Well, the thing that we were crossing our fingers that wouldn’t happen on Friday night happened: Marquette women’s basketball got steamrolled by #3 Connecticut. Your final score from the McGuire Center: UConn 87, Marquette 58. The Golden Eagles are now 12-3 on the year and 9-2 in Big East action. That’s two games behind the Huskies in the loss column, and since Marquette is in second place, that probably wraps up the regular season title for UConn, even though they still have nine potential games left to play.
It was a situation where everything just snowballed on Marquette. Up through the first media timeout, both teams had committed five turnovers in the game, and Connecticut held a 9-6 lead. That’s fine. Marquette committed another two turnovers in the first quarter while UConn committed none. Your score after 10 minutes: 21-14 favoring the visitors. Snowballing.
Marquette’s 32% shooting in the first quarter got worse in the second, as they went 4-14 from the field as UConn outscored the Golden Eagles 20-8 in the period. That’s your ball game. Marquette went into the half down 19 to the #3 team in the country, and at that point there was nothing that anyone was going to be able to do to change the outcome of the game.
That’s where I abandoned the broadcast on SNY and went over to the top 25 volleyball match between #25 Marquette and #19 Creighton. Thus, I missed the other end of Paige Bueckers becoming the first UConn freshman to record back-to-back 30 point games as she hung a 30/3/2 with a steal on the Golden Eagles. 12-for-18 from the field, 6-for-9 from long range. She’s really great, Marquette couldn’t do anything to stop her, and I’m very mad at the pandemic for costing me one of my four opportunities to see her in person.
It wasn’t a bad performance by Marquette, at least not in the 20 minutes I watched. It looked like what Marquette basketball is supposed to look like. The difference was that the shots weren’t falling for the Golden Eagles, which is a major problem when you’re trying to shock the world with an upset. It’s also what Marquette basketball looks like when they’re going up against the best collection of athletes that they’ve seen all season. Maybe you can argue that one of the teams that MU has seen before this weekend was an individual worse matchup for Marquette than any single player on the Huskies roster (doubtful, they have Bueckers, but you get the idea, bad for MU, not better than Bueckers), but the combination of what UConn can throw at Marquette leads to multiple issues all over the court. The Huskies are that tiny fraction faster when moving, quicker when acting, stronger when they use their strength, etc. etc., than any other team that Marquette has faced. That took the Golden Eagles out of their comfort zones and it showed as they couldn’t get shots to fall. It is what it is, and it’s the goal for head coach Megan Duffy and her staff to keep aiming the program upwards at getting on UConn’s level in that regard.
How about some highlights, such as they are, courtesy of SNY and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: Hopefully Marquette takes out their frustrations on DePaul on Sunday afternoon. The #20 ranked Blue Demons come to Milwaukee for a 11am start on FS1. Quite honestly, the UConn game was a scheduled loss. The DePaul game is not, and if the Golden Eagles knock off their I-94 rivals, then the result of the Connecticut game doesn’t really matter.