Marquette women’s basketball just kept scoring more and more points.
I don’t mean that in the “it’s basketball, of course the point totals go up” way. On Wednesday night in the McGuire Center, the Golden Eagles scored more points in each successive quarter for the first 30 minutes on their way to zipping past Ball State, 93-70. Marquette did a lot more than just survive and so they advance to the second round of the 64 team WNIT.
The most obvious thing from the first quarter was that there were going to be a ton of points scored in this game. It was 21-18 after 10 minutes, and for a moment in the middle of the period, Ball State busted out some full court pressure that confounded Marquette into back-to-back turnovers. The question looming over the game at that point was whether the Cardinals’ defense was going to cause havoc for the Golden Eagles all the way through.
After a bucket from Sydney Freeman pulled Ball State within one to start the scoring in the second quarter, the Golden Eagles took off. Marquette snapped off a 14-4 run in just under three minutes of elapsed time thanks to two three-pointers from Karissa McLaughlin who started out this game hitting four of her first six long range bombs. That put the Golden Eagles up 35-24 and that was the advantage that they needed in this game. Ball State was able to trim it down to seven immediately thanks to a very not good foul by Chloe Marotta on a three-pointer from Thelma Dis Agustsdottir, but Marquette built it back up to 11 before it settled at nine at intermission.
But the big question during halftime was the status of Lauren Van Kleunen. Right before the break, she contested a layup by the Cardinals and came down and immediately grabbed her ankle. She eventually walked off under her own power, albeit very gingerly. She had 12 points and seven rebounds in the first half to power Marquette’s 44-35 lead, so the game was very much in doubt if she didn’t return.
But return she did. LVK came jogging out of the locker room, joined the warmup layup lines, and then scored on the first possession of the second half. She was fine, as it turned out.
Marquette’s lead wasn’t locked in stone to a double digit margin after that, though. A three from Freeman pulled BSU within eight, 50-42, at the 6:53 mark of the third quarter. Given it was nine points at halftime, Ball State was keeping this thing within shouting distance..... right up until when they weren’t. Liza Karlen in the paint. Chloe Marotta — who we have not mentioned at all here but she was absolutely bonkers in the second half — in transition. Antwainette Walker slashing up the court after a make by the Cardinals for an and-1. Walker again in the final 20 seconds after picking Marie Kiefer’s pocket.
70-52 Marquette thanks to a 9-2 run to close the quarter and thus double their halftime advantage. That turned into an 11-2 run on the first bucket of the fourth quarter, and heck, string it all the way out to 16-4. Marquette by 23, and it was curtains for the Cardinals with 7:38 to play. MU would eventually lead by as many as 28 before Megan Duffy turned it over to her bench to guide the plane into the hanger.
I mentioned Chloe Marotta a moment ago. She had five points, eight rebounds, and four assists at halftime. In the moment, I thought that if Van Kleunen couldn’t continue, Marotta was going to have to step up big in the second half. LVK came back to play, but Marotta was big time anyway. She went for 14 points and nine rebounds in the second half, doing all sorts of things all over the place to finish with 19 points, 17 rebounds, four assists, plus a block and a steal, all in just 27 minutes before Duffy sat her down for garbage time. I will admit that I am slightly disappointed that I didn’t get to see her put up a 20 & 20 because she absolutely could have done it.
Marotta wasn’t the leading scorer, though. That honor goes to Karissa McLaughlin, who went 6-for-11 from long range to get to a game high 24 points, and she dished six assists to have a hand in at least 36 of Marquette’s points. LVK finished with 20 points and eight rebounds, Liza Karlen had what we could call a quiet 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Antwainette Walker had a very impactful nine points, three rebounds, an assist, and three steals in 21 minutes.
Can I interest you in some highlights, of which there are many, courtesy of FloHoops and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: Marquette advanced, and the WNIT has granted them the right to host the second round game. That will be, as announced after the game, on Monday night at 7pm Central. The opponent at the McGuire Center? Purdue, after the Boilermakers got the 82-60 win over Southern Illinois on Wednesday night. It’s an interesting game to say the least, as it will give grad transfer Karissa McLaughlin to face off against her alma mater for the right to play in the Round of 16 in the WNIT.