With star junior Selena Lott sidelined due to injury, Marquette women’s basketball got a pair of 18 point performances from Lauren Van Kleunen and Isabelle Spingola on Thursday night at the McGuire Center. However, that wasn’t enough to push the Golden Eagles across the finish line, as Northwestern left town with a 64-56 overtime victory over Marquette. The Golden Eagles are now 3-1 on the season, and the loss is the first under the direction of head coach Megan Duffy.
Okay, let’s get get right to it: The game was bad.
This wasn’t a Virginia men’s basketball type of outing where pace of play was methodic and well thought out and things were executed wonderfully and there just weren’t a lot of points scored. Northwestern shot 37% from the field in the game, while Marquette shot 39%. The two teams combined for 40 turnovers, with Marquette doing more than their fair share with 24 giveaways in the 45 minutes of action. The game was bad.
Ultimately, I think this may have said a lot more about Northwestern, who returned their top four scorers from a WNIT runner-up team a year ago, than it did about Marquette. The Golden Eagles are a wildly inexperienced team, and with Lott, MU’s clear best player as evidenced by her preseason all-Big East honors, sitting this one out, Marquette was even more inexperienced than they were in the first three games of the season. Yeah, it was a bad looking game with a bunch of bad basketball being played..... and yet Marquette was down just four at the start of the fourth quarter, 36-32.
Three triples out of the gate in the fourth quarter by Spingola partnered with a fast break bucket from Altia Anderson suddenly flipped that around, giving Marquette a 43-40 lead with 8:04 left to go. Then it was Van Kleunen’s turn, giving the Golden Eagles two crucial buckets in the middle of the quarter to hold the Wildcats at bay.
MU held a 51-49 lead with 2:37 left to go, and the end result here is that the Golden Eagles would not score again for the rest of regulation. The path that they took to get there was twisty, though. The two teams traded misses back and forth for a bit, and MU had the ball with 65 seconds to play, still up two, inbounding in front of their own bench. Northwestern elected to foul to push things towards the bonus, and then a tipped pass led to a scramble and a held ball in the back court. With just six seconds left to get a shot off, Marquette inbounded and advanced quickly.... and Anderson just lost control of it.
And then Northwestern immediately threw it back to the Golden Eagles.
And then Spingola was called for traveling.
And then Northwestern threw a bad pass that was tipped out of bounds by Anderson.
And then NU’s Veronica Burton scored on a curling drive into the lane, tying it at 51.
And then Marquette called timeout to advance it to the other end, couldn’t get it in and called timeout again, and then lost it on the inbound pass.
That was pretty much the end of Marquette’s chances. The Wildcats got the first four points of overtime, both from Lindsey Pulliam, coming on NU’s first two shots of the extra session. Jordan King stemmed the tide by splitting a pair of freebies, and then Pulliam added four more with two from the charity stripe and a layup. Seven point Northwestern lead, 2:45 to go, and that was that.
Spingola and LVK both added six rebounds to their top scoring marks for Marquette, with Van Kleunen chipping in four assists and two steals, too. Anderson had six points, 11 rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
Up Next: Well, things get a little bit more difficult. On Tuesday night, MU will take their first road trip of the season, heading up north to face Green Bay. The Phoenix are 1-1 this season after a double OT win on the road against Central Michigan and a 66-60 win at home against South Dakota. Green Bay is the favorite to win the Horizon League this year, marking 12 straight seasons where they have been the preseason pick to win it.