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Sink The Pirates, Part 1: Marquette 62, Seton Hall 43

In the first of two Golden Eagle/Pirate games of the evening, Megan Duffy’s squad started completely dialed in and never let go.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Marquette vs DePaul
Lauren Van Kleunen came up big for the Golden Eagles on Wednesday night.
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this season, Marquette and Seton Hall played a mostly tight game in South Orange that the Pirates won on their floor because MU fell asleep for seven minutes and gave up a 16-0 run.

It seems clear that Megan Duffy’s pregame message to her team on Wednesday night was NEVER LET UP, because the Golden Eagles came out of the gate locked in and playing with energy and enthusiasm. As a result, the Pirates never had a chance.

Marquette didn’t let Seton Hall score 10 points in a quarter until after halftime, and since MU was already up 11 at the break, all they had to do was keep pouring it on. And so they did, and so Marquette won, 62-43. The Golden Eagles are now 14-5 overall and 7-3 in the Big East.

So with 3:38 left in the first quarter, Andra Espinoza-Hunter drained a beaut of a baseline jumper to beat the shot clock off a sideline inbound to make it 11-7 favoring Marquette. Lots of energy from Marquette, but it looked like we had a real game going.

And then Seton Hall didn’t score again for the rest of the quarter.

Sure, Marquette only got one bucket, a layup from Lauren Van Kleunen, but that’s one more than the Pirates, and it was MU by six after one period. Second quarter started, and it took Seton Hall 90 seconds to get anything on the board. That’s five straight scoreless minutes from SHU. It was still close though, and Sidney Cooks made it a three-point game with 7:35 to go.

Marquette responded to the Seton Hall action by ripping off an 8-0 run across more than four minutes of game time to put themselves up 11. That was the margin heading to halftime. After the two sides traded buckets to open the third quarter, Marquette snapped off another seven straight to go up 17, 36-19, and then the Golden Eagles answered an Espinoza-Hunter triple with nine straight, capped by a three-pointer from Jordan King. 45-22, and this one was effectively over with 4:27 to go in the third.

Seton Hall would managed to pull it under 20 points, and for the most part they kept it there. That little bit of pushback was just enough for Megan Duffy to stay on her team to keep the energy going to stop the Pirates from rolling back into the game. Eventually, late, Marquette pushed it back north of 20 and the only thing stopping it from landing there for good was a Curtessia Dean three-pointer with under a minute to go.

There’s a lot of good things that Marquette did in this game, but the biggest one is ultimately something bad that they made Seton Hall do. The Pirates finished the game shooting 28% from the field and just 32% in the effective field goal percentage department. The biggest reason why? Lauren Park-Lane and Andra Espinoza-Hunter, SHU’s top two scorers, were a combined 10-for-31 from the field. At least Espinoza-Hunter can say she went 3-for-6 from long range to help clean up her end of the mess. Park-Lane kept launching herself into the lane for layup attempts, and the 5’6” Delaware native kept having problems dealing with Liza Karlen and Lauren Van Kleunen on the interior for the Golden Eagles, all the way to the tune of 5-for-15 shooting inside the arc.

LVK was Marquette’s top scorer, getting 23 points on 9-for-13 shooting, and she added 12 rebounds for a double-double along with three assists, two steals, and a block. Liza Karlen had the double-double she missed last time out, getting 14 points and a career best 15 rebounds. Chloe Marotta led the team in the passing department, edging out three teammates with three assists by posting four of her own.

How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and FloHoops?

Up Next: Marquette will handle a two-step against their New York City conference rivals in the weirdest way possible by heading out to Queens to face St. John’s on Sunday afternoon. The Red Storm are 6-12 on the year and 2-6 in conference play after beating Georgetown on Tuesday night. SJU will have to visit DePaul on Friday before returning home to host the Golden Eagles on Sunday.