For at least 40 minutes on Thursday night, the student was unable to become the master.
Marquette women’s basketball rallied from down 16 during the third quarter to pull within one with 4:55 remaining... but they just couldn’t get get over the hump. Thus #24 Miami and head coach Katie Meier picked up the 63-55 win in the Preseason WNIT semifinals over MU and former UM assistant coach Carolyn Kieger. The ‘Canes advance to Sunday’s title game against Iowa State in Ames, while Marquette will be off for over a week before they play again as a result.
No one is ever ever ever going to confuse this game for a textbook Carolyn Kieger game. Quite simply: Marquette scored 22 points in the first half. The way Kieger wants her teams going up and down the floor, 22 points in a quarter is a realistic score, but 30-22 favoring the Canes is the way things stood at the intermission. The good news about the third quarter is that MU scored 23 points, outpacing their first 20 minutes of output in just the next 10. The bad news is that a Taylor Mason freebie at the 5:10 mark had allowed Miami to double their eight point margin from halftime. The back end of the period was more to Marquette’s liking, and a triple from Natisha Hiedeman pulled MU within seven with 51 seconds left.
The writing was on the wall when Marquette had made that rally and scored oh so many more points than in the first half but still found themselves down nine heading to the fourth quarter. They had rallied, but it ended up with Miami up one more point than they were 10 minutes earlier.
That one point really made a difference, ultimately. A layup from Amani Wilborn pulled MU within three, 56-53, and then an always reliable elbow jumper from Allazia Blockton made it a one point game, 56-55, with 4:55 to go.
I don’t want to say “disaster struck,” but it’s pretty close.
Miami turnover, MU misses a three, gets the rebound, misses a layup.
Miami offensive foul, MU misses a layup.
Miami turnover, MU misses a layup, gets the rebound, commits an offensive foul.
Miami misses, Marquette turns it over.
Miami turnover, Marquette misses.
Finally, with 53 seconds left, Miami’s Beatrice Mompremier hauls in the rebound off a miss by Emese Hof, puts it back up and in, 58-55.
Miami gets a steal, MU fouls, two free throws, 60-55, 41 seconds left.
It’s not “over” over at that point, but it was essentially over.
Even though Marquette trailed by 16 with 15 minutes to go, they had five chances to take the lead on the ‘Canes in the final five minutes of regulation, and they just could not do it. The lesson here probably isn’t “Marquette can’t close games out,” it’s probably more along the lines of “don’t fall behind by 16” and “score more than 22 points in the first 20 minutes of the game.”
Blockton’s jumper to pull within one was a rare sight on the night. The Big East’s Preseason Player of the Year scored just seven points on the night as she shot 2-of-14 from the field, and a really not great 1-of-6 from three-point range. Erika Davenport finished with a team high 15 points, while Danielle King added 10 points.
Unsurprisingly, the 6’4” Beatrice Mompremier did a number on Marquette. She shot 10-of-20 on the night to finish with 24 points, but it was probably her 21 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end, that really injured Marquette’s chances of victory. We’ve seen it time and time again: The Golden Eagles struggled to defend a focused interior player, and in the long run, that really spoiled MU’s chances of winning this game and picking up an extra road game to add to their NCAA tournament profile.
Up Next: Without a third place game in the Preseason WNIT, Marquette will sit back and wait for UIC to come to town next week Saturday, November 24th. The Flames are 1-1 on the year right now, with a win over Valpo and a loss at Northwestern. They’ll also host Loyola-Chicago this Saturday before coming up to Milwaukee the following weekend.