It took almost all 40 minutes at the McGuire Center for Marquette women’s basketball to figure out how to beat Creighton. The #19 ranked team in the country almost didn’t figure it out, but at the end of the day, it was the #20 team in the country taking the loss. Your final: #19 Marquette 76, #20 Creighton 70, and thus the Golden Eagles move to a program best start of 10-0 on the year.
A bunch of points went through the nets in the first quarter, but a Rose Nkumu layup in the final 15 seconds gave Marquette a 23-16 advantage after 10 minutes. MU opened up the second quarter with seven of the first 10 points, and that meant a 30-19 lead, and for a second there, with Marquette firing in three-pointers and the Bluejays struggling to do the same, it felt like the Golden Eagles were on the verge of blowing the game wide open.
And then Creighton scored seven straight in barely more than 90 seconds, and it was a four point game.
And then Emma Ronsiek bombed in a three-pointer with 62 seconds left before intermission, and the game was tied at 36. 17-6 run. It only took 5:26 for the Bluejays to score the points, but going back to when MU last scored, that run burned off more than seven minutes of clock time.
That Ronsiek three, one of three in the game for her, was the last bucket of the first half, and the two teams traded punches across the length of the third quarter. When that 10 minutes was gone, Creighton had the edge 19-18 in that section of the game and 55-54 on the scoreboard. That was perhaps maybe the quarter of the game that was most like the game that perhaps everyone was expecting to see between two ranked teams at the start of the night.
That punch trading just kept going in the fourth quarter, and a bucket from Liza Karlen, who was on a tear in this game, knotted the show up at 62 each with 6:30 to play.
Tied at 64, 4:28 to go.
Tied at 66, 3:31 to go.
Who’s going to make a few plays in a row to make something happen here? First it was Kenzie Hare splitting two free throws, then a bucket from Karlen, then a long two from Jordan King. Five straight across a two minute span, and Marquette was up 71-66 with 92 seconds to go.
All they had to do now was close it out. Karlen scored again with under a minute to go for a seven point lead, Rose Nkumu hit three of four free throws in the final 35 seconds, and Marquette was able to lock down the W.
Liza Karlen finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds for her second double-double of the season, and she was joined in double digit town by Kenzie Hare (15), Jordan King (11), and Rose Nkumu (11). Hare had the team high in assists with five as well. Perhaps the weirdest part about the whole thing? Marquette finished shooting 4-for-7 from long range, which is a good number and that’s not surprising. The Golden Eagles went 3-for-3 in the first quarter and then Kenzie Hare scored from long range 10 seconds into the second. That’s four. Marquette didn’t get another long range attempt to go down for the entire rest of the game.
Oh, and I didn’t mention it at the top: This was the first Big East game of the season, and that’s overall, not just for these two teams. That means YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles are 1-0 and riding high alone atop the league, at least until Saturday.
Up Next: Marquette returns to action, specifically non-conference action, on Sunday when they host Appalachian State for Winter Wonderland Christmas Day. Tipoff on FloSports is scheduled for 2pm Central. The Mountaineers are 5-3 on the year after falling in overtime at Richmond last Sunday, and they’ll be 2 hours away from home to face Gardner-Webb on Friday night before coming up to Wisconsin.