We’re three games into the Marquette women’s basketball season, and things are looking pretty good so far. Sure, there’s a certain amount of competition level questions there, but when you beat opponents that you’re supposed to beat by 61 points, 32 points, and 25 points, then you’re doing something right. Heck, Marquette didn’t even look particularly great against Southern on Monday afternoon, but they zipped away late and won by 25, so does it matter what the first 30 minutes really looked like?
Anyway, things are chugging along. To steal a bit from The Basketball Jones/The Starters/No Dunks, It’s Only Three Games BUUUUUUUUUUT Her Hoop Stats says that Marquette is #29 in the country overall and #30 in both offensive and defensive rating. That’s all live real stats stuff, no preseason projections involved at all. That’s pretty good! Don’t know if it’ll carry through, but so far so good.
Marquette is helped out greatly here by currently owning the #10 overall shooting percentage in the country and also ranking #20 in the same stat on the defensive end. You can see Megan Duffy’s emphasis for her team on display already as the Golden Eagles are the #1 offensive rebounding rate team in the country. I am going to tell you right now that while MU might stay a top 10 or top 25 or top 50 team all season long, they are absolutely not going to keep grabbing 60% of their own misses all year. MU is also #74 in defensive rebounding rate and the top rebounding team in the country overall.
As usual, MU is getting it done by moving the ball. Five different players are averaging at least two assists a game, led by a whopping 6.3 per outing from Jordan King and a “wait, where is this coming from” 5.0 per game from Chloe Marotta. All of that turns into MU having the #10 assist rate in the country as they are helping on over 73% of their buckets so far.
Competition level ramps up pretty quickly for Marquette over the next three games, and then they jump feet first into a pair of Big East contests before wrapping up non-con action before Christmas. Everything has looked really good for MU for the last three games, but we’re going to really see how much Duffy has gotten all of her new pieces — Karissa McLaughlin leads the team in scoring at 17.7/game while Kennedi Myles is tied for the team lead in rebounding at 9.0/game — moving in the right direction very quickly now. All of MU’s next three games will be away from the McGuire Center, so this road test that we’re about to preview will be invaluable for Marquette when they face their two toughest non=-conference opponents in the two games after that.
Game #4: at Colorado Buffaloes (2-0)
Date: Friday, November 19, 2021
Time: 8pm Central
Location: CU Events Center, Boulder, Colorado
Video Streaming: Pac-12.com, allegedly.
Audio Streaming: CUBuffs.com
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB
Marquette is 1-1 all time against Colorado. Weirdly, this is the third straight meeting in Boulder and somehow the first ever regular season contest. Marquette lost the first meeting, 77-74, back in the 1994 NCAA tournament, and then won, 86-72, in 2008 on their way to the WNIT championship.
Colorado came into the season picked to finish seventh in the Pac-12 after going 12-11 overall and 8-8 in the league last season. That included a three game jaunt through the WNIT before losing in the quarterfinals. So far this season, they’ve been pretty successful on two road dates to start the year, because any time you win a road game, it has to count as a success. They beat Oklahoma State, 55-45, in their opener, and then back on Sunday, they beat local rival Air Force, 58-53.
Through the first two games, Quay Miller is CU’s leading scorer, which is a bit of a surprise. After all, if you’re coming off the bench in both games, you wouldn’t be anyone’s first guess as the team’s leading scorer. The 6’3” center went for 17 points against Air Force to move her season average to 13.0 points per game. She’s also averaging a team best 6.5 rebounds per game and is doing a lot of her damage there on the offensive end. Sure, it’s early, but Miller is ranking #111 in the country in offensive rebounding rate.
Jaylyn Sharrod and Mya Hollingshed are Colorado’s two top scorers that start and thus the ones that Marquette will have to deal with for most of the game. Sherrod has the slight advantage through two games, scoring 10.5 points against 10.0 even for Hollingshed. Both women are also rebounding the ball well, with each going north of four per game, and Sherrod is the leading distributor at 4.5 assists per game.
So far, Colorado isn’t doing that much three-point shooting, with just a bit over 25% of their shots coming from long range. They’re not particularly good at it as a team, connecting on just 31% of those shots. With that said, Marquette is going to have to keep an eye on CU’s top two shooters so far this season. Hollingshed leads the team with 3.5 attempts per game, and she’s hit 43% of them. Frida Formann, one of CU’s other three starters, is averaging three attempts per game, and she’s has hit two of her six tries for a 33% rate. Sherrod has hit two of her three long range tries, but she only shot 30% last season.