Tuesday night in Brookings, South Dakota, saw 37 total turnovers, 37 personal fouls, 40 free throws attempted, and just 45 made shots combined, but when the final horn sounded, it was Marquette women’s basketball high-fiving after a 65-58 victory over South Dakota State. Marquette is now 8-2 on the year and undefeated away from the McGuire Center after wrapping up their four game jaunt away from home with their fourth straight win.
I won’t go so far as to say that things started as badly for Marquette as the entire game was bowling shoe ugly, but South Dakota State opened up the scoring with the first two buckets of the game, and they were up five points, 11-6, right about at the midway point of the first quarter. The Golden Eagles had four turnovers before they even attempted a shot in the game, and thankfully SDSU only turned that into four points out of the gate. The Golden Eagles would only turn it over one more time in the quarter, which explains a lot about why it was knotted up at 15 after 10 minutes.
That didn’t last anywhere near as long as you’d like, as the Jackrabbits scored the first seven points of the second quarter, but at least MU was only missing shots this time around. Selena Lott stemmed the tide with a layup, and that kicked off a 12-1 run by the Golden Eagles as they held the Jacks without a field goal for over seven minutes. For historical purposes, it was Camryn Taylor getting a bucket to fall with 3:04 left in the half that put Marquette out into the lead during the run. Lauren Van Kleunen scored with 31 seconds left in the quarter, and MU went to the locker room with a 29-26 lead.
Like I said, the game wasn’t particularly aesthetically pleasing.
SDSU punched back coming out of the break, as an and-1 layup from Tagyn Larson pulled the Jackrabbits back even at 31 apiece in the early going. Again, it was Taylor scoring the big buckets for the Golden Eagles, tallying the next two for MU to put her team back out in front by four. That was followed by a pair of freebies from Lott that gave the Golden Eagles a five point lead, 37-32, with 7:10 left in the third.
That’s as big as the lead got, though, as both teams started trading buckets back and forth. It was a two point lead for Marquette heading into the fourth, and after a bad 30 seconds by Selena Lott with a turnover and a defensive foul, Larson evened the game out with two free throws. 45-all, 9:27 to go.... and Lott immediately made up for it with a triple on a pass from Nirel Lougbo.
South Dakota State got even again at 50 each, and finally, Marquette got out in front for good on a bucket from Isabelle Spingola with 6:16 to play. Technically, Marquette never relinquished the lead that Taylor got them back in the second quarter, but they also never got distance from the Jacks.
They still didn’t here, as Marquette kept putting SDSU on the free throw line to keep pulling within one. Still, the fact that South Dakota State went nearly seven full minutes down the stretch without a field goal ended up benefiting MU when Tori Nelson missed two free throws with 43 seconds to go. That forced a fouling situation from the Jackrabbits, as MU led by three and SDSU had only committed two fouls in the quarter up until then. Selena Lott did her part at the other end, and four more free throws from Chloe Marotta in the final 30 seconds iced this one away for the Golden Eagles.
Lott and Marotta were your big scorers of the day, with both women shooting 50% from the field and tallying 15 and 14 points respectively. Lott added two rebounds, four assists, three blocks, and two steals for an absurdly efficient performance, while Marotta had six rebounds, including four on the offensive end. Camryn Taylor just missed out on a double-double, getting nine points and eight rebounds, and adding one each in the assist, steal, and block columns.
All told, Marquette didn’t shoot particularly well in the game, and they turned it over waaaaaay too much, even after that terrible start. However, they turned it over less than South Dakota State did, and the big difference for Marquette was their offensive rebounding. The Golden Eagles got to 44% of their missed shots against an SDSU squad that ranks in the top 50 in the country in defensive rebounding rate per HerHoopStats.com even after this game. Marotta and Taylor (4 for her) were the big stars in that department, and Altia Anderson added three grabs on the offensive end, too.
You can watch this highlight package from GoJacks.com if you want, but it’s about 95/5 split on SDSU highlights and MU highlights, with I believe just three MU buckets in it. Everything in it is from the same camera under the South Dakota State rim, too.
Up Next: FINALLY it’s time for Marquette to play at the McGuire Center again. They’ll be back in action on Saturday afternoon against Belmont for Christmas At The Al festivities. Be sure to wear your ugly Christmas sweater to the game, as there will be a contest for best (worst?) attire. The Bruins are 5-5 on the season after beating Middle Tennessee last Saturday for their second straight victory.