On Saturday, less than 24 hours after getting past Middle Tennessee in overtime, Marquette women’s basketball took to the court again. This time, it was for their toughest test of the season, a neutral site game in Daytona Beach against a Georgia team that currently sits just one spot outside the Associated Press top 25.
It, uh, did not go well.
The Bulldogs scored the first six points of the game in what ultimately turned out to be a tonesetter as Georgia beat the Golden Eagles 70-49. Marquette is now 4-2 on the year.
I don’t want to say that the whole first quarter went really poorly. Sure, Georgia led 14-5 for their biggest lead of the first 10 minutes, but ultimately, the Golden Eagles kept the lead at just six, 15-9, at the end of the period. The difference in the game at that point was just Georgia’s opening salvo.
Marquette’s real problem was the second quarter, as Georgia kept MU to single digits again. In fact, the Bulldogs doubled the Golden Eagles up, 16-8, in the second period, and after Georgia rattled off six straight to answer Lauren Van Kleunen scoring the first bucket of the quarter, Marquette never got closer than eight points the rest of the frame.
The 16-8 margin in the quarter meant it was 31-17 at halftime. Marquette had shot just 7-for-30 (23%) in the first half, and since the Golden Eagles do not have a reliable three-point shooting component to their offense, this was probably all a bad sign.
For whatever it’s worth, I guess we could say that the third and fourth quarters didn’t make things tremendously worse. Yeah, it ultimately ended up with Marquette losing by 25, but that’s actually a smaller margin than the 28 point margin that the halftime score was trending towards. MU did cut it to single digits with 6:42 left in the third as Van Kleunen hit her only long range attempt of the game to make it 35-26. Georgia answered with the next five points and holding MU without scoring for over three minutes. That pretty much did the Golden Eagles in as far as a rally goes.
The lead was 20 heading to the fourth after briefly hitting 21 late in the third, and Georgia got their largest lead of the game — 27 points — on a three-pointer from Sarah Ashlee Barker with 5:21 to go. At that point, you’re just playing out the string.
Forget the Receiving Votes aspect of the opposition in the game: Marquette just isn’t going to beat very many teams with an effective field goal percentage of 33.9% or a turnover rate of 27.5%. When you do both of those things together, like they did here? It’s bad news all the way around.
I should make this point: Georgia didn’t play great. They finished scoring just 1.01 points per possession, they had an effective field goal percentage of just 50%, and their turnover rate of just north of 17% is somewhere between fine and acceptable. This wasn’t a case of the unstoppable force meeting the moveable object. Georgia did a basketball for 40 minutes and Marquette couldn’t get out of their own way.
Lauren Van Kleunen and Jordan King were MU’s only two double digit scorers at 13 and 12 points respectively, and that means they accounted for more than half of the points that the team scored against Georgia. LVK added four rebounds and an assist, while King beat her in both departments with five each.
Chalk it up to a learning experience, I guess, and it seems that the Golden Eagles have a longer way to go to get things in order before Big East play starts.
Up Next: oh hell, Big East play starts next weekend
Yeah, so, in order to get the full 20 game Big East slate in, teams need to get going on those games. That’s why we’re getting a pair of contests in early December. So, the good news, such as it is comes in the form of how these first two games set up for the Golden Eagles. First, they’re both home games, which is nice. Second, they’re facing two teams that are a collective 3-8 so far this season. 3-3 Xavier is up first on Friday night, with first tip at the Al set for 7pm, while 0-5 Butler comes to town on Sunday afternoon for a 2pm tipoff.