On Wednesday afternoon at the McGuire Center, Marquette women’s basketball never got out of the gate against Milwaukee and ended up with a 64-55 loss for their troubles. It’s the first loss of the season for the Golden Eagles, and Megan Duffy’s team is now 1-1 on the year.
You can very easily argue that the game was over when Kendall Nead hit a three-pointer for UWM with 3:10 left in the first quarter. That put the visiting Panthers up 13-4 and capped a 13-0 run by Milwaukee. Marquette had not scored since Camryn Taylor scored her second bucket of the game on MU’s third possession of the game and the Golden Eagles had missed nine straight shots. The “good” news at the time was that Marquette had only committed one turnover in that stretch. The bad news, of course, is that Marquette was in a big hole very early, and the worse news was that things were about to get worse in the next 10 minutes.
Milwaukee opened up the second period with a 17-8 lead, and the two teams traded buckets to open the frame. Lauren Van Kleunen scored in the paint with 7:33 left in the half to make it a 19-12 ball game....... and then Marquette would not score again in the first half. UWM went into intermission on an 11-0 run over the final seven-plus minutes and holding a 30-12 lead. Marquette shot just 20.7% from the field in the first half and did not hit a single three-point to help advance their cause.
Ultimately, that was it for the game. Marquette was only able to trim five points off the margin in the third quarter even though they shot 58.3% from the field in that 10 minute stretch. That left it at 44-31 for the final 10 minutes, and that was too much of a gap. Selena Lott did draw a foul that turned into the fourth quarter media timeout and she hit her two free throws after the break to make it a 50-44 game with 4:53 to go. But Marquette wasn’t able to get closer than that until the final minute of the game when they repeatedly cut the lead to just five points. Milwaukee hit their free throws as Marquette tried to extend the game, and that was that.
And so, that’s the story of how a 27 point, nine rebound performance by Camryn Taylor went to waste. The sophomore was an unstoppable wrecking machine for Marquette, but two first quarter fouls — her only two of the entire game — kept her out of the game for a long stretch in the first half. Taylor tore it up in the second half, ultimately finishing 12-for-20 from the field as Milwaukee had no idea what to do with her. It was all too little too late, though, as the Golden Eagles were already too far down the line to be able to properly rally.
And so, that awful performance against a team that had not beaten Marquette since December 2008 is what pushes the Golden Eagles along to the start of Big East action in this incredibly weird and disjointed season.
Big East Game #1: vs Providence Friars (2-2)
Date: Friday, December 4, 2020
Time: 2pm Central
Location: A very empty Al McGuire Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Streaming: Big East Digital Network on FloHoops
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB
Marquette is 17-5 all-time against Providence, and the Golden Eagles have won six straight in the series and five straight in Milwaukee.
The Friars come into the year at 2-2 on the season with three games of road seasoning behind them. After their intended opener at Northeastern was cancelled, they lost at Quinnipiac by six after trailing by 13 at the half. That was followed up by a 26 point road win (!) at in-state rival Rhode Island and a home 27 point shelling of also in-state rival Bryant. On Wednesday, Providence ventured back away from Alumni Hall and took a 12 point loss at Boston College. The Friars fell behind 20-6 before the opening quarter ended and still somehow managed to cut it to just a six point game with 4:32 to go before falling apart down the stretch.
As expected through four games, Mary Baskerville is leading the Friars in scoring at 17.3 points per game and she is tied with Olivia Orlando for the team lead in rebounding at 6.8 per contest. Also as expected, Baskerville has not played more than 24 minutes in a game this season. Part of that is foul trouble, as she had four against QU, five against Rhode Island, with four coming in the second half, and three against Boston College, but two came in the first five minutes. I’m not going to try and jump up and down and shout about Baskerville only playing 24 minutes in a 27 point demolition, but Providence is clearly a wildly different team when she’s on the floor as opposed to when she’s on the bench. She just can’t stay on the floor for any real length of time, and goal #1 for Marquette has to be winding up Camryn Taylor and just letting her loose at Baskerville.
I can’t tell if Providence is a good shooting team or not yet. I mean, yeah, HerHoopStats.com says that they have the #39 field goal percentage in the country right now. That seems good, as does their #81 ranking in three-point shooting percentage. But they’re only making 33% of their long range bombs, and that’s.... fine. It’s not good. That’s the kind of thing that happens when Kyra Spiwak opens up the year 5-for-20 from long range after being a 36% shooter a year ago. The flip side of that coin is Chanell Williams hitting five of her first seven long range attempts after shooting 21% and 20% the last two seasons on less than one long range attempt per game. Can she hit the shots now and that’s why she’s averaging nearly two per game? Is this an aberration? Is there a 0-for-12 stretch coming from her soon? This is the problem with starting league play so early: Trying to figure out what everyone is so far this year is parsing through a whole bunch of Small Sample Size Theater and trying to make heads or tails of it.
Going back to Baskerville vs Taylor for a moment, Marquette can win this game on the glass. The Friars are an atrocious offensive rebounding team, ranking #210 out of 250 active women’s basketball teams per Her Hoop Stats in OR rate. They’re better on defense, ranking #148 out of 250 on that end, but that’s still not anywhere close to good. While Marquette had a lot of problems against Milwaukee, rebounding the ball was not one of them. The Golden Eagles have picked up right where they left off last year in the rebounding department, and if Providence is going to struggle to wrap up misses on either end, MU will be happy to solve that problem for them.