When Marquette women’s basketball played Villanova earlier this season, the Golden Eagles took advantage of a crazy hot shooting performance behind the three-point line to coast to a relatively easy victory by the time the final horn sounded.
On Friday night at the Al McGuire Center, Megan Duffy’s team went entirely the other direction.
Against a Villanova team that is fearless about letting it fly from long range, Marquette didn’t even attempt a three-pointer until there was 5:40 left in the second quarter. The Golden Eagles would attempt just a trio of three-pointers in the game, one in each quarter, and they ended up missing all three.
That sounds like a recipe for disaster against a potentially potent team like Villanova, and had the Wildcats played like they did in their building earlier this season, that might have been the case. Instead, Marquette held Villanova to an effective field goal percentage of 37.9% and a truly awful 4-for-24 performance behind the three-point line on the way to a 65-57 victory for the Golden Eagles. Marquette is now 15-4 overall and 12-3 in Big East play. I don’t think they have quite guaranteed a top three finish in the conference yet since this will all be determined by winning percentage this year, but they’re now sitting in third place in the Big East with one game up in the loss column on the Wildcats and two up on both Seton Hall and Creighton.
This game started out extremely fast, and quite honestly, the 65-57 final is almost a disappointment from what the first five minutes looked like. It was 11-6 Villanova after a bucket by Maddy Siegrist at the 5:02 mark. Given the pace that the Wildcats like to play at, this thing was probably never coming anywhere close to the 88 point pace that Villanova was running around at, but like I said: a very fast start. Marquette wasn’t playing poorly at that point, at least if you think of just missing shots as not playing poorly. The Golden Eagles turned it around in the next five minutes and let 16-15 at the quarter mark.
Turnovers, and some pretty ugly ones, rose up and bit Villanova in the second quarter. There were a few passes that were lofted to nowhere in particular and saw Golden Eagles just run underneath them for steals. It was tied 20-all at the 5:24 mark, but five VU turnovers allowed Marquette to go on a 9-0 run that allllmost finished out the quarter. Brianna Herlihy got one to go at the horn to snap the run and make it a seven point game, 29-22, at the break.
The third quarter consisted of Villanova making the point that they were not going to go quietly after that 9-2 run to end the first half. A three by Siegrist with 7:07 to go made it a three-point game, and after MU pushed it back up to eight, Herlihy cut it to just one with 3:25 to go. It was a two point game as the two sides headed to the fourth quarter, and it was clearly up for grabs at this point. Neither team was shooting the ball particularly well, so lots of rebounds were up for grabs, too.
Villanova’s last real chance to take control came early in the fourth quarter following an and-1 by Lior Garzon. That made it 49-48 favoring MU with 7:48 to play. Selena Lott scored four of her game high 22 points on either side of a turnover by Garzon to make it a five point game. Nearly two minutes later, neither team had scored again, and a bucket by Camryn Taylor made it a seven point game. MU would ultimately hold Villanova without a point for over three minutes, and the door had been closed.
The two sides traded buckets for a bit, and a layup by Chloe Marotta with 1:05 to play made it a nine point game, 61-52. Looks like it’s over, right?
Yeah, Denise Dillon disagreed.
After Sarah Mortensen missed a shot with 53 seconds to go, she told her team to foul, and Mortensen obliged with 46 seconds to go. But MU wasn’t in the bonus yet..... so Marquette inbounded into the back court..... and Villanova let another 12 seconds go by before fouling again. Just to be clear: Villanova let 19 seconds wind off the clock between Mortensen’s miss and Lott going to the line. If you’re going to do the “we’ll foul them, hope they miss, and then call timeout, advance the ball, and then shoot a bunch of threes to hurry back into this game thing,” you should probably not waste NINETEEN OF YOUR FIFTY-THREE SECONDS getting to the free throw shooting.
Anyway, they did, Lott made both to make it an 11 point game. Timeout, advance the ball, Herlihy scores, nine point game, 28 seconds to go.
Still fouling. Taylor Valladay splits a pair, 10 point game, timeout, advance the ball, Siegrist scores, eight point game, 24 seconds left.
It takes Villanova five seconds to give the foul again.
There are now 19 seconds left. Villanova is down eight. They have no more timeouts. They will have to run the floor no matter what Jordan King does at the stripe. They have shot 23-for-65 from the field so far in this game. What are you doing. Stop it. Take your L. Someone is going to get hurt for absolutely no reason.
I’m writing this bright and early on Saturday morning and I’m still furious about this.
King splits, Garzon misses a three, VU gets the rebound, and MU ends up committing two fouls in the final five seconds, forcing Siegrist to the line with two seconds left. Look, I don’t know if Duffy ordered the Code Red here, and if she did, I don’t like it...... but if she did, I understand why.
Lott finished with 22 points on a not super-great 8-for-19 from the field, but she added 11 rebounds, six assists, and three steals. She was absolutely great in a game that was competitive all the way to the end. Lauren Van Kleunen went for 15 points on 7-for-13 shooting, and Camryn Taylor joined them in double digit town with 10 points. The sophomore forward also added eight rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. Chloe Marotta’s 8/6/3 was quiet but impactful, as was Jordan King’s 3/6/3.
How about some highlights, courtesy of FloHoops and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: Senior Day! Well, kind of, I guess. Monday will be the final home game of the year for the Golden Eagles as they host Creighton for a 6pm tipoff that will be televised on FS1. Officially, going by traditional NCAA rules, this should be final home game for Selena Lott and Lauren Van Kleunen. However, the NCAA granted everyone an extra year of eligibility, and they’re welcome to come back for another go-round if they want. Megan Duffy has spoken in ways that definitely make it sound like 1) things are not decided and 2) the door is open for them. I don’t know what that means for Senior Day type festivities on Monday night, so we’ll wait and see, I guess?