So far this season, Marquette women’s basketball is 2-0. They beat the preseason pick to finish seventh in the SWAC by 61 and then turned around and beat the preseason pick to finish eighth in the America East by 32.
This was, mostly speaking, the point.
No one is going to confuse what Megan Duffy did with the first two games of her season with challenging her basketball team to a steep degree. She did what she needed to do with those two games and, mostly speaking, with the third game that we’re previewing here. She knew that she was going to have a wildly different looking team than her first two seasons at Marquette purely because Selena Lott was going to be gone. Lott did a hell of a lot of things for the Golden Eagles for the past two years, and no matter whatever else happened, that wasn’t going to be the case this year.
So, Duffy let her schedule ramp up slowly. As it turns out, Marquette has even bigger identity issues than merely losing Lott. Camryn Taylor and Taylor Valladay transferred to Virginia, leaving MU with a big hole left behind from last year’s regular rotation.
As such, it was going to be paramount for the Golden Eagles to spend a few moments figuring out who and what exactly they were this season. Thankfully, they’ve been able to do it while not having to worry too much about what the final result of the game was. Things have been mostly out of reach for the majority of their two games so far this season, and with a little bit of luck that’ll happen in game #3, too.
Games 4 through 6? That’s a different story. Things immediately get tougher for Marquette after Monday afternoon in Milwaukee, and believe it or not, because of how things have to go, Big East play is coming up at the start of December.
Megan Duffy set up her schedule to let her team come together over the first few games, and that’s good! Turns out it was more needed than she might have known depending on when contracts were signed. One final tune up before things start picking up in a hurry. I for one look forward to actually getting to watch the game live AND, in this case, in person at the McGuire Center.
Game #3: vs Southern University Jaguars (0-1)
This is the first ever meeting between the two teams. Marquette has played Southern Miss and Southern Utah, but never Southern University.
We have two data points of information on actual gameplay for the Southern Jaguars so far this season. The first one is a 76-53 victory over Louisiana State University Alexandria in an exhibition contest, and the second is a 92-32 loss to #23 Texas A&M in their regular season opener on Thursday. I don’t know about you, but I feel like neither one of these is really a good example of what Southern is trying to do on the basketball court this season. Then again, the exhibition game is only lopsided because of a 25-4 third quarter by the Jaguars. It was actually a game at the half, with NAIA LSU-Alexandria up 37-31 at the break.
Southern has gone incredibly deep into their bench in both games, so that’s something to watch. Then again, they were also down 43-9 at the half against the Aggies, so yeah, let everyone play.
I feel like the stats from the TAMU game don’t really matter, so let’s look at the exhibition game as a better example of what Southern is supposed to look like. Kayla Watson was the leading scorer at 15 points with Nakia Kincey right behind her at 13. Diamond Hunter gave the Jags 11 off the bench. Raven White led the team in rebounds with 11, while the assist lead was tied at three between Tyneisha Metcalf and Chloe Fleming. I don’t know what to take from this information, but I’m going to pass it along: SU’s starters created 16 steals in the LSU-Alexandria game, and the team generated 25 total. Again, against an NAIA team, but they were also losing at halftime.
Relative to the rest of the competition in the SWAC — particularly Alcorn State, Marquette’s first opponent of the season — Southern is expected to be pretty good. The Jaguars picked up 194 points in the league’s preseason polling which was good enough for third behind Jackson State and Alabama State. SU actually snagged one of the 22 possible first place votes along the way with JSU getting the lion’s share of 19 picks in the top spot. Alcorn State was picked to finish seventh in the league, and Marquette zoomed past the Braves with relatively little resistance.