By the time the final horn sounded 12 minutes later, Marquette had won by 21, 90-69. The Golden Eagles turned the gas on late in the third quarter to easily coast to their 12th win in Big East play and 18th win of the season. Villanova falls to 20-6 and 10-5 in league action.
If we’re being honest, the turning point of the game was a 40 second spurt where Natisha Hiedeman accounted for seven Marquette points. First, it was her assist that gave Erika Davenport a layup with 87 seconds left in the third quarter, putting Maquette up four. Then, with 57 seconds left following a missed Mary Gedaka layup for Villanova, Danielle King hit her fellow junior for a triple, one of three in the game for Hiedeman. Villanova head coach Harry Perretta called timeout and exploded in anger at the nearest referee, apparently upset about a non-call on the Gedaka layup.
The ref calmly instructed Perretta to back up while she signaled the timeout that he had called, and then walked away, sending one of her partners to go talk to him. That conversation lasted approximately five second before Perretta was hit with a technical foul, so we can only imagine what he said to trigger such a quick whistle.
Hiedeman calmly stepped to the line and buried the freebies that Perretta had handed to Marquette. That turned it into a nine point game, and it was off to the races from there. MU was up seven when the fourth quarter started, up 13 two minutes into the fourth quarter, thanks to an Allazia Blockton layup, and up 16 at the midway point of the quarter on a three by Amani Wilborn. From there, King’s three-pointer to push the lead to its maximum in the game of 23 in the closing minutes was just tacking on for tacking on’s sake.
It was a really great basketball contest for the first 28 minutes, by the way. Marquette and Villanova were tied at 10 different points, and there were 10 lead changes. The Wildcats were leading the game for a total of more than eight minutes, which sounds patently absurd given that they lost by 21. It’s completely true, though.
Fittingly, given her role in the takeover, Hiedeman finished as the game’s leading scorer with 26 points. She was a fireball all game long, shooting 10-14 overall, with three of her misses coming on 3-of-6 shooting from behind the arc. She tacked on three rebounds, two assists, and two steals for a very good all-around game. Danielle King might have had the best game of anyone on either team, going for 15 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists. Seven rebounds is a metric ton for the 5’5” lead guard, and speaks volumes to how well Marquette can perform when the Golden Eagles are operating at their peak values of sharing the responsibility of making the best play at all times.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and the Big East Digital Network?
Up Next: Well, I tell you what, things got very interesting for the Golden Eagles after this game wrapped up. MU played a matinee game in order to host school kids from around the Milwaukee area for the game, which meant that it was long since over when the rest of the league tipped off at night. What happened at night was Georgetown going into Lincoln Park and knocking off first place DePaul, moving the Blue Demons into a tie for first place with Marquette at 12-3. Those self same Hoyas are coming into the McGuire Center on Sunday afternoon, and they were already coming into the weekend with the mindset that they could beat Marquette. Georgetown issued a #BEATEMDOWN on the Golden Eagles back in mid-January, and the Hoyas have their own standings concerns as well. They’re currently in sixth place and would certainly like to avoid the first day doubleheader of the Big East tournament.
Oh, and it’s Senior Day for Shantelle Valentine, so you should probably make sure you’re in the McGuire Center nice and early, or at least watch on Fox Sports Wisconsin.