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Marquette Women’s Basketball Wins 2023 Fort Myers Tip-Off Championship!

The Golden Eagles hurried out to a big lead against Arkansas and never had to look back.

Marquette forward Frannie Hottinger
Frannie Hottinger had her second double-double of the season in this game.
Marquette University

Going in to Saturday’s Fort Myers Tip-Off championship game, I figured that Marquette Golden Eagles women’s basketball could beat Arkansas and win the game. If they do the blah blah blah, you get it.

Very quickly, it was evident Marquette was going to win the basketball game, and across the span of 40 minutes, the Golden Eagles left no doubt about who won the basketball game. The final was 74-58 as MU moves to 6-0 on the year, but that 16 point margin is not evident of what happened in this game.

A 6-0 start for the Golden Eagles prompted a timeout from Arkansas head coach Mike Neighbors after less than two minutes, but that didn’t fix the Razorbacks problems. MU tacked on two more buckets for a 10-0 lead before four minutes wound off the clock. Samara Spencer drained a three for Arkansas’ first basket of the game, and then Marquette went on a 7-0 run.

17-3, 2:56 left in the first quarter.

The lead never hit single digits again.

Arkansas couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn for the entire first 20 minutes, finishing up at 8-for-28 from the field, and the only reason that Marquette wasn’t up more than 19 at intermission was because six of the Razorbacks’ made baskets were three-pointers.

In the third quarter, Marquette pushed their lead out to 23 in the first minute of action, but Arkansas responded with an 8-0 run which prompted a Marquette timeout because duh, that’s the thing you do when your opponent is catching fire and you’re still up 15. The MU response? A 13-2 run into the final minute of the quarter. The lead was now 26, and any remaining mystery about who was winning was permanently erased.

The Marquette advantage peaked at 28 points in the fourth quarter when Rose Nkumu personally put up five straight by draining a three, picking Carly Keats’ pocket, and zipping down to the other end for a layup. Did Marquette score just two points in the final 6:25? Yes, including nothing at all in the final 4:20. Did it matter at all in the slightest because Arkansas couldn’t do better than an 8-0 run to end the game? No, it did not.

Liza Karlen led three Golden Eagles in double digits here with 20 points, and she just barely missed a double-double on nine rebounds. Frannie Hottinger did exactly what you would expect from her after her Patriot League POY season, putting up 12 points and 12 rebounds to lead Marquette on the glass. Rose Nkumu was MU’s other double digit scorer, with that late five point burst pushing her to 14 along with a rebound, a game high seven assists, three steals, and Fort Myers Tip-Off MVP honors.

How about some highlights — which I think has all 10 Marquette buckets in the first quarter, because let’s be honest, the game was kind of over there, right? — courtesy of GoMarquette.com and Women’s Sports Network?

Up Next: I’m typing this on Sunday morning, and either Marquette is waking up in Milwaukee or flying home to Milwaukee to quite the weather change from Fort Myers as it’s literally snowing right this second. In any case, they’ll have to shake that change off and get ready for another game in the middle of the week. Memphis comes to town on Wednesday for a 7pm Central time start, and FloHoops will have the broadcast on that one. The Tigers are 2-4 on the year after going 1-2 at the Battle 4 Atlantis last weekend. They’ve been off since closing out that event with a 64-57 loss to Middle Tennessee on November 20th, which is weirdly the second time this season that they’ve lost to MTSU after falling 67-47 on the road in their season opener.