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Marquette Women’s Basketball Struggles Through A Win Over Butler

The Golden Eagles built, then lost, then rebuilt a double digit margin in this game before winning at the end.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 24 Women’s Marquette at Butler
Lauren Van Kleunen just missed out on a double-double against Butler.
Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Backed by three players in double digits, including a near miss on a double-double by Lauren Van Kleunen, Marquette women’s basketball fought through an awful shooting afternoon at the McGuire Center to pick up a 59-45 victory over Butler on Sunday. Marquette is now 6-2 overall and 2-0 in Big East play.

As we talked about in the preview, this is not a good Butler team, and it’s probably not a passable Butler team as they drop to 0-8 on the year with the loss. They had six double digit losses coming into this game, and four of those were by more than 20 points. So when we look up at the end of the first quarter and Marquette is up just four, 14-10, well.... it’s not a good sign. A very not good trend started in that first period, as it was the first of four quarters where Marquette missed at least 11 shots. Thankfully, Butler committed seven of their 26 turnovers in the first quarter to give the Golden Eagles a helping hand.

It was more of the same in the second quarter as the Golden Eagles struggled to hit shots (5-for-17) but Butler had six turnovers, and that let Marquette lead by as many as 14 at one point before a late layup but Butler made it just 11 points, 34-23, at halftime.

Still, moving in the right direction....

And then Marquette missed their first 10 shots of the third quarter and Butler scored 11 straight to tie the game at 34 with 4:26 to go in the period.

That’s bad!

Thankfully, a — SURPRISE — Butler turnover, specifically an Antwainette Walker steal, led to a transition bucket by Jordan King on the other end, and MU retook the lead. They also closed out the quarter on a 9-0 run, assisted by four more Butler turnovers, and it was 43-34 with 10 minutes to play.

That 9-0 run officially turned into 11-0 on a Lauren Van Kleunen bucket to open the fourth, and eventually became 14-3 by the time Butler scored a second basket. LVK again, of course, and that put Marquette up 48-37 with just over five minutes to play. Marquette hit the afterburners from there, shooting 5-for-9 the rest of the way and wrapping up with a 14 point win that wasn’t 16 only because of a bucket at the horn by the Bulldogs.

Marquette couldn’t shoot in this one, finishing up with an effective field goal percentage of just 32%, but they hit shots when it really mattered, so that’s somewhat good news. Butler electing to pass around sticks of butter during their huddles also really helped, because it should be theoretically impossible to lose a game when the other team gives you the ball on 39% of their possessions.

This was also a foul heavy game, largely due to Butler chalking up 21 personal fouls and the two sides combined to shoot 39 free throws in 40 minutes. I don’t know about you, but a game where both teams can’t hit the broadside of a barn, a metric ton of fouls, and one side fumbling the ball away two-fifths of the time just is not a very aesthetically pleasing game. Thankfully, this one is in the past, and the Golden Eagles are still undefeated and in first place in the Big East at 2-0.

Both Karissa McLaughlin and Lauren Van Kleunen had 15 points to lead the way for Marquette, while Jordan King added 12 along with four rebounds and team highs in both assists (4) and steals (6). LVK had nine rebounds to just barely miss a double-double, and she actually snagged five of her nine on the offensive end.

A very good way to watch this game? Highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and FloHoops!

Up Next: Marquette wanders back out into non-conference play for a minute. They’ll play a “road” game this coming Wednesday night when they head across town to tangle with UW-Milwaukee. The Panthers are 4-5 so far this season and are coming off a 1-1 start to Horizon League play.