At face value, it seemed that signing up South Dakota State for Marquette women’s basketball’s first game of the season was an interesting choice, especially since it was going to be one of those “invite the local school kids to the game” type of deals. The Jackrabbits were a #8 seed in last year’s NCAA tournament and they return most of that squad, including the reigning Summit League Player of the Year. That’s a real team with real expectations for the 2018-19 season. To make things more interesting, Marquette lost their exhibition game to a Division 2 team last Thursday night.
If you wanted to be nervous and twitchy about the result of Tuesday afternoon’s contest, that was a pretty fair mindset to have about it.
Marquette wasted almost no time wiping away any doubt about who was going to win the game.
The Golden Eagles jumped all over the Jackrabbits off the opening tip, weathered a bit of SDSU figuring out what the hell was happening to them, and then stepped on the gas in the second quarter. A six point lead at the end of the first quarter was 19 at halftime and 34 at the end of three.
Your final score from the McGuire Center: Marquette 91, South Dakota State 52. The co-favorites to win the Big East absolutely handed the Summit League favorites their lunch, and then took it away from them and ate it.
There is essentially not one facet of this game that Marquette did not dominate. Straight up outshot SDSU, 52% to 36%. Beat them on effective field goal percentage, 62% to 40%. Dominated ball control, forcing the Jackrabbits into turning it over 24 times, which was nearly one-third of their possessions. Crushed them on the glass, grabbing up 36% of their own misses while only letting SDSU to get to 28% of theirs.
Macy Miller was named Summit League Player of the Year after averaging 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game, all of which led South Dakota State last year, and she shot 45% on threes, too. Against Marquette on Tuesday afternoon? 7 points on 2-for-10 shooting, four rebounds, no assists. Hey, she made one of her two three-point attempts, so there’s something for Marquette to focus on for next time. Didn’t quite hold Miller all the way down.
Natisha Hiedeman scored a game-high 21 points, fueled by a 5-for-9 performance from behind the three-point line, and she also had three rebounds and tied Amani Wilborn for the team high in assists with six. Allazia Blockton kicked off her quest for a second straight Big East Player of the Year trophy with 19 points on 8-of-18 shooting, five rebounds, and an assist. FUN FACT: Blockton went 1-for-6 from behind the arc, so imagine the kind of day she could have had.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: Marquette begins the Preseason WNIT on Friday night when they host Montana State. The Bobcats are 1-0 on the season after beating NAIA Carroll College, 64-48, on Tuesday.