An ugly first half down in Omaha on Friday night turned into an ugly second half for a different reason as Marquette women’s basketball suffered a 62-45 loss to Creighton. The Golden Eagles are now 2-2 in Big East play this season after losing each of their last two contests and 9-4 overall.
This was just your average back and forth basketball game for a good long stretch. Neither team led by more than two points for the entire first quarter, which ended with Creighton up 13-11 thanks to a Jayme Horan three-pointer as the last bucket. The second quarter started out going the same way before a Rose Nkumu jumper with 5:02 to play staked Marquette to the largest lead of the game so far: four whole points, 21-17.
That’s right about where things went off the rails for Marquette.
The next eight points of the game all came from Creighton, and they all came in just over three minutes of action. Just missed shots for the Golden Eagles in that stretch with just one turnover to allow the Jays to go up 25-21. Karissa McLaughlin, apparently fine after her injury scare back before Christmas, scored to halve the lead, but Morgan Maly got the final points of the first half to make it 27-23 at intermission.
Let’s be clear: If you score 23 points in 20 minutes, it’s not a good half of basketball for you. Ugly, to say the least, as the Golden Eagles shot just 10-for-27 from the field (37%) and missed all three of their three-point attempts. Part of the reason why they had taken the four point lead and why they were only down four at the break is because MU provoked Creighton into 11 turnovers in the first half. That was 37% of possessions to that point of the game, and that’s the kind of thing that keeps you in ballgames when you’re not scoring well.
The 8-0 run tilted the game in Creighton’s direction, and then the Jays started out the third quarter dropping the hammer on the Golden Eagles. The home team opened up the period with a 13-2 run to go up 15, 40-25, and that was pretty much it for Marquette from there. Creighton found their scoring touch — although only for 10 minutes, it disappeared in the fourth on them — but that was enough. Marquette never found theirs in this game, and the 13 point margin when they broke the 13-2 run is the closest that they got the rest of the way.
Marquette’s other major problem in this game is that Creighton dismantled MU’s rebounding. The Golden Eagles have always focused on rebounding under Megan Duffy, but on Friday night, they gathered up just 30% of their offensive rebounds, well off their north of 41% season long pace. They were much better in the second half, gathering up 8 of 23 possible, but that wasn’t enough when Creighton was hitting shots. On the other end of the court, Marquette just forgot to get defensive rebounds. The Bluejays have not been a good offensive rebounding team all season, but they made up for their turnover problem by gathering in at least 40% of their misses. When the other team is doing to you what you usually do to the other team, that’s bad news for you, and that’s what happened to Marquette here.
Jordan King was the only Golden Eagle to clear double digits, getting 14 points on 6-for-13 shooting, and she added a rebound and a team high five assists. Chloe Marotta and Liza Karlen tied for the team lead in rebounds with six.
Can I interest you in some highlights, such as they are, courtesy of FloHoops and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: Well, things aren’t going to get easier for Marquette. They’ll play three home games in the next week, starting with a 7pm Central time start against DePaul on Wednesday night. The Blue Demons moved to 12-3 on the season and 4-0 in Big East play with a 98-77 clattering of Providence out in Rhode Island on Friday night. DePaul is one of the very best offensive teams in the country this season, so Marquette will be hard pressed to wrangle them under control while also attempting to keep up with them.