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Marquette Women’s Basketball Moves To 3-0

Let’s try to not ask specifics about the “how” against Illinois State.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Marquette vs DePaul
Lauren Van Kleunen came up big for the Golden Eagles against Illinois State
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Powered by 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting from Lauren Van Kleunen, Marquette women’s basketball picked up their third win of the season on Sunday afternoon. MU is now 3-0 on the year, as well as 3-0 under new head coach Megan Duffy. While it’s a little too early to say anything definitive about strength of schedule, what we know for sure is that the young and relatively inexperienced Golden Eagles have put up margins of victory of 22, 21, and 17 in their three wins. No matter who is on the other end of the court, that’s a good achievement for a team that has very little experience playing together as a group no matter which five women are on the court together.

Oh, the specifics of the win. Oh, right.


Marquette beat Illinois State, 58-41, in a game that had 64 possessions.

It was.... not.... great viewing.

Both teams turned it over on more than 20% of their possessions, with Marquette “only” coughing it up on 20.3% and thus holding the advantage there. In addition to that, Marquette was able to capitalize on the Illinois State mistakes, turning 15 turnovers into 15 points. Can’t really beat a one point per possession average there. ISU couldn’t do the same on the other end, taking MU’s 13 turnovers and getting just six points out of them.

Marquette held ISU to an effective field goal percentage of just 28.8%. The Redbirds shot a very terrible 2-for-19 from behind the arc in the game, and weren’t much better inside. They were 14-for-40 and that’s with a game plan that appears to generally speaking be designed to want to take the ball inside.

Marquette wasn’t particularly great on the offensive end, assembling an eFG% of their own of just 48.2%. However, they were taking what Illinois State was giving them, going 3-for-9 from behind the arc and 22-for-46 inside it. Not wrecking ball type numbers, but in a low possession game like this one, it’ll work just fine.

The game shifted for good coming out of the locker room. Marquette was up 32-20 at the break, fending off ISU trimming their lead to single digits repeatedly in the second quarter. The Redbirds got a bucket from TeTe Maggett to break the ice on the second half, but 11 of the next 13 points came from the Golden Eagles. Maggett mixed in another basket in there, but when Nirel Lougbo bombed in one of MU’s three triples in the game with 3:50 left to go in the quarter, MU was up 19, 43-25.

Illinois State immediately answered with four straight of their own, but that 15 point margin would be as close as it would get the rest of the way. Van Kleunen’s last basket of the game briefly gave Marquette a 21 point advantage, their largest of the afternoon, and eventually the score settled out where it did at the final horn.

With such a muted score at the end, there aren’t a lot of jump off the page lines in the box score. Jordan King had nine points and five assists along with a rebound, two blocks and a steal. Isabelle Spingola countered an 0-for-2 day behind the arc with four rebounds and six assists. Chloe Marotta and Altia Anderson took advantage of all of the missed shots by Illinois State to combine for 16 rebounds between them.

Up Next: Well, it’s time to turn up the volume on the schedule a little bit. Things are going to get much more difficult for Marquette over the next three games, so we’ll see where Duffy has the Golden Eagles. First up is Big Ten foe Northwestern, returning a date in Evanston from last season. The Wildcats are 1-0 on the season after beating Loyola Maryland, 67-46, in their ..... wait, is this right? In their season opener ON SUNDAY? They played an exhibition game AFTER Marquette opened their season on Tuesday? The hell are y’all doing down there?