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Halfway There: #10 Marquette 87, Butler 58

The Golden Eagles left no doubt after halftime as to who the dominant force in the Big East is.

Natisha Hiedeman
Go ahead. Let Natisha Hiedeman shoot it. See what happens.

On Sunday afternoon, #10 ranked Marquette women’s basketball got a chance to square off against the second place team in the Big East, Butler. For the first 20 minutes, it looked like that the Bulldogs were going to get to use home court advantage to help them give the Golden Eagles a fight, if not pull the upset.

The second 20 minutes? Different story.

MU outscored Butler 51-27 after halftime, including a 12-0 run coming out of the locker room, to generate the momentum they needed to end up with an 87-58 victory. Marquette has now finished their first pass against every other team in the Big East with a perfect 9-0 record. Perhaps more importantly, with MU knocking off Butler here, every other team in the Big East has at least three losses. The Golden Eagles find themselves firmly in the driver’s seat as they head into the second half of the league slate.

It looked like the game was going to get out of hand right off the bat. MU jumped out to a 6-0 lead, and that lead quickly became 10-2, and then 14-4. That’s absolutely the start that Carolyn Kieger wanted for Marquette, but definitely not the start that Kurt Godlevske wanted for his Bulldogs. The remaining 4:40 of the first quarter? Much more to the liking of the BU faithful. Butler outscored Marquette 9-2 the rest of the way, and the Golden Eagles led by three, 16-13, after one quarter.

Marquette would extend that lead to six points on a triple from Natisha Hiedeman near the halfway point of the quarter, but with under three minutes left before halftime, that lead was gone. A bucket by Tori Schickel, Butler’s star center, knotted the whole thing up at 29 each and we had a whole new ballgame. In a sign of things to come, the Golden Eagles outscored Butler 7-2 over the final 2:30 of the half to lead 36-31 at the break.

Hiedeman carried the charge through halftime, knocking down a triple on an assist from Selena Lott to break the ice on the second half, and she got to take advantage of a Schickel turnover to punch the lead back into double digits at 41-31. That was the beginning of the end for Butler. A triple from Lott would break the 20 point margin for the first time with 5:59 left to go, and by the end of the third quarter, MU had outscored Butler 30-13 to take a 66-44 lead. From there, the fourth quarter was merely academic.

Even though Allazia Blockton is back on the active roster after returning from her ankle injury, it’s Hiedeman that did the major damage for the Golden Eagles here. She finished with 21 points on 6-of-12 shooting before fouling out after 29 minutes of action. With a 5-for-8 mark from behind the three-point line, Hiedeman posted a personal effective field goal percentage of 70.8%, which is just nuts. She added two rebounds, an assist, a block, and two steals.

Amani Wilborn finished with 13 points, four rebounds, and three assists, while Blockton had 16 points, four rebounds, and three assists off the bench. Erika Davenport’s double-double streak has come to an end, as she ended up with just six points and nine rebounds, even though Davenport scored the first two buckets of the game for the Golden Eagles.

Up Next: Marquette starts off the second pass through the Big East with their travel partner, so the Golden Eagles will have a full week off before their next game. They’ll visit DePaul next week Sunday afternoon, giving everyone an important Big East showdown as an appetizer for the Super Bowl. DePaul is coming off of an overtime victory against Xavier on Sunday afternoon that moved their Big East record to 6-3, even with Butler for second place.