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Marquette Women’s Basketball Preview: vs Illinois State

The Golden Eagles fire off their third game in the opening week of the season.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 31 Indiana State at Illinois State Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We’re two games into the Megan Duffy era at Marquette Golden Eagles, and after two quick games, we have a moment to catch our breath and take a peek at what the Golden Eagles have been doing well and maybe not so well so far. This is just a collection of thoughts about what I’m seeing on through two games, and obviously, as more games get played and as the freshmen shake some of the jitters off, these can change.

  • Marquette is shooting it well. The Golden Eagles are hitting 51% of their shots inside the arc and 40% of the ones outside it. That has them ranked #47 in the country in the early goings, which is great, especially with so many freshmen. Selena Lott is doing a lot of the heavy lifting here at 92% and 54% respectively, but that’s a good start to the season for MU.
  • Marquette is rebounding very well. 51% of their rare misses are landing in Golden Eagle hands, and 81% of the opponent’s misses are as well. These are numbers that will not stand the test of time this season, but rebounding sometimes comes down to merely trying hard. The fact that Duffy has the women trying hard to get those caroms is what’s important and what will carry over long term.
  • Marquette is sharing the ball well. That’s both good and bad. They’re hitting the open woman for a bucket to the tune of assisting on 72% of their makes. However, the sharing applies to letting the other team have it in the form of turnovers. MU is giving it away on 20% of their possessions, which is not going to be helpful. Again, lots of freshmen, lots of key minutes being played by freshmen, so jitters may be a major factor here.
  • Marquette isn’t allowing free throws or three-pointers. HHS has them in the top 60 in both of those rates at this point of the year, so that’s a good start. That is going to be incredibly tested on Sunday afternoon, at least in theory, so we’ll see if good solid defense still shines through.

On top of things being early at this point of the season, there’s also the issue of Marquette winning both of their games fairly handily by the final horn. Winning by 20 goes a long way towards making your underneath stats look pretty good. Sunday’s opponent had perhaps their best season this decade a year ago, so that might mean it could also be MU’s toughest test of the year so far.

Game #3: vs Illinois State Redbirds (0-0)

Date: Sunday, November 10, 2019
Time: 2pm Central
Location: Al McGuire Center
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

Believe it or not, Marquette is 1-2 all time against Illinois State. The two teams split a home-and-home series in 1992 and 1993 with both sides winning in their own barn, and then ISU won in Normal in 2009 as well.

This will actually be the first Division 1 game of the season for Illinois State. They followed up an exhibition win against Lindenwood with a regular season contest against Truman State. I don’t know what you can really take away from a 27 point win against a Division 2 team, but it’s all we have to work from as far as figuring out what the Redbirds are this season. Having not seen the game (obviously) it stands out that only 15 of ISU’s 73 field goal attempts (21%) from behind the three-point line. That’s pretty low, and given that they only had four fast break points, that kind of ratio indicates that it’s a coaching decision and not a by-product of how the game shook out. For further evidence, please note that they connected on just two of their 15 long range attempts.

Illinois State had three players in double digits in that Truman State game. Two of them were the result of extremely accurate shooting, and one was not. The one that was not is the one to pay attention to here, as that is TeTe Maggett. The 5’8” senior guard is ISU’s lone representative on the five player preseason all-Missouri Valley team. That’s definitely good news for Maggett, as well as for Illinois State. The Redbirds were picked to finish sixth in the 10 team league, but they still have one of the five best players.

Against Truman State, Maggett went 9-for-22 from the field. That’s not super great, especially when three of her misses account for all of her attempts from behind the three-point line. She obviously has a bit of a green light from head coach Kristen Gillespie, so if Marquette can take Maggett out of rhythm, that should work wonders for the Golden Eagles.

Last season, ISU was exceptional at getting to the line (#14 in free throw rate, per and getting points while they were there (#10 in points from free throws). With a very very young Marquette roster, maintaining defensive discipline will be crucial in this game, as the Redbirds can be counted on to deploy roughly the same tactics that got them those rankings a year ago.