Ever watched a basketball game end in less than six minutes?
I did exactly that on Saturday.
At the 4:23 mark of the first quarter, a layup by Marquette’s Natisha Hiedeman put the #19 ranked Golden Eagles up 12-0 on Green Bay at the McGuire Center. Phoenix head coach Kevin Borseth called timeout but it was to little avail. Green Bay had turned the ball over three times and missed their first eight shots as Marquette jumped out that early lead on their way to an 80-54 win. The Golden Eagles are now 8-2 on the season and continue to dominate every opponent in their way that’s not a ranked team.
I mean, of course Green Bay scored next, and they actually scored the next five points of the game to trim the lead to seven. Didn’t matter. Marquette answered with the next seven going the other way to lead by 14, and after GB closed the period with a triple from Anna Brecht to shift the margin to 11 at the start of the second, MU never led by less than 14 again. Allazia Blockton extended her Marquette career scoring record with a triple to crack open the second quarter, and that was the end of Green Bay for the day. Marquette would eventually lead by as many as 30 early in the third quarter, and while the Phoenix found a way to pull it back to 18 with 3:31 left in the frame, Marquette led by at least 20 for the entire fourth quarter.
Like I said, this game was over after that 12-0 run. If there is one thing that is very clear this season, Carolyn Kieger’s Golden Eagles squad is not here for anyone’s foolishness. They experienced two late but always futile rallies against Milwaukee and Michigan, and that vague sense of “oh, man, we’re losing the handle on this” in those two contests has woken Marquette up even further. It is nonstop aggression from this squad as they are quite clearly hellbent on delivering the program’s first ever Sweet 16 appearance when March rolls around.
The most devastating part of the whole experience for Green Bay has to be how this actually broke down for Marquette. Isabelle Spingola was carrying the heavy load for MU, knocking down five of her nine three point attempts to finish with 17 points after going 4-for-6 in the first half. She was leading all scorers in the game at the half, and with all due respect to her, she is Marquette’s sixth option in the offense at best. When you’re getting torched by the sixth option on the roster, it has to be the most frustrating thing possible. “Hey, look, we’re doing all of these things really well! They have all sorts of all-Big East players in the starting lineup and we’re holding them in check!” All good points, except for the part where you were losing 44-19 at the half because Spingola was unconscious from deep.
She ended up not leading MU in scoring on the day as Natisha Hiedeman had a big second half to close with 18 points. Hiedeman also grabbed up seven rebounds, slung four assists, and snared three steals for a very nice all around afternoon. Blockton had a quiet 13/3/4 in just 26 minutes.
Up Next: It’s a pretty quick turnaround for Marquette as they’ll return to the court on Monday night to host Binghamton. The Bearcats are 5-5 on the season after losing 62-57 to Rider back on December 8th. They’ll actually be stopping in South Bend on Sunday afternoon to tangle with #2 Notre Dame before getting to Milwaukee on Monday night. I get maximizing the value of your road trips, but going back-to-back days against Notre Dame and Marquette sounds like absolutely no fun, especially when MU wants to try to run you out of the building anyway.