Seton Hall did a superb job taking Marquette’s Selena Lott out of the flow of the game on Friday night in South Orange, and the final result was a 72-60 defeat for the Golden Eagles at the hands of the Pirates. Marquette is now 8-4 in Big East play and had their five game winning streak snapped. The Golden Eagles have slipped one half game behind Butler and into third place in the conference standings, where they’re now in a tie with Seton Hall as a result of SHU’s win.
To a certain extent, this game was decided in the first quarter. Marquette committed six turnovers in the first 10 minutes. At a glance, most of them were largely speaking innocuous. From a time and score standpoint, the worst one was the final one of the frame, with Marquette down six with 1:39 left in the quarter. Big picture, not really a problem, but if you look at it, you see the problem. That’s six empty possessions for the Golden Eagles while the game was tight and competitive. The Pirates closed on a 6-2 run to give themselves an eight point lead after 10 minutes, and thus, you can see why having six possessions back at that point might have been a big deal.
The turnover problem continued as the game went on, with MU ultimately turning the ball over on 31% of their possessions in the game. The second quarter was spent struggling to do anything resembling making the game competitive, as the Pirates got out to a 10 point lead when Shadeen Samuels canned two freebies to start the scoring in the quarter and built the lead as high as 17 at one point. Halftime seemed to bring adjustments for the Golden Eagles, as they started to find some rhythm and flow. They cut SHU’s halftime lead down to just eight at a couple of points late and went to the fourth quarter trailing by 10. The big adjustment was figuring out how to run offense with Seton Hall face guarding Selena Lott and essentially daring Marquette to play four-on-four without their most dynamic ballhandler. They accomplished this by funneling everything through Lauren Van Kleunen, who sparked the Golden Eagles with 11 points in the third period.
Camryn Taylor scored Marquette’s first two buckets of the fourth quarter, bringing the margin down to just eight points, and Jordan King got it back there again with 6:47 to play. That’s a perfectly reasonable ballgame to manage at that point.... and then the turnover monster reared its ugly head again. MU’s next three possessions all ended in turnovers, and two of them turned into fast break buckets by the Pirates. Boom: 6-0 run since King scored, and another turnover turned into another layup, this time from Lauren Park-Lane, to make it an 8-0 run with MU attempting just one shot in the middle of it. 16 point game, 5:03 to play. That was that.
The turnovers were a major problem for Marquette, and for a moment there, it looked like they were going to be able to pull this thing off even with the early problems. However, the other thing I haven’t mentioned so far is that Marquette just could not hit the broad side of the Grand Canyon in this game. 1-for-9 from long range, 21-for-48 inside the arc, and all of that combines for an effective field goal percentage of 39.5%. Blech. You can tell how badly Seton Hall’s defensive tactic on Lott messed up Marquette’s offense, as the Golden Eagles finished with just seven assists on their 22 made baskets. If you want to look at it purely by average — 18.4 per game this season — or by rate — 70.1%, #5 in the country per HerHoopStats.com — Marquette has excelled at dishing for the score this season, and Seton Hall did an excellent job taking that away from the Golden Eagles in this one.
While Marquette was struggling to put the ball in the net, the same can not be said for SHU’s Alexis Lewis. She absolutely wrecked Marquette all night long, cashing all three of her three-point attempts in the first quarter on the way to a 6-for-7 long range performance and an 11-for-15 overall shooting performance. She finished with 28 points and eight rebounds to be an general overall terror.
Lauren Van Kleunen led Marquette with 15 points, which means she only had four points outside of the third quarter. Lott managed to get to the free throw line 10 times and convert nine of them to get to 11 points on the night, but she was held without an assist for the first time all season.
Up Next: Marquette will stay out in the New York City area until Sunday afternoon, when they’ll be in Queens to take on St. John’s. The Red Storm blew a 16 point lead to lose, 71-65, to #14 DePaul on Friday night to fall to 7-5 in Big East play.