2023 Big East Women’s Basketball Tournament
#4 St. John’s Red Storm (22-7, 13-7 Big East) vs #5 Marquette Golden Eagles (20-9, 13-7 Big East)
Date: Saturday, March 4, 2023
Time: 1:30pm or 30 minutes following the conclusion of UConn/Georgetown
Location: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut
Television: FS2, with John Fanta, Kim Adams, and Meghan Caffrey calling the action
Streaming: FoxSports.com/live or the Fox Sports app
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB
Season Series: 1-1, with both sides winning at home
All-Time Series: Marquette leads, 21-11
When these two teams squared off at the Al McGuire Center on February 18th, I thought that we might be looking at a NCAA tournament play-in game between the two. At the time, Marquette was trending into the field of 68, while the Red Storm were going the other way. Since then, the Johnnies did the thing that most helped Marquette down the stretch: Beat Connecticut. That win had a little bit more value than Marquette’s win over the Huskies, as the Red Storm went up to Hartford and secured their 69-64 victory on the road. That means that right now, according to ESPN’s Charlie Creme as of Friday morning, both Marquette and St. John’s are sitting amongst the Last Four In for this year’s NCAA tournament. As of Friday morning, Marquette sits at #42 in the NET, St. John’s sits at #55. Time is a flat circle, etc., and yet once again, it looks like MU and SJU could be playing an NCAA tournament play-in game in the Big East quarterfinals.
In the first meeting between the two teams, St. John’s controlled the run of play for the most part, and led by as many as 11 points at one spot in the third quarter. The Golden Eagles turned it around after that, taking a one point lead midway through the fourth, but couldn’t hold the Johnnies off the board long enough to secure the road win. We can’t really say that Marquette didn’t slow down the Red Storm offense as they only managed 66 points, but even with both Jordan King and Chloe Marotta going for big performances, MU’s offense couldn’t do enough to overcome a pair of 18 point nights from Jayla Everett and Kadaja Bailey.
When things shifted to Milwaukee a few weeks ago, Marquette largely speaking just repeated their performance again: 24/6/6 and two steals from Jordan King, 14/12/4 and a block and a steal from Chloe Marotta, not much from anyone else really (okay, seven assists from Rose Nkumu, you get the point) and MU tallied exactly 61 points for the second time this season against the Red Storm. The difference? The Golden Eagles held St. John’s to single digit scoring in every quarter except for the second and just 17 points total in the second half. You can win a lot of basketball games only allowing 38 points, and that’s what MU did. Is St. John’s going to shoot 27% from the field and just 1-for-8 from long range again? Probably not, but I think it would be very neat if they did so.
Other than the obvious shutdown of the St. John’s offense, the biggest difference in the two games was Liza Karlen. She missed the visit to Queens after undergoing oral surgery in the middle of the season, and then posted six points and seven rebounds in the second meeting. It’s not much, but having her presence in the middle does change things for the Golden Eagles. Maybe not against St. John’s, as Marquette rebounded the ball exceptionally well in both meetings, but it’s an added dimension to the team that MU was missing in the first encounter. Karlen was on fire in the regular season finale against DePaul, putting up 26 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and three steals. If she can keep up the mindset that got her that production — including raining in both of her long range attempts, just her sixth and seventh makes of the season — that can make a big impact on what Marquette can do the rest of the season.
The aforementioned Everett and Bailey are the top two threats on the St. John’s roster, as they’re the only players averaging in double digits in points. They’re both well over that mark with Everett at 16.1 and Bailey at 13.4 per game. They’re both quality three-point shooters as well, with Everett firing off over 160 threes this season and connecting on nearly 43%. Bailey’s not too bad at 37%, so the Golden Eagles have to work to make both women inefficient on the offensive end. Jillian Archer and Rayven Peeples aren’t really scoring threats for the Red Storm and head coach Joe Tartamella, but they will go get you some rebounds. Peeples leads the team at 8.7 per game, and Archer isn’t that far behind at 7.8 per game. St. John’s is a pretty solid offensive rebounding team at #114 in the country in rate according to Her Hoop Stats, so MU will need to make sure that their #36 defensive rebounding is up to the task just like they were in the first two meetings. The Johnnies don’t do a good job ending possessions with a rebound, so the Golden Eagles need to take advantage of that to tack on some extra points, especially if the shots aren’t falling.
The winner of this game will advance to Sunday’s semifinals. They will get the winner of the quarterfinal game between #1 Connecticut and #9 Georgetown, and that semifinal contest will be played at 2pm Central time with a broadcast on FS1.
Stat Watch: Jordan King has passed Clare Barnard for 17th place on Marquette’s all-time scoring list. King is 31 points away from tying and 22 from passing Danielle King for 16th place.
Stat Watch #2: Chloe Marotta is Marquette’s 33rd career 1,000 point scorer. She is holding down 32nd place all time on the all time scoring list. Marotta needs 12 points to catch and 13 to pass Kiesha Oliver for 31st place.
Stat Watch #3: Chloe Marotta has passed Lisa Oldenburg for the 8th most rebounds in Marquette history. Marotta sits 59 rebounds away from Pam Suplicki in 7th place, which effectively means that she’s stuck in eighth unless 1) She starts grabbing 15 rebounds a game or 2) Marquette goes on a very deep postseason run. The possibility of becoming the 8th woman with 900 career rebounds is very much on the table, but she does still need 17 more to get there.
Stat Watch #4: Jordan King has passed Natisha Hiedeman for 6th place on the all-time Marquette assists list. King needs four assists to catch and five to pass Amani Wilborn for 5th place, so that’s on the table for the quarterfinals.
Stat Watch #5: Chloe Marotta has hit 300 assists for her career. I don’t know for sure, but she is one of the few if not the only woman to ever go for 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, and 300 assists in MU history.