After a perfectly fine first quarter in Pennsylvania, almost nothing went right for Marquette women’s basketball for the next 30 minutes as they ended up with a 61-47 loss to Villanova on Friday night. The Golden Eagles are now 20-7 overall and 11-5 in Big East play, clinging to a half-game lead over Butler at 10-5.
At the end of the first quarter on Friday night, Marquette was locked up in a 13-13 tie with Villanova. MU was a little bit lucky to be there, having shot under 32% in the first 10 minutes, but it was Villanova that needed a bucket from Mary Gedaka in the final 30 seconds to provoke the tie.
And then the wheels just came all the way off for Marquette. The Golden Eagles lost what little shooting touch they had as well as whatever ball control they had in the second period. MU shot just 28.6% from the field and turned the ball over nine times as Villanova went on a tear. They would lead by as many as 11, but somehow, the Golden Eagles got a bucket from Altia Anderson as time wound down to make it a nine point game. All things considered, with as badly as things were going for Marquette, being down nine was kind of amazing.
Villanova opened up the third quarter on a 10-2 run and Marquette was officially underwater in this game. You could probably identify a lot of things as MU’s biggest problem in this game, but for me, the big one was Villanova’s three-point shooting. The Wildcats love to shoot threes, but they’re not very good at it. That held true for the first quarter, as they hit just one of five. For the remaining 30 minutes, Nova knocked in 9 of their 22 long range attempts, connecting at a 41% rate. That is absolutely no good for Marquette, and it showed on the scoreboard.
The deficit would be as high as 24 in the third quarter, but Marquette did manage a 12-0 run at the end of the frame and into the fourth that made it a 48-36 ballgame with a little over nine minutes to go. I’m not saying that’s what you want (especially that point total for either side, gross), but considering where they were, that was pretty great.
Cameron Onken and Bridget Herlihy banged in triples shortly thereafter, and the lead was back to 16. In fact, after Anderson scored to make it a 12 point game, Marquette would not record a field goal until there was 1:57 to play. That was Chloe Marotta wheeling through the lane for a layup to cut the margin to 18. Ballgame, although it was long since over if we’re being honest about it.
There were things that Marquette did very well in this game, like rebound on both ends and keep the Wildcats off the free throw line. However, shooting and having the ball in order to shoot it are very important to basketball, and an effective field goal percentage of 32.4% and a turnover rate of 29% are mountains that are too big to overcome as it turns out.
Selena Lott led Marquette in scoring on the day, and her five rebounds and seven assists make for a very nice looking overall line. She also had four of Marquette’s 18 turnovers, so it wasn’t all seashells and balloons for MU’s junior star guard.
Up Next: As is always the case, it’s a quick turnaround for Marquette. They’ll be back in action on Sunday afternoon when they visit Georgetown. The Hoyas took an 87-69 loss to DePaul on Friday night to fall to 2-13 in Big East play and 5-21 overall, but they have been a weirdly effective thorn in MU’s side over the past few seasons, and were running rampant over the Golden Eagles in the first quarter in Milwaukee earlier this season.