Back on February 5th, Connecticut came to Milwaukee and handed Marquette women’s basketball their lunch. Your final: 87-58, after Paige Bueckers ran wild for 30 points on 12-for-18 shooting. That was on the road, as much as on the road means anything in this pandemic season. On Monday night, Marquette made their first trip to Storrs since the Huskies returned to the Big East, and if I said there wasn’t a certain amount of trepidation in my mind when I turned on CBS Sports Network to watch, I’d be lying.
And then Marquette never trailed by more than 15 the entire night.
After a first quarter that ended with Connecticut on a 7-0 run to put the home team up 11 and made it look like things were slipping away from the Golden Eagles.... Marquette played Connecticut even the rest of the game. In fact, Marquette won the remaining 30 minutes, 42-41, as the final margin was only 10, 63-53. The loss drops Marquette to 14-4 to end the regular season, while Connecticut finishes their first regular season back in the Big East with a perfect although COVID shortened 18-0 mark.
Marquette never truly threatened Connecticut in this game. The closest that they got after the end of the first quarter was when MU ripped off eight straight to cut a 15 point lead down to just seven midway through the third quarter. The Golden Eagles were able to keep the thing within shooting distance of a 10 point margin the whole time, but they just couldn’t get it to the point where UConn was honestly and truly in trouble.
But they had them one stage past that, which is “boy, we’d better make a play right here otherwise they might get on a run and then we’d be in trouble.” Connecticut had to do that pretty much the whole game, and that was a drastic improvement on MU’s first game against them. I’ll take it.
With both teams struggling to shoot the ball well and turning it over a bit too much, the game was decided on the glass. UConn and Marquette are two of the best rebounding teams in the country on both ends of the court, so it’s not surprising that things ended up being decided by which team was able to impose themselves in that aspect. Marquette grabbed 22% of their misses in this game, well off their season pace of 39%, which ranks #22 in the country. UConn? Yeah. So. They snared 50% of their misses. Three Huskies grabbed at least three offensive rebounds, led by Aaliyah Edwards, who had five of her eight rebounds in the game come on the offensive end. UConn’s a good offensive rebounding team, #31 in the country per HerHoopStats.com. Marquette’s a good defensive rebounding team, ranking #36 in the country. Didn’t help Marquette here, and that’s how UConn ended up with 24 of their points coming on second chance opportunities.
That’s your ball game, along with the fact that Marquette only had seven second chance points.
Camryn Taylor was superb for Marquette in her 24 minutes of action, going for 19 points to lead the team on 7-for-12 shooting and grabbing six rebounds. Lauren Van Kleunen’s seven rebounds led MU in that department, and she added 12 points, too. Jordan King had a nice across the board night with 11 points, four rebounds, and three assists. The Huskies were able to stop Selena Lott’s scoring — she had just six points on 3-for-12 shooting — but the senior guard had eight assists and three steals to help her squad generate some offense.
Olivia Nelson-Ododa tore it up for the Huskies, going for 19 points, 10 rebounds, and a totally wild six blocks. MU was able to contain Bueckers this time around, holding her to 13 points on 6-for-17 shooting and 1-for-6 from downtown. The Golden Eagles also induced four turnovers from the presumptive Big East Freshman of the Year.
Up Next: The Big East tournament! We know that Marquette will be in action at Mohegan Sun Casino on Saturday in the quarterfinals as the #2 seed in the tournament and their game will tip off at 5pm Central on FS2. We don’t know who the opponent is yet, though. We’ll have to wait until after Friday’s first round game between Providence and Butler to see who the Golden Eagles will face.