The Marquette Golden Eagles had a gutsy performance Sunday afternoon to defeat the Georgetown Hoyas. Four MU players were in double-figures as the Golden Eagles ended up winning a close win 71-68 on Senior Day. Since DePaul beat Villanova as well (bummer!), the Golden Eagles share the Big East lead with the Blue Demons at 13-3 in conference play heading into the final weekend of the regular season.
This game showed just how tough coach Carolyn Kieger’s side really is. Georgetown, if you recall, just knocked off DePaul on Friday night, so they came in riding high. In fact, the Hoyas are the only team that has beaten both the Golden Eagles and the Blue Demons this season, as they smacked Marquette by 27 in D.C. All that means, though, is that MU was coming into this game wanting revenge. They got it in the best way possible: After a an 8-0 start for Marquette, they cooled off and fell behind, and then they methodically took apart the Hoya defense to erase a deficit that was as high as seven late in the second quarter.
Junior forward Erika Davenport dropped in a layup to cut the deficit to five then blocked Mikayla Venison’s shot at the other end to spring free Natisha Hiedeman with the clock winding down in the second quarter. Hiedeman drove it all the way to the free throw line and then pulled up for a beautiful floater that went in and drew a foul, too. She couldn’t convert the old-fashioned three-point play, so MU was merely within three at the break. Although the Golden Eagles took some momentum into the half, the Hoyas did a good job of weathering the storm and led for most of the third quarter. It wasn’t until the final seconds of the third when the Golden Eagles pulled ahead of the Hoyas. Selena Lott had a nice heads up play to step in front of a pass and then was fouled as she went up for a layup at the other end. Lott hit both of her free throws and Marquette took a slim 49-47 lead into the fourth.
The fourth and third quarters were mirror images of each other except Marquette and Georgetown switched roles. The Golden Eagles would get ahead by a couple possessions only to see the Hoyas come back and keep the margin within a couple points. Georgetown just would not go away and actually got the lead with 1:39 remaining in the game when Dionna White converted her three-point play after getting fouled going up for a layup. This foul was Allazia Blockton’s fifth so MU would have to play crunch time without their best player after only getting less than six minutes of action from her in the second half.
Who would they go to in the closing moments of the game? Amani Wilborn stepped up in a big way on a tough drive to the basket and got her layup to fall to put Marquette up 67-66 with 1:16 left to play. Then MU played some timely defense and forced the Hoyas into some tough shots of which only Cynthia Pentke was able to score with four seconds left in the game. Both Danielle King and Natisha Hiedeman hit their free throws on both sides of Petke’s basket to put MU up three with three seconds left. Diona White’s half-court heave at the buzzer thankfully hit the back iron and Marquette got a well-deserved victory over Georgetown to end the home section of senior Shantelle Valentine’s collegiate career with a win.
Like I mentioned earlier, Marquette had four players in double-figures. Hiedeman and Blockton led the way with 15 points. Erika Davenport had a nice 11 point nine rebound effort, and Amani Wilborn also had 11 points — seven in the fourth quarter alone — and tacked on eight assists to be the player of the game in my opinion. After a rough first half, MU shot a nice 60.9% from the field in the second half, hitting 14 of their 23 shot attempts. A couple of areas of improvement for MU are ball security and free throws. The Hoyas are an active team defensively and deserve some credit but there’s still no reason you should be committing 18 turnovers in a game, not in a 74 possession game. MU also only hit 14 of their 28 free throws in the game and 11 of 23 in the second half, which was a big reason why the game stayed close.
All in all, good team win for the Golden Eagles in a game that could have gone the other way in the closing moments. They showed toughness and character to get the much needed victory. We have been watching three Golden Eagles move up the all-time scoring charts in program history. Allazia Blockton, Natisha Hiedeman, and Erika Davenport are all members of the 1,000 point club.
Blockton moved into 8th place all-time passing Christine Kennedy in the Villanova game Friday afternoon and now trails Lisa Oldenburg by 22 points for 7th place. All time. As a junior.
Natisha Hiedeman had a hot hand this weekend with 41 points in the two games and moved passed Beth Ayers for 19th all-time and now has 1,200 points. Hiedeman has a great chance of passing both Kerri Reaves and Courtney Romeiser who are three and four points away respectively. She will likely be Marquette’s 17th all-time scorer by the time the regular season is done. Her three point shooting prowess is also something to keep track of. Her 192 threes are fourth best all-time, while her 560 3-point attempts moves her passed Courtney Romeiser for fourth best in program history.
Erika Davenport passed Danielle Kamm for 23rd all-time in points scored and now has 1,102 in her career. Lori Goerlitz is next up with 1,133 points.
Up Next: Pay attention because this is very important. Marquette will conclude their regular season playing at Seton Hall (15-12, 7-9 Big East) and at St. John’s (16-11, 9-7 Big East) next weekend. DePaul will do the same, thanks to the Big East’s travel partner system, except play St. John’s first then Seton Hall (obviously). The Golden Eagles need to win out and hope the Pirates or the Johnnies can steal one from the Blue Demons in order to leave no doubt about who gets the #1 seed in the Big East tournament. Independent of what DePaul does though, if MU wins out they will have a top 2 seed in the Big East tournament, and a tie for 1st in the regular season still counts as a title for the Golden Eagles. Either way, you should gear up for a fun weekend of great basketball. Both Marquette and DePaul will be looking to lock up that top seed in the Big East.