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Thrilling Comeback: #19 Marquette 81, Xavier 52

Look, no one ever said that you have to make the rally late for it to count as a come from behind victory, right?

Marquette’s Kenzie Hare Marquette University

#19 ranked Marquette women’s basketball came into Saturday afternoon’s game at the McGuire Center on a two game skid, falling at UConn and at St. John’s for their first two losses of the season. So when Xavier, #323 in the NET as of Saturday morning, started off the game with an 8-0 run, there was a certain amount of “what the actual hell is going on here?” coursing through the Marquette faithful observing the game.

I suspect that head coach Megan Duffy’s timeout immediately after Daniela Lopez’s bucket had the same tenor to it if not the exact same words.

Marquette answered Xavier’s run with a 7-0 burst of their own, and then after Tae’lor Purvis scored for the visitors with 6:38 left in the first, the game came to a sudden and immediate end.

That Purvis bucket was the final basket and points of the quarter for the Musketeers, as Marquette scored the final five points of the frame. No, the 12-10 quarter was not thrilling, but it ended in MU’s favor. Things kept going in MU’s favor. Kenzie Hare opened the second quarter with a three-pointer and that turned into an 8-0 run to start the period. 20-10 Marquette. XU’s Lika Kvirkvelia split a pair of freebies, and Marquette answered that with another four points, 24-11.

That’s a 24-3 run, by the way, or if you want to go back to Purvis’ bucket, that’s a 17-1 run. Whichever you like.

Eventually, Hare scored off a steal she created, and that put Marquette up 20, 33-13. 33-5 run, and at the half, it was 35-15 Marquette. MU won the second quarter 23-5, and then they scored the first eight points of the third. Xavier did just enough to fend the Golden Eagles away from a 30 point margin, right up until they got there on a Liza Karlen second chance bucket, 51-21.

51-13 run, 3:35 left in the third.

Marquette would score the final bucket of the frame, taking a 62-30 lead into the fourth quarter, their largest lead of the game to that point, and ultimately, their largest margin of the entire game. 62-22 run by Marquette. From the Purvis bucket, 55-20. Just a kicking, up one side and down the other, at least once Marquette saw their own blood.

Xavier pushed back a bit in the fourth quarter, but that is also attributable to both the law of averages and the human nature status of MU just not bring 100% fire to the game once they were up 32. And so, the final mark on the run to close the game is “only” 81-44. Alas.

Kenzie Hare led the way with 19 points, connecting on four of her nine long range attempts, and she added three rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Liza Karlen (17), Jordan King (10), and Skylar Forbes (10) all joined her in double digit town, while Karlen led the team with seven rebounds on the day.

Up Next: The Golden Eagles will be back in action and back on the road on Tuesday night when they head back out to the East Coast. They’ll tip off against Seton Hall at 7:30pm Central time, and FS1 will carry the broadcast. The Pirates are 10-5 on the year and 2-2 in Big East contests after beating Butler 64-50 on the road on Saturday.