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Marquette Women’s Basketball Preview: vs Georgetown & vs Villanova

The Golden Eagles are back at it and back at home for two games this weekend.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 30 Longwood at Georgetown Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

How’s everybody doing after Wednesday night’s overtime thriller between Marquette and DePaul? Everybody caught their breath? Heart rates and blood pressures back down and in normal ranges?

The good news is that Marquette got the W. They kind of needed it. Between dropping two straight to fall to 2-2 in Big East play and both losses coming against teams that Marquette should be competitive with and Marquette effectively handing both teams the game by way of second half droughts, it was kind of a bad scene all around. Well, at least a bad scene relative to “you have 16 conference games left to go.”

Beating DePaul was a big deal for a couple of reasons. First, there’s just the “they were undefeated in the Big East” part, so shuffling the standings is always good for you. Second, DePaul has a heck of a lot of big games in their deck already, so they’re going to stay a high quality NET opponent for the rest of the season. Third, the Blue Demons were earning AP top 25 votes this past week, and while MU isn’t going to suddenly steal those votes, it’s going to make those voters look at Marquette at least a little bit.

Finally, and this is big one for Marquette and how things are going for them: The Golden Eagles had a second half drought and still found a way to win. MU was up 11 at one point in the third quarter, and then with just less than seven minutes left in regulation, they were down seven. That’s an 18 point swing, and that is one heck of a drought. But they won, and that’s what’s important. It’s a proof of concept win, they can take a punch and bring it back afterwards.

Now they get two more home games to help bolster the ol’ record. Without being mean to anyone, this weekend’s opponents aren’t quite on the same level as DePaul so far this season, so hopefully this means that Marquette can focus on doing the things that Marquette is good at and move to 5-2 in the league.

Big East Game #6: vs Georgetown Hoyas (6-4, 1-1 Big East)

Date: Friday, January 14, 2022
Time: 7pm Central
Location: Al McGuire Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Streaming: FloHoops, with Bob Brainerd and Patricia Babcock McGraw on the call
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

Marquette is 22-4 all time against Georgetown. After last year’s 55-48 victory in D.C., the Golden Eagles have now won eight straight against the Hoyas and 11 of the last 12.

Between November 9th and December 13th, Georgetown crammed in 10 games. That’s actually kind of impressive, even if it required fitting in a non-D1 opponent. The results, well, not so much. Only one of those game — a 64-38 loss to Creighton in Omaha — was against a top 100 opponent. Everything else they played falls between #111 and #301 in the NET at the moment, and well, there’s a clear dividing line for the Hoyas. If you are above #140 in the NET, you beat Georgetown. If you were below it — George Washington, Coppin State, Loyola (MD), and Navy — you lost to the Hoyas. As such, Georgetown’s own NET is hanging out at #185

Not good.

Also not good: The fact that Georgetown hasn’t played a basketball game since December 13th. They’ve had four Big East games postponed already, and this will be their first action in a month. Three of them have been put back on the calendar already, which is good news, but that’s not going to help them be up to fighting speed by the time this game tips off on Friday night.

When the Hoyas were up and running, they were led by the pairing of Milan Bolden-Morris and Kelsey Ransom. Those are their two double digit scorers, with the 5’10” Bolden-Morris having the team lead at 13.2 per game. She’s also Georgetown’s primary long range shooter, connecting on 44% of her more than six attempts per game. The Hoyas don’t shoot many threes as a team, so it’s going to be critical to not let Bolden-Morris go wild. Ransom, a 5’10” guard out of New Jersey, is also Georgetown’s team leader in assists, racking up 4.4 helpers per game. That works out to ranking #23 in the county in assist rate according to HerHoopStats.com, so the Golden Eagles are going to have to watch out for her.

Georgetown is just a middle of the road team in the rebounding departments, so there’s nothing good or bad for Marquette to focus on there. Jillian Archer leads the squad per game at 6.8, and Graceann Bennett is right behind her at 6.0 a night. That’s a pretty good one-two punch on the glass, so as long as the Golden Eagles put bodies on them, things should work out okay.

One thing that GU is particularly good at this is season is getting to the free throw line. Her Hoop Stats has them at #34 in the country in FT Rate, or the ratio of free throw attempts to field goal attempts. They don’t make a lot of freebies, only 67%, but the fouls themselves could end up impacting how the Golden Eagles defend.

Big East Game #7: vs Villanova Wildcats (8-5, 2-2 Big East)

Date: Sunday, January 16, 2022
Time: 1pm Central
Location: Al McGuire Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Television: CBS Sports Network, with Joel Godett and Kelly Burke on the call
Streaming: CBSSports.com
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

Marquette is 17-10 all time against Villanova. The Golden Eagles have won 10 of the last 11 meetings between the two squads.

Villanova had a rough start to the season. They lost by 17 at home to Princeton, although that turns out to be not terrible, and then they went down to Maryland and got crushed by the then-#4 ranked Terrapins. After two Big Five wins, they lost at home by six to Temple to drop to 2-3 on the season, and then to make matters worse, then the Wildcats dropped their first two Big East games.

Losing to Creighton on the road by 14? Not so bad. Losing on the road at Providence by 19? Active disaster, honestly.

Since then: Five straight wins, including a home upset of then-#23 Oregon State and back-to-back Big East wins over Seton Hall and St. John’s. Sure, the league wins were close and at home, but wins are wins especially when it evens you out at .500 in the conference. They did have a game against Connecticut get dumped for the time being, and they’ll be in Chicago to face DePaul on Friday night before they come to Milwaukee.

Her Hoop Stats has the Wildcats just barely outside the top 100 for Offensive and Defensive Ratings, #108 and #106 respectively. I’m surprised that they’re not worse than that on offense, to be honest. Villanova is playing predictable Denise Dillon basketball: A Metric Ton Of Three-Pointers. They rank #46 in the country in terms of how much of their offense is derived from behind the arc.... but the catch is that they’re only shooting 29% as a team on those, and that ranks #229 in the country. As a result, VU’s effective field goal percentage is #203 in the country and their field goal percentage is #243.

Everyone on the Villanova roster is somewhere between bad and barely passable when it comes to shooting the long ball. Lucy Olsen is the barely passable one at 34.1% on the year, and she’s attempting just over three per game while starting for the Wildcats. Only two other players — Lior Garzon and Brooke Mullin — are north of 30%, and both of them are below the 33.3% cutoff where three-pointers are just as valuable as shooting 50% at the rim. Garzon and Mullin are #1 and #3 on the team in terms of attempts per game..... with Maddy Siegrist and her 22.2% conversion rate landing in between them at 5.1 tries a night. Siegrist has been a decent to good long range shooter so far in her collegiate career, but this might be a “let her shoot it til she makes one” situation for Marquette.

After all, you’d much rather have Villanova’s leading scorer taking shots she’s bad at. Siegrist gets 22.9 points a night for the Wildcats, and she’s shooting 50% on 15 attempts inside the rim to get there. Siegrist is also the team’s rebounding leader at just short of 10 per game, and she’s not far the from the team lead in assists at 2.3 per night. If shooting and missing a lot of threes ends up frustrating her into losing focus on both ends, that might be good news for the Golden Eagles.