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Marquette’s Return To Action Goes Poorly

I mean, there’s some vague silver lining stuff to the Golden Eagles’ first game since before Christmas.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 01 Women’s DePaul at Marquette Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

22 turnovers and 43% shooting on the day is pretty much almost always going to be a recipe for disaster. Marquette women’s basketball trailed by as many as 19 points late in the first half and by 14 at the end of the third quarter before rallying to get within seven points with 5:50 to play on Friday afternoon in South Orange. That’s the best they could though, largely because of the turnovers and the shooting, and so Seton Hall Pirates picked up the 77-66 victory in Marquette’s first game since defeating Xavier on December 22nd. It’s the first loss of league play for Marquette as they fall to 3-1 in the Big East and 6-2 overall.

Falling behind 19-9 out of the gate ended up as an ominous portend for the Golden Eagles in this one. It predicted the 14-0 run that Seton Hall went on which dictated the Pirates outscoring MU 16-7 in the quarter. The 19 point advantage for SHU came at the peak of that streak, and it was a 16 point game at halftime.

Marquette fought back out of the locker room and immediately trimmed the lead to nine at 45-36. Seton Hall quickly pushed the margin back into double digits, and it stayed there for the rest of the quarter. The Pirates scored the first two buckets of the fourth frame to make it an 18 point game, and that looked right about like the end for Marquette....... right up until they looked absolutely unbeatable. A 10-0 run in just a shade over two minutes of game action suddenly cut the Seton Hall lead to just eight at 70-62. Chloe Marotta split a pair of free throws with 5:50 to go to make it a seven point game, and things were looking very good for Marquette.....

Except they weren’t. Marotta shot those free throws because Lauren Van Kleunen wasn’t available to shoot them after drawing the foul. She fell to the court and the back of her head whiplashed backwards to smash into the hardwood. LVK was 6-for-9 from the field to that point, as she would not return, and she had grabbed eight rebounds and handed out two assists. She scored to start the 10-0 run and had one of her assists in there, too. It certainly looked like she was a driving force in what MU was doing to rally.... but she was done for the day.

And then Marquette didn’t score again until the final 30 seconds of the game.

That’s your ball game. They fought the bad start off, they fought the bad second quarter off, they fought and fought and fought.... and then just didn’t have enough to bring it home in the final five minutes. It happens, especially when it’s your first game in over three weeks, and especially when you haven’t really practiced as a result of the holiday break and a COVID-induced pause in activity.

Van Kleunen led the team with 13 points, and the Golden Eagles got double digit contributions from Camryn Taylor with 10 and Taylor Valladay off the bench with 12. It’s worth noting that based on the timeout huddles that Marquette went shorthanded in South Orange. Valladay, Claire Kaifes, and Antwainette Walker all came off the bench for the Golden Eagles, but it appeared that the rest of the bench wasn’t even in the building because they weren’t even in the timeout huddles. Are the rest of the backups playing al lthat much this year? No, not really, but.......

Up Next: ..... since Marquette is on the road and coming off a COVID pause, it definitely isn’t a good sign if they only have eight players traveling and Van Kleunen’s availability is up in the air for Sunday’s game against St. John’s. That game at Carnesecca Arena is set for a 1pm tipoff, and you’ll be able to watch it on FS1.