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Marquette Bounces Back To Beat St. John’s

The Golden Eagles weren’t perfect on Sunday afternoon, but they did what they needed to do to beat the Red Storm.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Marquette vs St. John
Chloe Marotta was all over the place for Marquette against St. John’s.
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

A superstar 30 point performance from Selena Lott combined with a shouting distance of a triple-double outing from Chloe Marotta on Sunday afternoon as Marquette women’s basketball went in to Carnesecca Arena and came out with a 72-61 victory over St. John’s. The Golden Eagles are now 7-2 on the year and 4-1 in Big East action.

The two big questions coming into this game were “how will Marquette rebound from their ugly loss to Seton Hall on Friday” and “will Lauren Van Kleunen play?” The second one was more important than the first, as head coach Megan Duffy took just eight players with her to the New York City area for the weekend. Van Kleunen crashed to the floor late in the game against the Pirates and her head whiplashed back into the hardwood court. She did not return as the Pirates pushed away from the Golden Eagles down the stretch. We can’t guarantee that MU would have finished their rally as they were down seven when she left.... but the question hangs in the air. If she couldn’t play, then figuring out the answer to Question #1 was going to be a lot more difficult.

Van Kleunen started and played 22 minutes, finishing with four points and seven rebounds, a perfectly cromulent outing after such a scary end to the previous game. As for how would Marquette rebound, well, quite honestly, they rebounded by rebounding. In what was a back and forth game with 11 lead changes and three ties, the Golden Eagles dominated inside. Marquette grabbed up a whopping 45% of their missed shots and reduced St. John’s to a second chance on just 20% of their misses. MU didn’t have a bad day shooting the ball, finishing the day at exactly 50% from the field, but they spent the day not even bothering to shoot three-pointers. Marquette’s first field goal of the game was a triple from Lott, and that was their only long range make of the day on just six attempts. Everything else was inside the arc, which went right along with MU’s outstanding effort on the glass.

The first quarter made it look like Marquette was definitely over struggling mightily against Seton Hall on Friday. The Golden Eagles got out to an 8-2 lead thanks to a layup by Lott, and they would hold a lead for the rest of the quarter. The first bucket of the second quarter didn’t come til more than two minutes wound off the clock, and it was a three-pointer from Leilani Correa that pulled St. John’s even with MU at 22 each. The two sides traded the lead back and forth for a bit, but a layup by LVK and a transition bucket by Lott put MU out in front enough to end up with a four point lead at halftime.

The first real run of the game came in the third quarter, as Camryn Taylor sank a pair of freebies to start off a 10-0 Marquette burst that featured not one, not two, but three buckets from backup guard Taylor Valladay. That left Marquette up 51-42 with 2:59 to go, and it really felt like maybe just maybe the Golden Eagles had finally really gotten control of this thing.

Nope!

Another three from Correa with 25 seconds left in the quarter cut the margin to just three, 52-49, and the Golden Eagles were lucky to still be up three heading into the fourth quarter. Lott got her pocket picked by Unique Drake, but Qadashah Hoppie didn’t quite get the look at the rim that she wanted on her layup attempt thanks to Jordan King, and her buzzer beater attempt bounced away.

With 8:13 to go in the game, Correa scored for the Johnnies, and it was a three-point game again. That’s when Marquette started just making solid play after solid play to nail this one down. Three straight buckets for Marquette, with two coming from Lott, were mixed around an offensive foul by Hoppie and just some good rebounding by Marquette on both ends, including one OR by King to set up one of Lott’s buckets. That made it a 60-51 game favoring the visitors with 7:13 to go.

MU just pulled away from there. A Correa bucket was answered by one from Taylor, one from Marotta, and two freebies from Lott. 13 point lead. A layup by St. John’s Raven Farley? No matter, Lott and King scored on back-to-back possessions, with King ending SJU’s turn in the middle there by blocking a layup by Drake.

That’s a 15 point game, 70-55, with 2:49 to go, and that’s all she wrote.

After never getting the car out of first gear on Friday, partly because Seton Hall has figured out how to defend her, Selena Lott was absolutely terrific for Marquette. She shot 11-for-14 from the field, making layup after layup on great cut after great cut, and finished with a season high 30 points to go with five rebounds, an assist, two blocks, and two steals. Lott was having a great day in a loud way, while Chloe Marotta’s great day wasn’t as splashy. The junior forward finished with 11 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists, all of which are season highs for her. Whether it was because what the St. John’s defense was throwing at them or whether it was because it’s by design, Marotta was able to find cutter after cutter to rack up her seven helpers and start sneaking towards triple-double land in this game.

Marquette’s biggest problem in the first meeting against St. John’s was Leilani Correa, who torched the Golden Eagles for three quarters before the defense finally figured her out. That defense carried over here, as Correa went 4-for-10 from the field for 11 points. She did get a double-double by added 10 rebounds, though. MU didn’t see Qadashah Hoppie in the first meeting, and she was pretty much exactly what you would have expected: 15 points on 6-for-14 shooting, with a 3-6 outing from behind the three-point line, plus one rebound and two assists.

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

Up Next: It’s time to return to the McGuire Center, at least for one game. MU will be back at it on Wednesday afternoon when they host Georgetown in Milwaukee. The Hoyas have had terrible COVID-related luck this season, as they’ve played just four games this season, all of which have been in Big East play. They have lost twice to DePaul and split their season series with Butler on home/road lines so far.