Coming into the weekend, Marquette women’s basketball needed just one win to lock up the #1 seed in the Big East tournament and clinch at least a share of the regular season title. After things were delayed by a loss to Butler on Friday, the #11 ranked Golden Eagles celebrated at center court with the Big East trophy following a 79-53 victory over Xavier. Marquette is now 23-5 overall and 14-2 in Big East action.
DePaul is the team that’s currently preventing Marquette from claiming the Big East title outright at this point. The Blue Demons are 12-4 in league play after knocking off Butler, 76-62, at Wintrust Arena on Sunday. Both teams have two games left on the schedule, and it’s the worst road trip in the league: at Providence and at Creighton, both in less than 48 hours. Any combination of a Marquette win or a DePaul loss will give the Golden Eagles the outright title, but with the #1 seed in the tournament already locked up, it’s really more about bragging rights than anything else now for MU.
We could talk about the actual heres and theres of the game, but there’s not much of a point to it. Marquette took a 10 point lead for the first time with 1:31 left in the first quarter with a triple from Allazia Blockton. Not coincidentally, the three points gave Blockton exactly 2,100 career points, making her the first ever Marquette basketball player to hit that mark. Anyway, the point is that 25-15 was the score at the end of the quarter, and after A’riana Gray broke the ice on the second quarter to make it an eight point game, Amani Wilborn scored to make it 27-17 and the lead never went back to single digits. The game busted wide open when MU used a pair of free throws from Danielle King at the end of the first half to kick off a 13-0 scoring run bridging intermission. And so on and so forth.
The biggest news coming out of the afternoon at the McGuire Center was Marquette picking up the win to lock up the regular season championship in the record book. The second biggest news was the appearance of Erika Davenport in a hip to ankle brace and on crutches. After the game, head coach Carolyn Kieger confirmed that the injury that Davenport suffered on Friday against Butler was as bad as it appeared then and with Davenport braced up like that. Her collegiate career is officially over.
Coach Carolyn Kieger on Erika Davenport's status for the rest of the season: "She'll be done for the year." #muwbb— Dan Avington (@davington916) February 24, 2019
Erika Davenport finishes her Golden Eagle career with 1,494 points, 13th most in program history, and 1,041 rebounds, fourth most in program history. All three women in front of her on the rebounding chart are also in front of her in the scoring chart, so Davenport is one of just four women in MU history to tally 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
Back to the game for a moment. It was Senior Day at the McGuire Center as well, and Natisha Hiedeman led Marquette in scoring in her final home game with 21 points. She had a double-double with 10 rebounds, and chipped in four assists, three blocks, and two steals as well. Blockton had a double-double in her final home game, going for 16 points and 11 rebounds with five assists, too. Danielle King had 15 points, four rebounds, seven assists, and two steals, and Amani Wilborn had 13 points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals. In other words, the four active core seniors all went out on a high note. Team captain Sandra Dahling earned the start in place of Davenport, knocking together 18 minutes of action and chipping in two assists. It was very clear at the end of the game that the squad wanted to get Dahling a bucket before Kieger lifted her from the game for an ovation in her final game, but it never quite came together.
How about some highlights, courtesy of the Big East Digital Network and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: Marquette will close out the regular season next weekend, starting with Creighton in Omaha on Friday night before heading to Rhode Island to play Providence to wrap things up. Both games will be streamed on the Big East Digital Network.