#24 Marquette women’s basketball went through a rollercoaster on Friday morning in Washington, D.C. It went from looking like it might have been a blowout early, to never quite getting into that gear in the second to heading back to blowout to losing half the lead by the end of the third, to looking like it was coming down to the wire....
..... to finally, Marquette beating Georgetown by 21, 78-57. The Golden Eagles move to 1-0 in Big East play, which leaves them amongst a group of five teams still unbeaten in league play, including 2-0 Creighton after they got started last week.
The story of the first quarter was Chloe Marotta racking up 10 points to push MU’s lead as high as 11 points on two different occasions in the final 2:30 of the period before finally settling at 22-13 after 10 minutes. The first points of the second quarter provided Marquette with a brand new largest margin of the game as Kenzie Hare buried a three to make it a 12 point game. As much as it seemed that everything was flying in Marquette’s direction at that point, it never quite kept going. A bucket by Kaliyah Myricks with 3:57 to go before halftime ultimately cut that 12 point margin in half at 31-25, and it seemed like Marquette had themselves a game on their hands.
MU held Georgetown to just one free throw for the rest of the half though, and a second chance bucket from Jordan King with just seconds to go made it a nine point game, 35-26, at intermission. After a 22 point first quarter, totaling up just 13 in the second isn’t great but just running even with Georgetown 13-13 in that 10 minutes isn’t the worst thing, either.
The third quarter was mostly going along with Marquette maintaining their 9-ish point advantage. Sometimes seven, sometimes 10, but right in the ballpark. Right at about the three minute mark, MU got it in gear with a bucket from Marotta, and and-1 contribution from Liza Karlen, and a steal and runout from Rose Nkumu, and TA-DA, that’s a 54-39 game, a 15 point margin all of a sudden, all in just about 50 seconds of time.
And then Marquette just went to sleep for the final two minutes. Seven straight by the Hoyas to close out the frame, including a triple from Brianna Scott right before the horn, slashed that lead almost in half, down to eight at 54-46. 10 minutes to go, and it seemed very clear that this was going to be a brawl down to the wire.
“Seemed” is the key word there. Marquette almost immediately got the lead back to double digits as King hit three of four free throws in the first two minutes. But that didn’t get things kicked off for Marquette. Georgetown kept finding answers. Hare hit another three to make it a 12 point lead, but Kristina Moore got an and-1 on the other end, coincidentally created by a foul by Hare off an inbound under GU’s hoop. 5:41 to go, nine point game.
And then it happened.
Triple from King with a hand in her face.
Split freebies from Nkumu after she got into the lane.
Nkumu drew a charge, and that turned to a quick flip high/low pass from Marotta to Karlen.
15 point lead, matching the best of the day.
Claire Kaifes leaked out after a Hoyas miss for an easy layup from Marotta.
Second chance bucket from Nkumu.
Long two from Karlen.
And then, finally, Georgetown’s Yasmin Ott tallied the Hoyas’ first basket in four minutes. After the bucket: Marquette 74, Georgetown 57, 1:42 to play. Just two free throws from Georgetown in that stretch for the Golden Eagles, 11-2 run that ended the game. MU would score twice more and shut the Hoyas out the rest of the way, so yeah, that’s a 15-4 run in the final 5:40. That’s how you defend your #24 ranking on the road in your league opener. It felt like it could be a blowout at multiple points, including early, but while it never got there throughout the game, it did finally get there at the end, and that’s all that really matters, right?
Part of the reason why it didn’t until late? Georgetown figured out how to turn off Chloe Marotta’s output. After she scored 10 on 4-for-6 shooting in the opening period, MU’s super senior shot just 1-for-7 the rest of the way. She had a great game no matter what, finishing with a double-double on 12 points and 14 rebounds and adding eight assists and a block. She was a big part of what Marquette did, and you could easily argue that Georgetown having to clamp down on her opened up the rest of the court for her teammates.
Like, say, for Jordan King, who had 23 to lead the way, including a 4-for-6 outing from behind the arc. King added five rebounds, five assists, a block, and three steals to power MU on both ends of the court. Liza Karlen had a good game as well, rounding out the group of double digit scorers with a 15 point day and joining Marotta on the double-double list with 12 rebounds, plus four assists, three blocks, and a steal. Kenzie Hare’s nine points are relatively speaking quiet, but if she can lean more towards her 3-for-5 shooting from behind the arc in this game than her 31% shooting coming into this game, that’s going to pay off big dividends for the Golden Eagles.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and FloSports?
Up Next: This is getting published on Saturday morning, which means we’re not much more than 24 hours away from MU’s next contest. At Noon Central on Sunday, they’ll be in New Jersey for a showdown with fellow 1-0 squad Seton Hall. The Pirates beat Xavier 74-55 in Cincinnati on Friday night, so they’ll have a much more rushed travel schedule to get back and get ready for this game than Marquette will coming up from D.C. after wrapping up on Friday afternoon. Seton Hall is 5-3 on the season after the win.