If you watched Marquette women’s basketball thunk around to only hit 60 points twice in their last seven games, including going for 52, 61, 44, and 58 since knocking off #4 UConn, and decided to take the under on whatever the line was on Monday night’s game, well, I’m sorry for your loss.
The Golden Eagles came flying out of the gate with a 34 point first quarter at the McGuire Center, never scored fewer than 19 in a quarter, and went rampaging past DePaul, 98-80, in the regular season finale for both squads. Marquette wraps up the regular season with a record of 20-9 overall and 13-7 in Big East play, which leaves them tied for fourth place in the league.
Part of the entire deal of Monday night was DePaul’s mere existence in the game. As per usual, Doug Bruno’s team wants to play a little bit up and down, and Marquette was happy to go along with it... because that tends to mean that the Blue Demons are a little loose with it on the defensive end. Marquette hit them hard out of the starting blocks after Aneesah Morrow opened the game with a three-pointer. The Golden Eagles cracked off a 15-5 run to go up seven and prompt a timeout from the Blue Demons just a little over four minutes in. Seven straight just from Chloe Marotta — on her senior night, no less — made it an 11 point lead for the Golden Eagles with 3:38 left in the quarter, and then MU closed the quarter on a 12-2 run to go up 34-18 after just 10 minutes.
Yeah, it was A LOT, literally and figuratively. Marquette shot 67% from the field in the first 10 minutes, including a very fun 3-for-7 from long range. This is the weapon that the Golden Eagles have been missing most of the season. If they can show the three-pointer as a legitimate threat and keep shooting it, it opens up the floor for Jordan King and Chloe Marotta to make drives to the rim, and that opens up shooters, and you see how this cycle goes.
To a certain extent, the game was over at this point. DePaul never really challenged the Golden Eagles again. Yes, they scored the first seven points of the second quarter... to get within nine. They didn’t get closer than that until there was 3:58 left in the half.... and Jordan King answered with a three 20 seconds later to kick off a 12-0 Marquette run, and only a Keke Rimmer layup right before the horn stopped that from being a 12-0 run to end the half.
Marquette by 18 at halftime.
DePaul scored five quick ones out of the locker room.... but they couldn’t get closer than 13. Marquette scored the final seven points of the quarter and it was MU by 20, 74-54, with 10 minutes to go.
We can have a debate about how safe this game was from there. Did DePaul cut it to 13 with 7:34 to go? Yep, but MU answered with five straight. Did DePaul cut it to 12 with 4:45 to go? Yep, but MU answered with a Liza Karlen and-1 and then a Karlen three-pointer on the next trip to go back up 16. Did two free throws from Rimmer slash the margin to just 11 with 2:41 to go? Yep, but DePaul wouldn’t score again and MU closed on a 7-0 run while DePaul tried to foul their way into the bonus to extend the game but all it did was let it get away from them.
The early story was Chloe Marotta, who was running wild for the Golden Eagles, and closed out her Senior Night with 22 points on 9-for-14 shooting to go with six rebounds and two assists. High scoring honors go to Liza Karlen who hit 10 of her 17 shots, including a perfect 2-for-2 from long range for just the sixth and seventh makes all year from out there. Karlen also hauled in 14 rebounds for a game high there and a double-double, plus she had three assists, three steals, and two blocks. Jordan King has what passes for a quiet game here, getting 20 points on 9-for-12 shooting, plus six rebounds and seven assists and a steal and a block. The assist title for the night goes to Rose Nkumu, who dished eight helpers and returned to the game after an elbow from Aneesah Morrow bloodied Nkumu’s mouth.
How about some highlights, and I do not begrudge the poor athletics department employee who had to make a decision about what was and was not a highlight in this game, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and Fox Sports?
Up Next: Marquette will head to Mohegan Sun Casino for the Big East tournament. As the #5 seed, they will skip past the first round and head straight to the quarterfinals on Saturday, where they will tangle with #4 St. John’s. Tipoff on that one is scheduled for 1:30pm Central time, although the end of the UConn quarterfinal game starting at 11am may affect it. MU/SJU will be airing on FS2.