If Marquette women’s basketball approaches every game of the season with the fire and the enthusiasm that they displayed in their regular season opener, then a lot of squads on the schedule are totally screwed.
They absolutely wrecked a very good South Dakota State team in the season opener, but the stats from that game just aren’t going to hold up for the whole season.
I’m not going to try and pretend to believe that they’re going to have an effective field goal percentage of 62% for the entire season. Seems unlikely. They’re probably not going to shoot 42% from three-point range as a team all year long, and they’re probably not going to shoot 62% inside the arc, either. Forcing a turnover on 32% of defensive possessions? Not happening. Holding opponents to an effective field goal percentage of 40%? Even less likely.
See? They’re not going to slice and dice foes like that all year. It’s just not going to happen.
However..... the mindset that got them to those stats can be replicated all year long. That’s a thing that Carolyn Kieger can instill in her squad game in and game out. More importantly, with the style that Kieger likes to play, that kind of attacking mindset can have an impact on their overall play. Can they get assists on 65% of their made buckets in every game? Maybe?! They were at 52% last season, and again, Kieger’s uptempo style lends itself to hitting the open player while everyone’s in motion.
By the way, this game is part of the first round of the Preseason WNIT. Marquette has announced that they’ll be hosting a second round game on Sunday afternoon, but, uh, well, at least according to this rundown from the WNIT people, that definitely requires Marquette to win on Friday night. The Golden Eagles are definitely favored to win, but, y’know, weird things happen.
Game #2: vs Montana State Bobcats (1-0)
Believe it or not, Marquette actually has two previous meetings against the Bobcats, and perhaps more weirdly, neither of them were in Milwaukee. MSU won the first one, which came as part of the 1994 Junkanoo Shootout in the Bahamas, while the Golden Eagles took the second one out in Bozeman as part of the Wingate Classic.
Okay, so look. Montana State is officially 1-0 on the season, but thats because they’re counting a game against an NAIA school as a regular season contest. I don’t really count non-D1 games as real games even when they get counted in the official record, but it’s the only game that they have right now. So yay to them for their 64-48 victory.
MSU is picked to finish fifth in the Big Sky conference preseason coaches poll, but sixth in the same poll conducted through members of the media. The Bobcats may be weirdly well prepared to face Marquette, as they have not one, but two transfers from Seton Hall on the roster. Both Claire Lundberg and Martha Kuderer made the move to MSU at the same time following the 2016-17 season, so this will be their first contest against a D1 team since leaving South Orange. Lundberg was at Seton Hall for three years, while Kuderer was there for two, so both have been a part of preparing for Carolyn Kieger’s teams multiple times. Both women were in the starting lineup for MSU in their opener, with Lundberg tallying a game high 25 points.
Montana State presents an interesting curiosity for Marquette, as in the first five seasons out of the six in the Her Hoop Stats database, they were one of the 50 fastest teams in the country. However, last season was different, as all of a sudden they dropped to #272 in tempo. That’s quite the dip, especially when you consider that Tricia Binford has been the head coach in Bozeman for 14 years. They will probably aim for that type of speed again this year. They averaged 68 possessions per game last year and barely got to 64 possessions in their NAIA contest.