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A Not Completely Happy Ending: #8 Marquette 93, Villanova 55

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The Golden Eagles rampaged past the Wildcats, but questions loom for the health of the team.

Natisha Hiedeman
Natisha Hiedeman has this whole basketball thing figured out.
Facebook.com/MarquetteWBB

Outside of the first five minutes, #8 Marquette women’s basketball handed Villanova a one-sided stomping as they bounced back from an 8-7 deficit early to win, 93-55. Marquette is now a perfect 12-0 in Big East play, and their magic number for a regular season conference championship is down to merely two.

No one should ever be surprised when a basketball game starts out back-and-forth, no matter who is playing in it. You could have the best team in the country against the worst team in the country, and if it was all tied up at 10, no one would be surprised. Villanova taking a 4-0 lead on Marquette, as well as an 8-7 lead? No big deal. The Golden Eagles then closed the first quarter on an 18-4 run, and they were officially off to the races.

That run turned into 22-4 after the first two baskets of the second quarter, and at the 4:05 mark, Lauren Van Kleunen put a defender in a spin cycle and gave Marquette their first 20 point lead of the game, 36-16. Shortly thereafter, Natisha Hiedeman threw what had to have been a 70 foot pass at least and landed it right into Isabelle Spingola’s hands in the deep corner for a three. That put Marquette up 22, and the lead would never go back under 20 again. It was a 25 point game at the half, and a 30 point game at the end of the third before finally settling on the 38 point margin at the final horn.

We do need to address two things that happened along the way in the runout of the second half. Late in the third quarter, Erika Davenport went down in a heap underneath Marquette’s basket and stayed there until the referees stopped play down on the other end. She went back to the locker room to get checked out and did not return to the bench. Shortly into the fourth quarter, Natisha Hiedeman ended up on the ground and staying there until the refs blew it dead because of her. Hiedeman appeared to have some sort of leg issue, but she walked off under her own power. She also went to the back to receive treatment, but made her return to the court eventually.

Obviously, Hiedeman’s injury in this game is much less significant than Davenport’s since she returned. However, Hiedeman took a whack to the head on Friday night and was never quite the same in that game. There is a certain amount of cumulative effect to be worried about, particularly when the Golden Eagles are beginning to gear up for the Big East tournament and trying making a run to the program’s first ever Sweet 16. We’ll see what happens with both women as the season goes along.

Even with the late game ding and time missed, Hiedeman still finished with a game high 22 points. She added eight rebounds, three on the offensive end, as well as five assists and a steal. After Friday’s out of sorts performance, this was another card on the pile for her candidacy for Big East Player of the Year. Davenport ended up playing just 13 minutes in this game, but just barely missed a double-double with eight points and eight rebounds. Danielle King did the devil’s work with six points, six rebounds, and six assists, and Allazia Blockton had 19 points off the bench and just barely missed a double-double with nine rebounds. We can’t really ignore Spingola’s effort here, as her 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting behind the arc played a big role.

How about some highlights, courtesy of the Big East Digital Network and GoMarquette.com?

Up Next: It’s time for perhaps the easiest road trip of the season. Marquette will be out in the New York City area next weekend, going to St. John’s (12-12, 5-8 Big East) on Friday night and visiting Seton Hall (14-10, 6-7 Big East) on Sunday afternoon. As alluded to above, if Marquette is lucky enough to run their league record to 14-0, they will clinch at least a share of a second straight Big East regular season title. As it stands, MU already can’t finish worse than third.