#24 Marquette women’s basketball dropped to 1-1 in Big East play on Sunday thanks to an 82-78 loss to Seton Hall out in New Jersey. It is Marquette’s first loss of the season against a team that is not earning Associated Press top 25 votes, but just their second loss of the season as they fall to 7-2 overall.
The Golden Eagles got off to a great start, scoring the first five points of the game, including opening with a three-pointer from Jordan King, and they kept that five point margin by answering Seton Hall’s first bucket of the game with a Chloe Marotta layup. The Pirates pushed back and tied it at seven, and yes, I’m going somewhere with this. Nia Clark hit a three on the ensuing possession, and after a SHU bucket on the other end, Clark hit another three for a 13-9 lead.
That’s three triples in the game for the Golden Eagles so far on four attempts less than four minutes in and this is my point: They would only hit two more the rest of the game, going 2-for-14.
After Clark’s second long range bucket, this thing settled into a back-and-forth. Seton Hall responded with a bucket on the other end on the next possession, and it would take until nearly midway through the second quarter before one team or the other had more than a three-point lead. It was Seton Hall who did it, holding Marquette on 25 points to go from down three to up 11 on a 14-0 run. See the note at the top about the worst defensive performance of the year? Yeah.
3:25 left in the half after Lauren Park-Lane made it 36-25, but Marquette clipped four points off the margin by the time the half ended thanks to a pair of Liza Karlen freebies with 13 seconds left. The Pirates immediately nudged the lead back to double digits, 43-33, as the second half started, but MU came alive after that. A pair of free throws from Chloe Marotta, on her way to a career high 30 point outing, kicked off a 12-2 run by the Golden Eagles to knot the game at 45 apiece. Half the points came from Marotta alone to give you an idea of exactly how little of an idea as to what Seton Hall knew what to do with MU’s super senior on this particular afternoon.
So that’s the good news, turning it into a brand new ball game with 4:39 to play, and retying it back up at 47 each with 3:30 to go. The bad news is that Seton Hall immediately ripped off nine straight to make it like that 12-2 run never happened. A bucket in transition from Clark made it a 56-49 game at the end of the third, so it’s not like it was over, but also not getting a stop — or, honestly, a bucket to break it up — was not great.
MU made a push to start the third, and a three-pointer from King — there’s one of them — with 8:15 to play pulled Marquette within two points, 58-56. Both teams went cold for the next two minutes, and two free throws each for Park-Lane and Marotta left it at a two-point game with 5:57 to play. The Marotta free throws are particularly notable, as they were the result of a technical foul on SHU’s Kae Satterfield, presumably because she didn’t like an out of bounds call that went against the Pirates. That meant it was still Marquette ball, with a chance to tie or take the lead.
They didn’t, which isn’t a problem by itself.
What is a problem is Marquette didn’t score against for another two minutes after that, going without a field goal for over four minutes. When Karlen broke up that streak in transition with 3:52 to play, she pulled MU within five points, 65-60, and MU’s chance to turn the game may have escaped. Yes, they got closer, just three points away from a tie with 3:37 to go and again with 3:12 to play. If they had gotten stops down the stretch, who knows what happens. But they didn’t. Seton Hall scored on three straight possessions, twice on buckets from Park-Lane, who had not been having a good shooting day up to this point, and zip: 73-64, 1:25 to play. That was that, although there was a free throw parade over the final 80 seconds as MU went through that ritual of crossing their fingers.
You’re looking at the final and saying: Wait, didn’t Marquette only lose by four? Didn’t the fouling for freebies work? Yeah, no, it didn’t. Kenzie Hare hit a three — there’s the other one — at the horn to cut SHU’s 82-75 lead to just four as the final.
Yeah, I said it was defense that was the problem for Marquette at the top, but this recap sure makes it sounds like offense was the problem. Two things can be true! It wasn’t a particularly great day for Marquette’s offense in this game, but we’ve seen a lot of “not particularly great” games from the Golden Eagles this season on that end of the court. Her Hoop Stats has them breaking the 1.00 point per possession barrier just once all season, at exactly 1.00 against Holy Cross. Defense has carried Marquette this season, and when you let the other team get to 0.95 points/possession, again per HHS, when no one else has done better than 0.81 against you (hi, Gonzaga), then your not particularly great offense isn’t going to work any more.
Chloe Marotta went 9-for-17 to get to 30 points, adding a perfect 12-for-12 from the charity stripe. She got to a double-double on 12 rebounds, and added three assists, a block, and two steals. Jordan King (14), Liza Karlen (12), and Nia Clark (10) all scored in double digits as well, and Karlen just missed a double-double by one rebound, finishing with nine. King’s five assists led the team as they finished with 16 helpers on 27 buckets.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and FloSports?
Up Next: Back to non-conference play we go, as the Golden Eagles will return to the McGuire Center for two scheduled games this week. Morgan State is scheduled to come to town on Wednesday night, but the 7-2 Bears had a game at Texas A&M on Sunday canceled for health and safety protocol reasons on their end. Loyola Chicago is set for Saturday afternoon, and the Ramblers are 3-6 on the season after beating Bradley at home on Saturday.