If you don’t have a FloHoops subscription to watch Big East women’s basketball this season, you missed a fireworks show on Wednesday night. Marquette and Villanova both assembled an effective field goal percentage north of 55% and combined to shoot 47% from behind the three-point line as the Golden Eagles walked out of Finneran Pavilion with a 95-77 victory. Marquette is now 10-2 on the year and 7-1 in Big East action. The Golden Eagles need to play just one more game to officially become NCAA tournament eligible, and this road win over a top 100 NET team is only going to help boost MU up from the projected #10 seed that Charlie Creme gave them on Tuesday.
I’m trying to be as complimentary to Villanova as I can here. According to HerHoopStats.com, the Wildcats became the first Marquette opponent this season to average a point per play in a game. No one else has even managed to better the 0.93 that North Dakota threw at Marquette in the season opener. The Golden Eagles have been winning this season with defense.... and Villanova completely blew that up on Wednesday night in their own building, getting 1.03 per play.
And Marquette beat them by 18 and it wasn’t that close.
Marquette needed to shoot an eFG% of 60% to win. They needed to only turn the ball over five times, only one of which came in the second half. They needed to grab 38% of their missed shots to get the second chances to score against the Wildcat assault on the other end. Marquette played one of their best offensive games of the season at the absolute right time and had to do it in order to beat Villanova.
To a certain extent, the game was over when Marquette popped off nine straight points in the first quarter to turn it from 9-7 MU to 18-7. Villanova had to dig out of a double digit deficit with 4:13 left in the first quarter. That’s how you tilt a game in your favor.
As you’d expect with all the compliments that I’m trying to throw at Nova here, they didn’t go away. It was a 13 point game at the start of the second quarter, 27-14, but Brianna Herlihy cut it to single digits with 6:11 left in the period, and an and-1 by VU star Maddy Siegrist made it 38-33 with 3:08 to go before halftime. Clearly still a game.
And then Liza Karlen squished two three-pointers around a Sarah Mortensen turnover. 44-33, Marquette. It looked for a second like MU was going to extinguish Villanova’s flame as they approached halftime as Selena Lott scored with eight seconds left to make it a 14 point game, but Samantha Carangi saved a horribly broken quick trip up the floor with a replay reviewed three-pointer at the buzzer to make the margin 50-39 with 20 minutes to go.
Villanova started the third quarter looking like they were going to chew into the lead a bit. Siegrist was fouled while shooting, grabbed her own miss on the second for a put back, and then scored on a layup on VU’s next possession, too. Another foul by the Golden Eagles let Herlihy split a pair at the line. 55-45, Marquette, 8:08 to go in the third.
Over the final eight minutes of the quarter, Marquette outscored Villanova 25-9, including a four-point play at the horn by Lott. 80-54 with 10 minutes to go. Selena Lott had a game in the third quarter. 17 points, two rebounds, and an assist. That’s a borderline great performance for a whole game. She did it in 10 minutes, actually 8 and a half, because she did take a break in there.
That 26 point margin is as big as it would get as the Wildcats outscored Marquette 23-15 in the final quarter, but they never got closer than 14. Marquette even answered that last desperate push with three straight layups by three different Golden Eagles. That was that.
It was a big day for Selena Lott, and not just because she had a game high 27 points to go with five rebounds and 11 assists. Her first three-pointer of the game, which came with 1:32 left in the first quarter, gave her the first three of her 27 points on the night. It also pushed her from 997 career points to 1,000, making her the 30th Golden Eagles to ever reach that mark. By the end of the night, Lott would pass Kerri Christianson for 29th place all time. She also went from 14th to tied for 12th on the career three-pointers list thanks to her 5-for-7 performance in that category.
Lott was one of five Golden Eagles in double digits on the night. Camryn Taylor had 16 points after wrecking Villanova for 12 in the first eight minutes of the game. Chloe Marotta had 13 points on 4-for-5 shooting, Jordan King added 12 to go with four points and six assists, and Lauren Van Kleunen had 10 to give all five starters at least 10 points.
How about some highlights, and there’s a lot to choose from, courtesy of FloHoops and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: Saturday’s home game against Xavier has been postponed by the Musketeers going into a COVID pause. As such, the next scheduled game for the Golden Eagles is set for Monday afternoon when they’ll visit Creighton. That game will kick off a run of games every other day for Marquette all week long.