 19 point lead late in the third quarter before finally wrapping up with a 92-77 victory. With the win, the Golden Eagles are 4-0 in Big East action for the first time ever, and they are the only team without a loss in the conference as well.

Marquette headed to the locker room with a three-point advantage thanks to five points in the final 71 seconds of the half from Allazia Blockton. She scored on a layup early and drained a triple with time running out to give MU a boost at the break. However, those five points may have lit off a rocket that Creighton could not handle. In the first 60 seconds of the third quarter, Marquette scored five points, grabbed four offensive rebounds, and forced two Creighton turnovers.

In the middle of all of that, CU head coach Jim Flanery subbed his entire starting five off the floor. When he made the exchange, Marquette led 41-36. When he got around to subbing four of them back into the game, there was 5:35 left in the game, and Marquette led 55-40.

Hooray for him for making a point to his team about how they have to play in order to compete blah blah blah blah. That run also may have been enough for Marquette to lock in the victory. As mentioned earlier, Marquette was on such a roll at that point that the lead grew to 19 with 1:56 left in the quarter. It would dip to 12 at the start of the fourth, though, and even brush up against 10 at a couple of points in the first 90 seconds of the final period. That’s as close as it would get, though, as MU answered with a 5-0 run over the next 90 seconds to push the lead back to 15 and keep things safe and easy from there.

It’s not going to surprise you to learn that Marquette won this game with their defense, but that statement does take a bit of qualifying. Creighton posted an effective field goal percentage of 54.7% in the game, easily outdistancing Marquette.’s 44.4%. However, the Bluejays coughed up the ball on over 21% of their possessions, and Marquette limited Creighton to rebounding only 24% of their missed shots. The Golden Eagles have been a very good defensive rebounding team this season (#72 in the country in DR Rate via Her Hoop Stats), but that 24% is much better than the 30% that they usually allow.

As good as Allazia Blockton was on this day (20 points, six rebounds, 2 assists, 7-of-13 shooting), she was topped by Amani Wilborn for the high scoring mark of the day. Wilborn wrapped up the game with 23 points, a new career high, along with eight rebounds, an assist, and two steals. Four of MU’s five starters scored at least 15 points in the game, with Danielle King (9-9) and Natisha Hiedeman (10-11) doing some serious damage from the free throw line.

Up Next: Marquette catches a bit of a scheduling break. They have to undergo the worst road trip on the conference, going from Omaha to Providence for their next game, but it’s better than it usually is. Instead of playing on Tuesday like they might on a usual game/off day/game schedule, the Golden Eagles won’t play the Friars until Wednesday evening. Providence is 8-9 on the season and 1-4 in Big East action after getting shelled 71-48 by DePaul on Sunday.