As the Big East tournament quarterfinal between Marquette and DePaul Blue Demons got started on Saturday afternoon, you could have jokingly said “hey, first to 100 wins, huh?”
You would have been right.
Your final from Mohegan Sun Arena: #5 seed Marquette 105, #4 seed DePaul 85! The Golden Eagles advance to the semifinals of the conference tournament for the sixth consecutive season, while the Blue Demons will have to hope that they’ve done enough for the NCAA tournament committee to let them in.
The two teams both missed their first shots of the game. After that? The next miss for either side didn’t come until the 6:08 mark of the first quarter when Karissa McLaughlin came up empty on a three-pointer for the Golden Eagles. She hit her first two of the game, so who really cares at that point with the Golden Eagles up 14-12. Yes, in less than four minutes, 14-12. That’s what I meant when I said you could have joked about first to 100. That was thrown into relief further when Marquette was sitting on 25 and a three point lead at the end of the period.
The Golden Eagles had led by as many as six in the final minute of the frame, and the second quarter just kind of settled into a nice basketball game for a while. Marquette’s lead never got smaller than two points, and as we hit the midway point of the quarter, MU was up five. Lauren Van Kleunen and Liza Karlen teamed up for a little 5-0 burst thanks to an and-1 drawn by the latter, and the Golden Eagles were up double digits for the first time. It was Karlen again in the final minute that made it 11 at halftime, 54-43.
DePaul came out of the locker room firing, and a bucket by freshman sensation Aneesah Morrow off a Karlen turnover trimmed the margin to just four, 56-52. The message was clear: The Blue Demons were not going to go quietly into the night.
Marquette’s message was also clear: Oh yes you are.
Back-to-back and-1’s from LVK and Jordan King spread the lead back out to eight. DePaul cut it back down to three, 64-61, on a layup by — surprise — Morrow coming off of — surprise — a Marquette turnover. That was with 3:57 left in the period.
It was all Marquette from there.
Jordan King scored going straight down the court just eight seconds after Morrow’s bucket to kick off a 9-1 run by Marquette to end the period. 73-62 after a hookshot by LVK in the waning moments of the period, and a jumper by Karlen on the other side of the quarter break gave the Golden Eagles a 13 point lead, their largest of the game.
That is to say, their largest of the game so far.
Marquette just poured it on from there. Jumper from Chloe Marotta to make it a 15 point game. Jordan King in the lane, 17 point game. Liza Karlen on a putback, 19 point game, 4:59 to play. That’s a 25-9 run by the Golden Eagles in about nine minutes of basketball.
DePaul was out of time at that point. They attempted to crank up the defensive pressure and maybe get some easy buckets out of it, but all it turned into was fouls, making Doug Bruno look like kind of a jerk for fouling to extend the game while down 19 with three minutes and change to go. I can’t help but wonder if one of the refs told him that if his players commit another backcourt foul, they’re calling it a flagrant for intentional foul reasons and giving MU two shots and the ball because all of a sudden DePaul just stopped fouling while still pressuring. Or maybe Doug just realized the score.
Marquette led by at least 20 for almost all of the final three minutes of the game, and that was that.
As befitting a game with 105 points scored, all five Marquette starters hit double figures in points, and three of them scored at least 20. Weirdly, the Golden Eagles got just eight total points from their bench: Six from Antwainette Walker and two from Kennedi Myles, and Myles’ two were literally the final points of the game. Liza Karlen led with 26 on a 12-for-15 shooting day, and she added a game high 14 rebounds to the proceedings. In fact, Marquette was so dominant on the glass on both ends that Karlen (14) nearly outrebounded DePaul (17) as a team all by herself.
How about some highlights, courtesy of Fox Sports and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: Marquette will be back in action in the Big East semifinals on Sunday afternoon. They will face off against top seeded Connecticut after the Huskies obliterated Georgetown 84-38 in their quarterfinal contest. That game wasn’t even that close as the #7 team in the AP poll led the Hoyas 43-9 at halftime. Tipoff is scheduled for 2pm Central, and the broadcast will be on FS1.