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That Escalated Quickly: #15 Marquette 91, Villanova 55

The Golden Eagles had nothing to worry about after a big second quarter.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Marquette at Notre Dame
Natisha Hiedeman has been unreal for Marquette in Big East play this season.
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The headline of the day is simple: #15 Marquette women’s basketball goes into Finneran Pavilion and comes away with a 91-55 victory over Villanova. Marquette moves to 4-0 in Big East action, keeping pace with Butler by keeping a zero in the loss column.

There’s essentially just two things from this game to discuss. The first is how Marquette went about building their lead. After a perfectly acceptable 21-19 first quarter that favored Marquette — hey, Villanova’s a quality club coming off an NCAA tournament appearance, it’s their building, it’s a weird start time, blah blah blah, I’ll take a two point lead after 10 minutes — things got flipped up on their head.

The following is a list of the results of Marquette’s offensive possessions to open the second quarter:

Basket by Selena Lott
Transition and-1 basket by Amani Wilborn
Three-pointer by Lott
Transition basket by Danielle King
Transition basket by King
Missed shot by Erika Davenport
Transition basket by Natisha Hiedeman
Three-pointer by Hiedeman
Pair of made free throws by Lott
Transition layup by Wilborn

I’ll save you the trouble of doing the math here, but that’s 21 points for the Golden Eagles taking them all the way through to the 4:05 mark of the second quarter when Wilborn’s layup drops through the net.

Villanova’s points in that stretch? Zero. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Bupkis.

That’s right, it was a 21-0 run by the Golden Eagles that blew the game open from a 21-19 interesting affair to a 42-19 shelling. Nova broke the run when Jannah Tucker split a pair of freebies, and then MU outscored VU by a relative meager 5-4 margin to close the half.

47-24 at the break, and then Marquette ripped off an 11-2 run early in the third to make it a 30 point ballgame for the first time. The Golden Eagles kept the lead right around 30 — sometimes it was 28, sometimes it was 32 — for the rest of the game before finally finishing with a 36 point victory.

So let’s go back to the first quarter for a moment. Competitive, up and down, both teams making good plays and good cuts to get open looks, it was fun. As is my custom, I didn’t travel to this game, so I can’t speak to what was or was not audible in the building. However, on the Big East Digital Network broadcast, something was very audible when Villanova won the opening tip and scored on the first possession of the game to take a 2-0 lead.

“OV-ER-RA-TED” [clap clap clapclapclap]

A collection of someones in The Finn started an overrated chant 25 seconds into the game because Villanova scored first against the #15 team in the country. At this point, it seems very important to point out that Villanova was hosting what they called an “Education Day” at the arena. Here’s VU’s own website’s explanation of the event:

The reason for the 11:30 a.m., start for Friday’s game against Marquette is due to the Education Day program that the Villanova women’s basketball program is hosting. Villanova is bringing 1,000 grade school students from various local schools for the event. The students will listen to featured speakers on various topics, including health & wellness, the importance of education and leadership. Following the educational portion of the day, the students will stay for the game between the Wildcats and Golden Eagles.

I’m going to go ahead and guess that two topics were not part of the various presentations.

  1. Chanting “overrated” at an opponent that you are beating only diminishes your accomplishment of beating them.
  2. Don’t piss off the team with an average scoring margin of +24.2 coming into the game.

By the way, the overrated chants drifted in and out throughout the first quarter and then magically disappeared after the second quarter started. I wonder why that is? Actually, I shouldn’t say they disappeared. With 8:28 left in the fourth quarter, Natisha Hiedeman stepped to the line and dropped in two free throws to make the score 77-45. One child chanted “overrated” at that point. Hilariously unbeknownst to that child, not only did the freebies put Marquette up 32, but it also gave Hiedeman 24 points in the game and thus push her past Arlesia Morse for the 10th most points in Marquette women’s basketball history. Double whammy of not only are you getting Ledeckyed, but the thing that just happened just confirmed the player involved as one of the all-time greats in that team’s history.

Do better next time, eastern Pennsylvania grade school students.

Hiedeman was the game’s leading scorer with 24 points along with five rebounds and four assists as she continued her fantastic hot streak with All-American candidate Allazia Blockton sidelined with an ankle injury. With Blockton going out after eight minutes of action in Big East play, Hiedeman is averaging 24.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 2.8 steals in conference games while shooting 47% from the field, 45% from the arc, and 88% from the free throw line. That’s nuts.

As fantastic as that sounds, Hiedeman might not have had the most impressive performance against Villanova. Danielle King didn’t miss a shot. 8-for-8 from the field, including one from behind the arc, a rebound, three assists, and two steals, both of which came during the 21-0 run. As great as Hiedeman has been without Blockton available, King has really stepped up her game as well. 16/4/3/2, with shooting splits of 67/57/89. I mean, WHAT?

Erika Davenport was quietly great, getting a double-double on 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Amani Wilborn just barely missed one with 13 points, nine rebounds, and six assists.

How about some highlights, courtesy of the Big East Digital Network and Sadly, most of the highlights are from the second quarter onwards, so you can’t hear the overrated chants.

Up Next: Marquette heads 150 miles southwest for their next game, a Sunday afternoon tilt with Georgetown. The Hoyas dropped to 8-8 on the year and 2-3 in Big East play after a 69-64 loss to DePaul on Friday night where Georgetown led by 13 at halftime. The Hoyas decimated Marquette in McDonough Arena last season, so I would wager that performance is a large part of MU head coach Carolyn Kieger’s discussions with her team between now and 1pm Central on Sunday.