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Marquette Women’s Basketball Preview: vs Villanova & vs Georgetown

The Golden Eagles close out the home schedule with revenge on their minds.

NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall at Villanova Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

This is a big weekend for Big East women’s basketball.

First place DePaul Blue Demons (12-2) and second place Marquette Golden Eagles (11-3) are both hosting third place Villanova Wildcats (10-4) as part of their final two home games of the season. That alone would be enough to give us a nice taste of drama this weekend.

Here’s where it gets interesting: DePaul has only lost twice, once on the road to Marquette, and once on the road.... to Villanova. More importantly, that game up on the Main Line was a bit of a boatracing, with the Wildcats getting the 84-58 victory. Even more interesting: Marquette’s three losses this season are on the road against DePaul, at home against Creighton..... and on the road against Georgetown Hoyas. The Hoyas are the travel partner for the Wildcats, so that means that Georgetown will be coming into Milwaukee for the return bout with Marquette. Not only did Georgetown beat the Golden Eagles, but that game was also a bit of a boatracing, 85-58.

I’m kind of fascinated by those outlier losses for the top two teams in the Big East coming with so similar scores, just two days apart.

Anyway, the point is thus: Both DePaul and Marquette have dropped games to their opponents for this weekend. Both DePaul and Marquette will be out for revenge. Marquette needs DePaul to drop a game at some point for the Golden Eagles to at least move back into a tie for the Big East regular season title, and there’s only four games left in the regular season now.

Villanova is going to come into the weekend full of vim and vigor on their own, as they are still in contention for the regular season title themselves, and they could also use a big win or two to help solidify their NCAA tournament at-large hopes.

There’s a lot going on. Hopefully it all leads to two Marquette victories.

Allazia Blockton Watch: The junior from Milwaukee is up to 1,603 career points. That has her in ninth place all time in program history, and just six points behind Christine Kennedy for eighth place. Blockton trails Marquette great Lisa Oldenburg by 52 points for seventh place. That seems like it’s a little far away, but Blockton is averaging 19 points per game, and 52 across two home games isn’t unreasonable. She also has the 11th most made free throws of all time with 312, which is just five away from Julie Sievers for 10th most and seven away from Katherine Plouffe for 9th most. Blockton’s 416 free throw attempts are nine away from Christine Kennedy for the 10th most in Marquette history.

Natisha Hiedeman Watch: The fun of watching Blockton go chasing after the all-time title is compounded by seeing Hiedeman go shooting up the charts along behind her. Hiedeman is now at 1,159 career points, which is the 20th best total of all time. Beth Ayers is up next at 1,176. Her 187 career three-pointers are the fourth most in program history, but I don’t think we have to worry about her catching Krystal Ellis at 214 this weekend. Hiedeman’s 546 long range attempts are the fifth most in program history, and I think she could probably catch Courtney Romeiser at 556 this weekend.

Erika Davenport Watch: The junior from Michigan is now a part of the 1,000 point club, currently sitting on 1,075 points. That’s good enough for 24th best all time, and Danielle Kamm is just four points away. She’s also doing damage on the all-time rebounding list, surpassing Kamm for 11th place all time with 704. Sarina Simmons is 10th at 729, which may be a little too far away for this weekend.

Big East Game #15: vs Villanova Wildcats (20-5, 10-4)

Date: Friday, February 16, 2018
Time: 11:30am Central
Location: Al McGuire Center, Milwaukee, WI
Streaming: Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go
Live Stats: GameTracker
Special Promotion: Faculty and staff get in FOR FREE with their MUIDs, and there will be FREE PIZZA for students, faculty and staff to take in some hoops with their lunch hour. There will also be a bunch of local elementary and middle school kids on a field trip in attendance.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

Marquette is 11-9 all time against Villanova. The Golden Eagles have won three straight against the Wildcats now after suffering through a four game losing streak.

Since these two teams last met, Villanova hasn’t lost. The Wildcats have rattled off five straight wins to keep themselves in contention for the Big East title. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, though. One week after their first meeting with Marquette, Villanova needed to fend off Butler down the stretch for a 69-67 victory. Next time out, Villanova was up eight with 2:24 to play, but had to hold on to win, 68-67, against Georgetown. After a 17 point win over St. John’s, Seton Hall was down double digits for most of the second half, but Kaela Hilaire dropped a layup to cut the lead to six with 28 seconds left. No one else would score for the rest of the game, but that’s still not great, considering that VU was up 18 early in the third quarter. FUN FACT: Neither team broke 60 in this contest, as Villanova won 59-53.

As befitting a team with the ninth slowest tempo in the country, Villanova does not have a very impressive dominant scorer. Instead, however, they have three players averaging 11.5 points per contest, and a fourth at 11.2 ppg. Marquette is probably going to have to do a bit of chasing around to stop the Wildcats from shooting, as they rank 6th in the country in terms how many of their shots come from behind the three-point line.

The good news about VU launching nearly 47% of their shots from long range is that they don’t have anyone who’s particularly outstanding at it. Adrianna Hahn is the most likely launching pad, with 153 attempts on the season, and she’s only shooting 36%. That is pretty good, but it’s not great. Jannah Tucker has launched over 130 shots from long range, and she’s only connecting on 36% as well. These aren’t great numbers, but Villanova makes up for it in pure volume of shots for Hahn and Tucker.

Marquette is going to have to pay attention to Alex Louin if they want to win. In addition to leading the team in rebounding at 6.8 per contest, she’s also a fairly competent shooter (45% overall), both inside and outside. Louin is good for about three long range attempts per game, but less than one per game (31% on the season) actually falls in for her. She’s also second on the team behind Hahn for assists this season. Contain her and take Louin out of the play, and then you’re onto something.

Big East Game #16: vs Georgetown Hoyas (11-13, 6-8)

Date: Sunday, February 18, 2018
Time: 2pm Central
Location: Al McGuire Center, Milwaukee, WI
Television: Fox Sports Wisconsin
Streaming: Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go
Live Stats: GameTracker
Special Promotion: It’s Senior Day, so Shantelle Valentine will be honored in a pre-game ceremony. Also, the first 500 fans in attendance will receive a Marquette tote bag.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

Marquette is 14-4 all time against Georgetown, however the Hoyas snapped a three game MU winning streak with a #BEATEMDOWN in the earlier meeting this season.

Since MU crashed and burned at McDonough Arena back on January 19, things have been kind of all over the place for Georgetown. They lost their next game as DePaul asserted control over the league standings, but then won their next two. That aforementioned squeaker of a victory over Villanova was there for their next game, and last weekend, they split a set of home dates against Seton Hall and St. John’s. The Hoyas ran away from the Pirates late in that one, but ended up taking a nine point loss to St. John’s in their most recent contest. The Red Storm pretty much had control of that one from the get-go, thus handing Georgetown their eighth Big East loss of the season.

In the first meeting between the two squads, two things worked in Georgetown’s favor. First, Marquette shot the ball in a horrible fashion. They finished the game with an effective field goal percentage of just 35%, well down from their usual 50%. The other thing was Marquette’s atrocious level of turnovers. The Golden Eagles threw the ball away on 25% of their possessions in the game, and MU is usually one of the more sure handed teams in the county, according to Her Hoops Stats. Only one of these things was related to what Georgetown was doing. HHS says that GU ranks #252 in the country in eFG% defense, so the lousy shooting by the Golden Eagles was really just them being off for the day. Turnovers, however, are something that Georgetown is good at. They rank #36 in the country in turnover rate, so MU will have to keep careful track of the basketball this time around.

With all of that working against Marquette, it didn’t take much to beat the Golden Eagles. Cynthia Petke went for 26 points and 13 rebounds, even though she’s only averaging 13 and nine. Dionna White assembled a 17/7/5 with four steals, which sounds pretty great, but it’s essentially right on average for the junior who leads the Hoyas in scoring. Marquette won’t really need to do much different on defense to beat Georgetown, but if they can shoot better and keep track of the ball on offense better than last time, it should result in a very happy final home game of the season.