On a night where Jordan King passed not one but two women to move into the Marquette women’s basketball all-time scoring top 25 and tied a third for 22nd place, she was not even close to the offensive star. That honor — and top scoring marks for the game — go to Kenzie Hare, as it was her three-point shooting that propelled Marquette to a 64-40 win over Xavier. It is the second straight Big East win for the Golden Eagles, moving them to 6-5 in league play, and this is the first time all season that Marquette has won back-to-back Big East games.
I’m not kidding about Hare making the difference in this game. Her first points off the bench on Wednesday night came late in the first quarter, and her layup put the Golden Eagles up 12-6. The margin would be just two, 14-12, at the end of the first 10 minutes, and Hare wouldn’t score again til past the midway point of the second quarter. With 4:23 left, she hit her first three-pointer of the game, and then less than 45 seconds later she hit another one, this time off an assist from Rose Nkumu. Marquette up 24-16, 3:49 to go.
We hit halftime with the Golden Eagles holding on to a 28-18 lead, and yes, MU held Xavier to just six points in the second period. Hare hit a pair of triples in the third, again less than 45 seconds apart, pushing Marquette from a 37-24 advantage to up 19, 43-24, with 4:09 left in the frame. Ballgame was over at that point.
To review: 18-16 before Hare hits a three.
43-24 after she hits her fourth and final one of the game.
That’s a 21-8 run by the Golden Eagles across effectively a full one-quarter of the game. Not one actual 10 minute officially timed quarter, but a 10-ish minute stretch bridged across halftime. 12 of the 21 points came straight off of Hare’s hands, oh, and she helped out on a Chloe Marotta layup in there, too. Two-thirds of MU’s points in a game deciding run were because Kenzie Hare was Doing The Things.
I’m not kidding about it being over at that point. Marquette’s largest lead in the game was 26, and that came with less than a minute to go. The Golden Eagles outscored Xavier 21-16 over the final 14 minutes and kept right on nudging that lead a little bit further on right up to the very end of the game. It was 14-12 Marquette after 10 minutes, and if head coach Megan Duffy hadn’t emptied her bench with just under four minutes to go, the Golden Eagles would have won by 30.
Hare finished with a game high 18 points, easily doubling up Xavier’s leading scorer, as Fernanda Ovalle led the visitors with just nine points. Hare connected on six of her 11 shots in the game, including a 4-for-6 conversion rate from long range. She has hit 9 of her last 16 attempts across Marquette’s last two games, and I for one am here to see her keep that up for the rest of the season. Jordan King, the aforementioned scoring chart climber had a very robust 17 points, including a 2-for-3 performance from long range. Chloe Marotta racked up a whopping 16 rebounds in the game to pull her within shouting distance of Lauren Van Kleunen on the all-time chart there. Marotta also tied Claire Kaifes for the team lead in assists with three, and Kaifes added four steals to help push the Musketeers to 21 turnovers in 40 minutes.
Can I interest you in some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and FloSports? Hare’s first three comes at the 36 second mark.
Up Next: Marquette will try for a third straight Big East win this coming Sunday when they take a visit to Indianapolis to see Butler. Tipoff is scheduled for 1pm Central time, and FloSports will have the streaming broadcast. The Bulldogs are 7-14 overall and 2-10 in Big East play after a Wednesday night loss at St. John’s by just two points, 67-65, and the Bulldogs had 10 seconds to get a shot to tie or win it at the end. Marquette beat Butler 67-46 in Milwaukee earlier this season.