Look, I could bore you with a lot of dithering about Marquette Golden Eagles ‘s first two games of the season, but let’s be honest: They were both ridiculous blowouts and there’s not much to be gleaned from them other than “MU is ridiculously amazing when firing on all cylinders.”
With that said, let’s skip right past discussing Marquette for the time being and move on to seeing what the deal is with their opponent in Sunday afternoon’s second round game in the Preseason WNIT.
Preseason WNIT Second Round Game: vs Northern Iowa Panthers (1-0)
Marquette is just 2-4 all time against the Panthers, believe it or not. It’s been a while since MU beat Northern Iowa. We have to go all the way back to February 1987. UNI has won three straight against Marquette, with the most recent meeting coming in the first round of the postseason WNIT in 2013.
As you can see, UNI’s only game of the year so far was their Preseason WNIT first round game against Delaware. The Panthers did not have as easy of a time as Marquette did, beating the Blue Hens by 12, 79-67. They were actually in control of the game for the majority of the time, leading by as many as 14 in the fourth quarter, but they just never quite really put the game out of reach. When your 14 point lead is down to just eight with 3:33 remaining, there’s a certain amount of doubt that starts to creep in.
Karli Rucker was the primary cog for the Panthers in the opener, scoring 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting. That’s a little bit of a surprise, but only a little bit. Megan Maahs was included on the preseason all-Missouri Valley Conference team, and while she didn’t lead the team in scoring, the 6’1” junior from Epworth, Iowa, still put together a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Toss in 15 points each from Ellie Howell and Abby Gerrits, and Northern Iowa had a nice balanced attack to start off the season.
It should be interesting to see what kind of team shows up in Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon. For the past two seasons, UNI played a much slower style, ranking right around #300 in possessions per 40 minutes according to Her Hoop Stats. They averaged right around 67 possessions in both seasons, but against Delaware, they were just short of 79. Was that Delaware inflicting their style, or was that a coaching change by Tanya Warren, the winningest coach in UNI history? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.