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Marquette Rallies & Survives Against Middle Tennessee

MU’s first game in Daytona Beach went to overtime after the Golden Eagles trailed by as many as 11 in the second half.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 08 Big East Women’s Basketball Tournament - Marquette v UConn
Jordan King had 16 points, seven rebounds, and four assists on Friday.
Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A very bad first half shooting the ball turned into a very good second half and a great overtime period shooting the ball for Marquette Golden Eagles women’s basketball on Friday afternoon Daytona Beach. The Golden Eagles scored just five points in the second quarter to trail by six at the break and ultimately fell behind by as many as 11 at one point in the third quarter before closing strong to force overtime and come away with a 59-55 victory over Middle Tennessee. With the win, Marquette is now 4-1 on the season heading into a big time challenge for them on Saturday afternoon.

Honestly, trailing 23-17 at halftime when you shoot 1-for-14 in the second quarter is pretty good. The Golden Eagles did a pretty good job on the defensive end of the court to keep themselves within shouting distance even though they had nothing going on offense after eight turnovers in the first quarter.

That second quarter problem continued on into the third quarter as MU didn’t score until more than four minutes wound off the clock. A bucket from Danyel Middleton was the difference, but it would be more than two more minutes before MU scored again. In the meantime, a free throw from MTSU’s Courtney Blakely had the Blue Raiders up 11, their largest lead of the game. Over the final three minutes and change, Marquette figured some things out. Karissa McLaughlin scored on back-to-back possessions, and an and-1 from Antwainette Walker meant that the margin was just five, 32-27, heading to the fourth.

Yes, Marquette was averaging less than a point a minute. It wasn’t a fun game.

MU came out of the gate in the fourth quarter on fire, scoring the first six points of the period, all three buckets from different players, in less than 90 seconds to jump out to a 33-32 lead. That turned the final seven minutes of regulation into a duel as both teams pulled the lead back and forth the rest of the way. When Lauren Van Kleunen split a pair of freebies with 50 seconds to go, that opened the door for a big play from Middle Tennessee, as Marquette was up just one, 44-43. Kseniya Malashka went crashing through that open door with a three-pointer with just 26 seconds to play, giving the Blue Raiders a two point advantage.

And Jordan King said, “Nah.”

That was with 18 seconds to go, so the Golden Eagles still needed to induce a miss from the Raiders. And they did! Malashka rushed an up-and-under shot and missed everything, and so, overtime.

MU got the first couple of buckets in OT, but Dor Saar answered for the Blue Raiders with a pair of threes to put MTSU up two with 2:07 to go. King answered to tie the game, and after a missed three by Middle Tennessee, Liza Karlen was left by herself and just decided to break the tie.

That was with under a minute to play, and after MTSU couldn’t convert to tie the game, they were left with no other option but to foul with less than 30 seconds to go. MU hit five of their six attempts from the stripe down the stretch, rendering Saar’s last second three-pointer meaningless as the Golden Eagles won by four.

Marquette ended up shooting just under 40% from the field in the game as almost everyone struggled. Jordan King did not, though, as she hit on seven of her 11 attempts to finish with a game high 16 points along with seven rebounds and four assists plus a block and a steal. She also had seven of MU’s 26 turnovers in the game, so that wasn’t so hot. Lauren Van Kleunen had a quality game by the end of things, finishing with 14 points thanks to an 8-for-10 performance from the free throw line, and she added a career best 13 rebounds, too.

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

Up Next: Saturday afternoon brings with it the toughest test of the year for Marquette. Georgia, who is earning votes in the AP poll this week, will be the opponent for MU’s second and final game of the Daytona Beach Invitational. The Bulldogs also needed to get through overtime on Friday to get past Notre Dame, 71-67, and stay undefeated with a record of 5-0. That was the first time all season that Georgia has been pushed at all in the slightest by their opponent, so we’ll have to see how they respond with less than 24 hours before they’re back on the court.