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#23 Marquette Women’s Basketball Preview: vs DePaul

Who’s ready for a second straight Golden Eagles game on national television? That’s right, YOU ARE.

Big East Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

A lot of good things happened in Marquette’s win over Seton Hall last time out.

The win is obviously a good thing at face value, and it gives the Golden Eagles a second win over a top 50 NET team this season. That’s definitely good. It was also a great game for Jordan King after she struggled in a big way against Xavier the game before, a struggle that was mostly masked by MU running up the score against the Musketeers.

It was also really great to see Liza Karlen assert herself and put up a new career best in scoring. That’s great on its own, but perhaps more importantly, she did it without Frannie Hottinger in the lineup. Whether that’s “the rotations changed so Karlen was a little more free to do things” or “Karlen knew she had to step up and she did,” it’s all good news for Marquette for that 40 minutes of basketball.

I’m also curious as to what it means that Hottinger wasn’t available against the Pirates on Tuesday night. When I say “not available,” I mean she wasn’t even on the bench in South Orange. That’s not great for her long term availability, and all I have is speculation on the topic because 1) Marquette refused to announce anything about her absence and 2) all John Fanta would say on the FS1 broadcast was that Hottinger was out and she was expected back soon.

This is reminiscent of last year when all we were told is that Liza Karlen was out “indefinitely” and we only found out long after the fact that she was missing time because she broke her jaw. This mystery absence on the heels of that last mystery absence, with all of the “what do you mean there are other seniors on this team than just Chloe Marotta?” problem in between the two, and I’m not building up a lot of confidence in the coaching staff here, y’know? People care about this team, and not just because of their fancy national ranking, and treating the 1,600 people who show up for games on average like they’re jerks who don’t deserve to know what’s going on with the team isn’t exactly a positive way to run things.

Does Frannie Hottinger deserve a little bit of privacy regarding whatever it is that’s keeping her out? Sure, but “Frannie Hottinger will miss Tuesday’s game because of a personal matter, she is expected to return to the team [whenever]” doesn’t cause a problem there. Let’s hope that it’s a one off thing, both in terms of her absence and Marquette’s lack of information on the topic, and we can all get back to the much more interesting issue of crossing our fingers for more wins as the season goes along.

Stat Watch: Jordan King needs 24 points to catch and 25 points to pass Lisa Oldenburg for the 9th most points in program history.

Stat Watch #2: Jordan King needs six field goals to tie and seven to pass Christina Quaye for the 10th most buckets in program history.

Stat Watch #3: Kenzie Hare needs one three-pointer to get to 100 for her career. She’s still well short of Allazia Blockton in 15th place all-time with 121, but hitting the century mark as a sophomore is pretty neat.

Big East Game #6: vs DePaul Blue Demons (9-8, 1-3 Big East)

Date: Saturday, January 13, 2024
Time: 8pm Central
Location: Al McGuire Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Television: CBS Sports Network, with John Sadak and Isis Young calling the action.
Streaming: CBSSports.com or the Paramount+ app
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Bluesky Updates: @AnonymousEagle

Marquette is 35-49 all time against DePaul. After securing the season sweep a year ago, the Golden Eagles have won three straight in the series and five of the last six meetings.

I don’t want to go so far as to say that this season is going worse than expected for DePaul, because I wasn’t particularly high on the Blue Demons to start with. Based on the teams that they’ve played and the results from said games, DePaul is having about the season that a A Team Like That would have. They’ve been mostly winning the games that they should win as a team in the 90s of the NET and have lost every single game that they would be expected to lose. The only variations in the mix are losing to #119 South Dakota in the Battle 4 Atlantis and — here comes the real problems — losing at #124 Providence on January 3rd.

That loss to the Friars was the second straight loss in Big East play after starting things off with a 21 point win on the road against Xavier. No one gets any credit for putting a Beat ‘Em Down on the Musketeers this year however, and DePaul followed that up with a four point home loss to Georgetown, the PC loss, and a 13 point home loss to then-#21 Creighton. That’s dropped them from 9-5 overall to 9-8 on the season, and unless something turns around quickly for them, they’re ticketed for a second straight sub-.500 season and no postseason adventures.

So far this year, DePaul is defending better than we’ve seen over the last five seasons from the Blue Demons according to defensive ratings from Her Hoop Stats, so that’s good. However, the offense has dropped off, as they’re currently the #65 ranked offense in the country after 10 straight years as a top 50 offense and 13 as a top 60 offense.

Part of the dip in offense can be attributed to DePaul ranking #127 in the country in three-point shooting percentage, and some of it goes to standing at #141 in offensive rebounding rate. The Blue Demons aren’t as heavily dependent on the three-pointer as they have been in the past, but it doesn’t help that their shots aren’t going down very often. That doesn’t mean they don’t have shooters to worry about. Michelle Sidor and Kate Clarke are both firing off more than five attempts per game, and both women connect more than 39% of the time. Sidor is waaaaaay up there at 47.7%, and so stopping her from getting clean looks has to be an important part of MU’s defensive game plan.

I have to say “important part” because disrupting Anaya Peoples has to be Item #1 on the list. She’s the leading scorer this season at 18.5 per game and only Clarke (11.9) and Jorie Allen (10.8) are joining her in double digit town. Peoples attempts more than 16 shots per game when only Clarke is shooting more than nine times and she’s at 9.1. The 5’11” guard from Illinois does attempt two three-pointers per game but she’s only hitting 18% of her long range tries. She was a 34% shooter last season on about as many tries, but the 18% is more in line with what she was at Notre Dame before transferring. If she can be induced to settle for threes and then forced into missing them, that’s good news for Marquette.

It’s not just the scoring from Peoples, though. She’s also the team’s leading rebounder at 7.4 per game, beating out Jorie Allen’s 6.5, and Peoples also leads the team in assists. Amidst all of her shooting, she still dishes out 3.6 helpers per game with Katlyn Gilbert running in second place at 3.1. Gilbert and Peoples are tied for the team lead in steals as well, and Peoples leads the team in blocks with one per game. She’s doing A LOT is my point, and making her have a bad game is the obvious thing to do. It’s also obvious to do that, and she’s still doing it anyway.