What’s the takeaway from going on the road against the #8 team in the country, falling behind 9-0 in the first three and a half minutes, but ultimately only taking a 13 point loss? That’s the question at hand for Marquette women’s basketball after they lost 61-48 to #8 Connecticut on Saturday afternoon.
MU didn’t do themselves any favors out of the gate, committing two of their 14 turnovers in the game in their six possessions. That’s how you fall behind 9-0, but after a timeout from head coach Megan Duffy, things got back on the rails for MU. Freshman Emily La Chapell hit a pair of three-pointers to generate a 6-0 burst for the Golden Eagles, and lo and behold we had ourselves a basketball game.
Said game favored the home team, as Lou Lopez Senechal gave UConn a nine point lead heading into the second quarter, but keeping the thing in single digits is a good effort after the rocky start. Also a good effort? Holding UConn scoreless for the first five minutes of the second quarter, and two early buckets from Marquette made it a 19-15 game for a minute. The Huskies got back on the scoring track but again, the lead never breached double digits, and a free throw right before the half had Marquette trailing by six, 28-22. That’s 22-19 Marquette if you toss out the 9-0 start, and that’s actually pretty good.
After two straight quarters of trying to get it there, a pair of free throws from Aaliyah Edwards finally pushed UConn to a 10 point lead, 33-22, at the 8:01 mark of the third quarter. That’s as wide as the gap got, and a three-pointer from Claire Kaifes midway through the period pulled MU within five. They couldn’t get closer though, and the Huskies eventually dragged the margin back to nine after 30 minutes. Again: After the awful start, Marquette was fighting the #8 team in the country to a standstill.
It still wasn’t over, not by a long shot, and a three from La Chapell followed by a bucket in the paint from Liza Karlen on MU’s next possession pulled the Golden Eagles within six, 48-42, with 7:41 to play. This was up for grabs, let’s be clear about this. Senechal would not be denied though, and she scored twice about a minute apart to put UConn up 11, 57-46, with 3:18 to go, and the lead would finally stay in double digits the rest of the way.
Marquette’s offense just didn’t have the pop that they needed to do the job, and that’s a refrain that’s come up over and over again this season. The defense worked, forcing UConn into turnovers on nearly 26% of their possessions, and if you can hold the #8 team in the country to just 46% shooting from the field, you’re doing something right. But the Golden Eagles only hit 35% of their own shots, including a very not good 5-for-18 from long range. 28% is bad, especially as MU fell in love with the long ball to the tune of 1-for-7 in the third quarter.... oh, and by the way? Everyone not named Emily La Chapell shot 2-for-14 from behind the arc.
Liza Karlen shook off her bad day at home against Villanova with team highs in points and rebounds with 15 and six respectively, going 7-for-12 from inside the arc. Unfortunately, four of Marquette’s missed triples came from Karlen as she missed every try she had in the game, and she also committed five of MU’s 14 turnovers. La Chapell was back in the starting five for the first time since the opener, and had 11 points thanks to her 3-for-4 long range shooting, and Chloe Marotta joined Karlen and La Chapell with double digits points, landing exactly on 10.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and SNY?
Up Next: While Marquette is now 9-5 on the year and 2-3 in Big East play and on a three game losing streak, they didn’t play poorly in the last two. The question is whether they can go from playing relatively well to getting a win, and that gets tested on Wednesday night when they visit DePaul. Tipoff at Wintrust Arena is set for 7pm Central, and FloHoops will have the broadcast. The Blue Demons are 3-1 in Big East action and coming off a New Year’s Eve home loss to #21 Creighton even though they led by seven with 10 minutes to play.