2019 BIG EAST WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINALS
#1 Marquette Golden Eagles (24-6, 15-3 Big East) vs #9 St. John’s Red Storm (15-15, 7-11 Big East)
Date: Sunday, March 10, 2019
Time: Noon Central
Location: Wintrust Arena, Chicago, IL
Television: FS2, with John Fanta, Kim Adams, & Meghan Caffrey on the call
Streaming: Fox Sports Go
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
All-Time Series: Marquette leads, 12-10
Season Series: 1-1, with both teams winning at home.
UPDATE (3/10, 8:20am): Marquette Wire’s Dan Avington reports that Danielle King is active for this game. No word as to how much action she’ll get, but that at least means she’s available to play.
Marquette lost to three teams in league play this season. They lost to just one team while healthy and at full power. That one team is, of course, none other than St. John’s.
Back on February 15th, we were still one week away from Erika Davenport blowing her knee out against Butler. Marquette was fully functional and operation when they went to Carnesecca Arena and came away with an 81-74 loss. The Golden Eagles led that game by 14 early in the second quarter and by eight at the half. It was all downhill from there, essentially, as Marquette had to get a bucket from Erika Davenport to tie the game heading to the fourth quarter. MU would earn a four point lead early in the final frame before the Johnnies ran them out of the building over the final five minutes or so.
The meeting in Milwaukee wasn’t a picnic, either. It had largely the same story: Marquette got a big lead early-ish and the Red Storm came back from that. The lead in this case was 15 points late in the second and even mid-way through the third. SJU would trim that lead down to just four repeatedly in the fourth quarter before good old fashioned free throw shooting helped Marquette salt away the win.
Erika Davenport was a major factor in both games. In Milwaukee, she had 20 points and 16 rebounds along with three assists and a steal. In the return bout, Davenport went for 24 points and 13 rebounds, and added an assist and a block. But the Golden Eagles will definitely be without her services on Sunday afternoon, as her knee injury has ended her collegiate career. The Golden Eagles were only partially successful when getting that kind of output from Davenport, and now they’re going to have to figure out how to replace that kind of effort if they want to see the semifinals on Monday night.
To make matters worse, Danielle King’s status is still up in the air. The senior guard left MU’s second to last regular season game with an injury that was bad enough to see her carried off the court at the time. However, she was walking on her own and warming up with the team less than 48 hours later before the regular season finale..... but King did not play in that game. It’s unclear exactly how injured she is right now, and if MU wants to reach the Big East title game for the third straight year, they’re probably going to need something from King along the way. The question is exactly how much does she have to give at this point?
All told, Sunday’s quarterfinal game against St. John’s is going to tell us a lot about what Marquette is and what Marquette is not for whatever remains of the 2018-19 season. If they can lose to the Johnnies while at full strength, they can absolutely lose to them while down one, perhaps two senior starters. That wouldn’t be a surprising result. However, if the Golden Eagles can figure out a way to win, well, it wouldn’t be surprising, not in the slightest. But it would be promising. Maybe Marquette can’t reclaim their status as a top 16 team any more and perhaps hosting NCAA tournament games at the McGuire Center is off the table. That doesn’t mean Marquette doesn’t have wins left in them this season. We’ll know more about what their upper limit is when the final horn sounds in this game.