There’s a reason why cliches become cliches: They keep happening enough times to make it a cliche.
In the case of Marquette women’s basketball on Tuesday night, the cliche at hand was “It was a tale of two halves.”
For 20 minutes, it looked like we were getting a quality back-and-forth basketball game between two teams that you could easily argue were relatively evenly matched. If you didn’t think that before tipoff in South Orange against Seton Hall, the first 20 minutes left you with that conclusion. After #23 ranked Marquette started off with a 7-0 lead, the Pirates responded by tying the game up at 12-all. The Golden Eagles led by four late in the first period, but by just two heading into the second. SHU tied it again at 26, Marquette snapped off seven straight, but ultimately, at the break, it was just a two point game, 33-31, favoring the Golden Eagles.
That back and forth type of game lasted for another two minutes into the third quarter with Seton Hall’s A’Jah Davis knotting the game up at 37-all with 8:05 to go. It was at that point that Jordan King and Liza Karlen had seen quite enough of the Pirates for one night. Each woman had already scored in the third quarter for the Golden Eagles, but a bucket from Karlen triggered a 9-0 Marquette run, which turned into a 14-2 run, which turned into a 21-5 run, which turned into a 23-7 run to end the quarter.
Yes, 23-7. King and Karlen scored 21 of the 23 for Marquette on that run, with the lone stray bucket coming in transition from Kenzie Hare. It’s not just that they were pairing up to ruin the Pirates, it’s that they weren’t missing shots at all. King and Karlen combined to go 9-for-9 from the field and 4-4 from the charity stripe in the third quarter. Karlen did the majority of the work, scoring 17 of her game high and new career high 30 points in the third period and pushing the Golden Eagles to a 16 point lead, 60-44, with 10 minutes to play.
Effectively, that outburst from King and Karlen ended the competitive portion of the game, but when Seton Hall scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to trim the margin to just 11 first with 7:58 to go and then with 7:18 to go, you could squint and say “this isn’t over.”
Rose Nkumu three.
Kenzie Hare in transition.
Marquette by 21, 3:43 to go. No more squinting possible. This was a two point game at the half.
Were it not for Seton Hall’s Shannon Mulroy throwing in a bucket right before the horn sounded, Marquette would have held the Pirates without a field goal for the final 7:17 of the game. That’s how you get it done, y’all. Explosive offense, tough minded defense. Marquette hung 1.40 points per possession on Seton Hall after halftime while holding the Pirates to just 0.77 points per trip on average.
The most important part of this win? Marquette was dominant at the end of 40 minutes while playing without Frannie Hottinger. The Lehigh grad transfer did not make the trip to South Orange, and that’s all the information that we have about her right now other than John Fanta did say during the broadcast that she’s expected back soon.
Liza Karlen had six rebounds to go with her new scoring career high, but it was Skylar Forbes leading MU on the glass in her first career start with 11 rebounds. Jordan King added eight grabs off the glass to go with her 16 points and team high six assists.
Oh, and Karlen hit 1,000 career points in this game, and yes, it came in the third quarter when she couldn’t miss.
Up Next: First things first, Marquette has to get home from New Jersey. Their charter flight back to Milwaukee on Tuesday night was canceled, not because of the snow situation in Wisconsin but because New Jersey was having their own weather emergency with wind and rain and so on. After that, the Golden Eagles will be back at home for their next game this coming Saturday. That one will be an 8pm Central time start on CBS Sports Network against DePaul. The Blue Demons are 9-8 on the year and 1-3 in Big East play after losing 75-68 at home to then-#21 Creighton this past Saturday.