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#23 Marquette Women’s Basketball Preview: at Seton Hall

The Golden Eagles hit the road with an eye on starting a new winning streak.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Seton Hall Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t like to think about what happened on Saturday for Marquette women’s basketball as a “get right game.” Xavier is very bad. Playing Marquette and losing by 29 boosted XU’s NET to #317 in the country. Marquette was supposed to rip through them, and they did. Credit where credit is due, but it’s hard to say that Marquette was doing anything particularly great in that game.

Case in point: Marquette shredded Xavier while Jordan King was kind of actively bad. 3-for-15 from the field, 0-6 from long range, three turnovers. Hard to say the entire 40 minute game was a “get right” situation for the whole team while King was doing whatever the opposite of getting right is.

In any case, it did snap Marquette’s two game skid for sure, and maybe it shook off some bad vibes after suffering back-to-back losses following their 12-0 start to the year. None of that can be a problem for the Golden Eagles, that’s for sure.

However, on Tuesday night, Marquette will be back out on the road for the third time in Big East play. The first two didn’t go so hot. They’ll be back out on the road again next Wednesday as well, and if the Golden Eagles want to be an NCAA tournament team, they are going to have to start winning these road games. Winning this specific one would be particularly useful for Marquette, as Seton Hall is setting up as a potential tournament team themselves. The last few trips to South Orange have not gone in MU’s favor, which indicates that maybe this year’s visit won’t be a picnic either.

Winnable? Sure, absolutely, but Marquette is going to have to come with their game faces and their best foot forward right from the get go.

Stat Watch: Jordan King needs one basket to tie and two to pass Christine Kennedy for the 11th most made field goals in program history.

Stat Watch #2: Kenzie Hare needs three made three-pointers to hit 100 for her career. She’s still well off Allazia Blockton’s #15 spot on the all-time list with 121 triples, but hitting the century mark midway through your sophomore year is neat.

Big East Game #5: at Seton Hall Pirates (10-5, 2-2 Big East)

Date: Tuesday, January 9, 2024
Time: 7:30pm Central
Location: Walsh Gymnasium, South Orange, New Jersey
Television: FS1 with John Fanta and Kim Adams calling the action
Streaming: FoxSports.com/live or the Fox Sports app
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
Bluesky Updates: @AnonymousEagle

Marquette is 18-11 all time against Seton Hall. However, even after the Golden Eagles won at home last time out to split the season series, the Pirates have still won four of the last six meetings. MU has not won at Walsh since February 17, 2019.

Seton Hall is, somehow, slightly disappointing right now. When they took reasonable losses on the road against Columbia, in the Bahamas against #8 USC, and in double overtime on the road against Princeton, I said “yeah, well, things happen.” When they stomped out #23 UNLV at Walsh, 84-54, I said “oh, ho, look at this, let’s go Pirates!”

And then they lost by five at home to Providence and Villanova to drop to 1-2 in Big East play. The PC loss is probably the worst of the two, if for no other reason than SHU was leading at the start of the fourth quarter. It’s still way too early to declare their season over or anything like that, but that’s a real strong “we have thrown all of our goodwill with the NCAA tournament selection committee directly in the trash” situation. They did rebound from that skid with a 14 point road win over Butler on Saturday to come into this one off a victory, but at the very least, there are questions to be asked about what kind of team Seton Hall is this season.

Slowing down Azana Baines is Item #1 on the scouting report. The 6’1” guard/forward is leading the Pirates in scoring at 15.7 per game, and she’s just barely behind A’Jah Davis for the team lead in rebounds, 6.5 to 6.2 per game. Baines is a capable three-point shooter, connecting on 34% of her attempts this season, but she’s not even averaging one made triple per game. She only tries 2.3 of her 13.6 attempts from behind the arc, so the Golden Eagles are going to have to buckle up inside the arc to make life hard for her.

Even if MU does do a number on Baines, they’re still going to have to worry about Micah Gray. The 5’8” sophomore from Oklahoma is much more of an outside threat for the Pirates, firing off more than half of her 13.5 shots from behind the arc. She’s hitting 36% of her attempts, making her Seton Hall’s most dangerous long range threat by a long shot. Amidst all of that, there’s still Davis doing the rebounding, and Her Hoop Stats has her as a top 150 rate rebounder on both ends of the floor. The Golden Eagles pride themselves on getting on the glass and winning that way, and the 6’1” Northern Illinois grad transfer is going to make that harder to do.

Seton Hall is trying to play at a slow pace, #330 in the country in possessions per 40 minutes, so not quite as slow as St. John’s but in that direction. If Marquette can 1) speed the game up in transition and 2) turn the game into a shooting gallery, that’s a potential pathway to victory. SHU doesn’t want to shoot threes with just a little bit over 26% of their shots coming from beyond the arc, so a big game from Kenzie Hare and her 50% three-point shooting on the season (or any of the other three starters shooting over 36% from the arc) could make things hard for the Pirates to merely keep up with along the way.