The battle of former co-workers at St. John’s looked like a pretty tough battle through 20 minutes on Sunday night in Chicago. St. John’s battled back from a 10 point deficit in the first quarter and a 13 point margin midway through the second to trail YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles women’s basketball team by just five points at halftime.
After that? All Golden Eagles.
Marquette outscored the Johnnies by 10 in the third quarter and by eight in the fourth to coast to an easy 78-55 victory in the 2020 Big East tournament semifinals. MU is now 24-7 on the year and advances to Monday night’s conference tournament championship game for the fourth consecutive year.
Just when Marquette kept getting themselves into a comfortable lead in the first half, the Red Storm did something to disrupt that. MU built leads, sure, but it was in tiny little bursts. Two buckets, maybe three buckets at a time. Never a monster run. St. John’s always had something to knock back with, and so you never quite felt comfortable, even as Isabelle Spingola scored at the rim to make it 33-20 with 4:37 left in the second quarter. The Red Storm answered by allowing just one MU bucket the rest of the way to the break, going on a 10-2 run to make it 35-30 at intermission.
The final bucket of the half was a triple from Leilani Correa, and for me, that was the most ominous shot of the first 20 minutes. Not because it pulled the Red Storm within five for the first time since it was 9-4, but because it was from long range. That was St. John’s first three-point bucket of the game, and the Johnnies have a variety of long range options. If they were going to suddenly start hitting from the outside, that was going to be a problem for Marquette.
Turns out, I worried for nothing. After going 1-for-10 in the first half, St. John’s went just 3-for-6 from long range in the second half. Better, obviously, but with fewer attempts, it wasn’t a problem. To make matters better for the Golden Eagles, the Red Storm actually shot the ball worse overall — 37.5% to 37% from the field — in the second half.
Marquette opened up the third quarter on an 8-2 run to get the lead back into double digits. Then they followed that up with an 11-2 run, and hey, would you look at that, a four pack of free throws from Camryn Taylor had the Golden Eagles up 17 with 2:03 left in the quarter. Alisha Kebbe scored to make it 15 at the end of the quarter, but MU started the fourth with another 8-2 run in the first 90 seconds.
The lead was now 19, and there’s not really much that St. John’s could do about it. Yeah, yeah, they cut it to 11, but the Golden Eagles fired right back with 10 straight to punch the lead north of 20 with 4:16 to go, and that was that.
Four different Golden Eagles scored in double digits, led by 18 points from Selena Lott in a foul-hampered 21 minutes. The scoring was pretty much all Lott did on this particular night, but her teammates picked her up across the stat sheet. Isabelle Spingola finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists. Jordan King had a 12/7/6 outing. Lauren Van Kleunen had 12/5/1 and a steal. Chloe Marotta was big for Marquette in the first quarter and finished with eight points, six rebounds, and two blocks.
How about some highlights, starting with Altia Anderson’s rejection of a three-pointer and a runout layup, courtesy of FS1 and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: It’s a fourth consecutive Big East title game appearance for Marquette, and a fourth straight meeting with DePaul. The Blue Demons narrowly escaped Seton Hall in the other semifinal game on Sunday night to get another crack at the Golden Eagles. Marquette knocked off DePaul in the regular season finale for both squads, but that was in Marquette’s building in Milwaukee.