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Test Passed: #15 Marquette 72, Georgetown 62

The Golden Eagles have made it through three weeks of Big East play with nary a loss in sight.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Marquette at Notre Dame
Erika Davenport recorded her second straight double-double in Sunday’s game.
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, Marquette women’s basketball took an undefeated Big East record into McDonough Arena and came away with a horrendous loss. This year, MU brought a #15 ranking in the AP poll with them, and while Sunday afternoon’s contest against Georgetown could not be called “fun” on any level, Carolyn Kieger’s squad did come away with the 72-62 victory. They’re now 14-3 overall this season and 5-0 in Big East play. That has them in a perfect tie with Butler atop the conference standings with everyone else in the league taking at least two losses already.

As mentioned, this game was not fun, and nothing explains that further than the first quarter. Heck, let’s extend that out to the first 14 minutes of the game. At the end of the first quarter, Marquette trailed 13-7 and had shot just 3-for-15 through that point. The good news was that Georgetown wasn’t lighting the world on fire either, shooting 6-for-16 and still very much within shouting distance of the struggling Golden Eagles. That changed as the second quarter got underway, as the Hoyas opened up a 14 point lead all before Marquette even got to 10 points in the game. As the saying goes, it’s not what you want.

However, from the 5:44 mark of the second period, where Erika Davenport made a pair of free throws to move MU from nine points to 11 in the game, the Golden Eagles returned that 23-9 margin right back at the Hoyas — yes, in just 5 minutes and 44 seconds — to even the game at 32-all as the two sides headed to the locker room for the intermission. The third quarter kept the momentum going for Marquette as they scored the first eight points of the second half to create a 14-0 run that bridged halftime. For a brief moment there, it looked like the Golden Eagles team that had been ripping through opponents in league play was up and running.

But, no, for whatever reason, James Howard’s Hoyas cranked up the kryptonite level, and that eight point lead was down to just one near the end of the quarter, and a pair of free throws for Dorothy Adomako had the game tied up at 51 with just over nine minutes to play.

Like I said, not fun.

Neither side gained anything of a true advantage for most of the fourth quarter. Adomako tossed in two more from the stripe, but free throws from Danielle King pulled MU even at 53. Marquette would score, Georgetown would tie it, etc. etc. A free throw from Natisha Hiedeman with 2:32 remaining gave Marquette their first two possession lead since late in the third quarter, and that’s when the wheels started coming off for Georgetown. The Hoyas had shot 7-for-23 (30.4%) from behind the arc to that point, and for whatever reason, they decided that firing off a few more was their best option. Mix in an offensive foul as well, and all of a sudden Marquette was up eight with 35 seconds left, and after four ice water free throws by Danielle King in the final 15 seconds, that was pretty much that.

By no means was this a stellar offensive game for Marquette, as they shot 37% from the field and just 25% from long range. Only six players scored, and all five starters scored at least nine points. Natisha Hiedeman finished with a team high 20 points, shooting a pretty great 6-of-12 to get that done, including 3-of-8 from behind the arc. The fact that she didn’t shoot more given what she was doing tells you a lot about what Georgetown was doing to shut down the Green Bay native who has been white hot with Allazia Blockton out of the lineup with an ankle injury. Erika Davenport added her second straight double-double before fouling out late, putting up exactly 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Up Next: Marquette returns to the McGuire Center for their next two games in the usual Friday/Sunday split. Seton Hall (11-5, 3-2) comes in for Marquette’s annual Milwaukee Public Schools Day following two wins over the weekend against Creighton and Providence, while St. John’s (8-8, 1-4) comes in having lost their last three games and will stop in Chicago to play DePaul on Friday night.