It’s time for Marquette women’s basketball to start avenging some losses.
Last weekend, Marquette advanced their Big East record to 6-3 on the season with a pair of relatively easy road wins over Xavier and Butler. Good news all around, as it leaves the Golden Eagles in fourth place in the league with nine of their 20 conference games played.
However, you can’t help but look at Marquette’s record to this point and ask yourself how close they were to being 8-1 and tied with DePaul for second place. Their road loss to Creighton is, at this point of the calendar, pretty much explainable as the Bluejays continue to tear it up and point themselves toward the NCAA tournament. The narrow loss to Villanova at home on January 16? Mmmmmm, that one you want back.
Same goes for their 69-57 loss on the road to Seton Hall on December 19th. Sure, at a glance, 12 point loss, on the road, against the team that was picked to finish in third ahead of MU.... lots going on there that says “yeah, well, things happen.” Except.....
Well, Marquette was tied in that game in the fourth quarter before giving up an outrageous 16-0 run that ended the game. Not actually ended, not that the run went to the final horn, but when you’re down 16 with a couple of minutes left, the game’s over. That game was there for Marquette to win.... and they just played like someone turned off their controllers for about six minutes. To make matters worse, Seton Hall doesn’t exactly look like an NCAA tournament team like they were predicted to look like at the start of the season with their 8-8 record on the year. It’s not a bad loss at #108 in the NET right now, but it’s one you’d much rather not have.
But the Golden Eagles have it and there’s not much they can do about it. Not nothing, because what they can do is go out and beat the Pirates on Wednesday night at the McGuire Center. It’s Pride Night at the Al, which officially means that Marquette is celebrating the LGBTQ people in the MU community. However, you also can’t help but see it as a lower-case-p pride night for Megan Duffy’s squad because of how that last meeting with Seton Hall went. I presume no one in that locker room is happy with how that game turned out, but they can take some pride (see?) in how they play and how they handle things like that by turning around and getting the home win in the season series.
Big East Game #9: vs Seton Hall Pirates (8-8, 3-5 Big East)
Date: Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Time: 7pm Central
Location: Al McGuire Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Streaming: FloHoops with Patrick Reed, Michelle Griffin Wenzel, and Alexis Downie on the call
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB
Marquette is 16-10 all time against Seton Hall. The Pirates have won three straight in the series, but MU has still won eight of the last 12.
Here’s the long and short of what happened when these two teams met in South Orange earlier this season: It was tied at 51 points each in the fourth quarter when Marquette gave up a 16-0 run to the Pirates, and as a result, Seton Hall won, 69-57. That’s it, you don’t need to try hard to analyze anything that happened, because that unbroken stretch is, ultimately, the only part of that game that mattered.
At the time, the win was Seton Hall’s first in Big East play after opening up with losses to Connecticut and St. John’s. Since beating Marquette, things have been.... there. They beat Wagner by eight, lost by three at Villanova, got smashed by 23 at Creighton, crushed Providence by 20 in Rhode Island, and then got revenge on the Johnnies in Walsh Gym with a five point win. Their most recent contest was back on Friday night when they went up to Storrs and lost by 33 to UConn.
Sure, it’s a rough draw to catch both of your meetings with the Huskies in your first eight Big East games. However, even if you throw those out, Seton Hall is still only 3-3 in the league after being picked to finish third behind UConn and DePaul. That’s not particularly good.
On one hand, I’m surprised that Lauren Park-Lane is leading Seton Hall in scoring at 17.3 points per game, but on the other, it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to be happening. LPL is actually averaging fewer points than she did last season, but she’s only down 0.2 per game from last year. Obviously the 5’6” Delaware native has proven she’s capable at scoring at a 17-plus point clip, so it’s not surprising that she’s doing it again. My surprise comes more from the fact that Andra Espinoza-Hunter isn’t leading the team. She’s clearly great, averaging 16.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, and she would have been my guess for the leading scorer. Sidney Cooks is the top rebounder on the squad at 7.4 per game and she’s gone for at least 12 boards in three of Seton Hall’s six games since they faced Marquette.
Finally, we can’t wrap up this preview without mentioning Seton Hall head coach Tony Bozzella. If you’ve never watched MU play SHU in person before, I highly recommend you wander on down to the McGuire Center tonight to see what antics the most hyperactive coach in the Big East gets himself up to tonight. I’m not going to say that he’s worth the price of admission alone, but it’s definitely contributing to my anticipation for the game.