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Marquette Downs Villanova In The Big East Quarterfinals

The Golden Eagles move on to Sunday’s semifinal!

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Villanova vs Marquette
Selena Lott had 17/9/4 and five steals against the Wildcats.
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Two 20 point outings from Villanova? No problem for Marquette women’s basketball on Saturday evening at Wintrust Arena. Four Golden Eagles scored in double digits as #2 seeded Marquette prevailed, 72-59, over the #7 seeded Wildcats in the Big East tournament quarterfinals. MU moves on to the semifinals for the fourth consecutive season.

It looked like Marquette was going to grab control early and ride the wave to victory. The Golden Eagles jumped out to an 8-0 lead right out of the gate and Jordan King nudged that bad boy to a 10 point margin, 14-4, with 3:57 left in the first quarter. Villanova whittled away at it, and two freebies from Bridget Herlihy early in the second quarter made it a two-point game, 17-15.

Marquette answered big, ripping off the next 13 points right in a row, jumping out to a 15 point margin with 4:47 left before the half. And yet, it could have been more, as the Golden Eagles went without a field goal for the final 5:54, and thus it was 31-19 at halftime.

Kind of a blech score, but hey: don’t complain about 12 point leads.

Another field goal drought hit the Golden Eagles in the third quarter. It started after Lauren Van Kleunen scored with 4:35 to go to put Marquette up 43-33. MU wouldn’t actually score again until seconds left in the quarter on two free throws by Selena Lott. It was an 11-0 Villanova run in the interim, and Lott’s freebies pulled Marquette back to a three-point margin after 30 minutes, 45-42.

And then Marquette scored the first two buckets of the final frame, prompting a timeout from Villanova head coach Harry Perretta, coaching in what would turn out to be his final Big East tournament game. Villanova answered, cutting the lead back down to two on a three from Madison Siegrist. That was answered by one from Isabelle Spingola, which was in turn answered by another one from Siegrist, which was again answered by Spingola. It was kind of a whole thing for a minute there.

Lott split a pair of freebies, but Altia Anderson got the stickback to go to get the Golden Eagles back up eight as we hit the midway point of the fourth quarter. Finally, Marquette had regained control of the game. Anderson got free down the lane for two to make it 62-52. Camryn Taylor popped in a baseline J to make it 12, 66-54, with 2:34 to go.

The capper was, finally, an and-1 by Taylor. She popped in the freebie with 1:13 to go, Villanova came up empty, and Perretta called for a foul in order to swap out his players for his bench. Bada bing, and that was that.

Lott led the way with 17 points for Marquette, but they also had 14 points from Jordan King, who had it going early in the game. 12 points from Lauren Van Kleunen, including a triple from the Ohio native, was big, and Taylor added 11 points and six rebounds off the bench.

Marquette clearly and easily outshot the Wildcats in this one, but as is usually the case, rebounding was the big ticket item for the Golden Eagles. Marquette grabbed up 38% of their misses in this one, and that turned into 11 second chance points on 13 tries. On the other end, MU only let Villanova get to 18% of their misses, giving them seven second chance points on seven tries.

How about some highlights, courtesy of FS2 and GoMarquette.com?

Up Next: Well, it’s definitely a semifinal game, and it’s definitely on Sunday night on FS1 at 7:30pm Central time. We just don’t know the opponent quite yet, as St. John’s and Creighton hasn’t gone final yet. The Johnnies are up 11 with 4:28 to go, and considering they were down 15 at the end of the first quarter, it certainly seems like it’s going to be the Red Storm.