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Marquette Women’s Basketball Preview: vs Georgetown

The Golden Eagles host the Hoyas on national television for the only meeting between the two this season.

Connecticut v Georgetown Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

I would presume that no one in the southwest office at 770 N. 12th Street is particularly thrilled with how last week went for Marquette women’s basketball.

After flubbing away yet another road game, this time after holding a lead at the start of the fourth quarter against then-#22 Creighton, Marquette started off their visit to Providence by immediately falling behind 10-0 on their way to a 20-2 hole after less than eight minutes were played.

Much like we talked about Marquette’s failure to respond in the second half to getting punched in the head (metaphorically) by big first half runs from UConn in both of those games this season, this was yet another example of the Golden Eagles not being able to absorb a blow and fire back. Yes, in theory, outscoring Providence 64-42 over the next 32 minutes is an example of exactly that, but I don’t think it gets to count since the 18 point deficit qualifies as a failure to properly respond to the Creighton loss.

Worse than that, it’s the second time this season that Marquette started off a road game with absolutely nothing to say for themselves. It happened on the visit to Illinois State with the Redbirds starting that one off 11-0 in the first four minutes. This time around was much worse, as the ISU game saw Marquette score the next 14 in a row to take a lead before the first quarter was over. In Rhode Island, Marquette didn’t actually lead at all until there was less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter, as they spent most of the first half down double digits and were languishing behind the Friars by multiple possessions for most of the second half.

This version of the major deficit to start is easily a worse one just because the Illinois State one exists. On top of that, it came after a 4-5 stretch of basketball where the Golden Eagles flubbed away late leads on the road in three different games. If MU had gone into the PC game with a 9-2 record in Big East play and then battled back like they did, you could say “yeah, well, it was just one of those games.”

It was not “just one of those games,” it was a version of Marquette that we’ve seen over and over this season, in a lot of different ways, none of them good. You’d like to see a team learning from their mistakes and tribulations, and that’s just not something we’re seeing from a team with two of the 50 best players in the country according to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

The quest for an NCAA tournament berth begins on Wednesday. Nothing that’s happened this season is enough to prevent Marquette from doing that, so all they have to do is bring that ship into port. Wednesday is one of four home games out of the seven remaining contests on the schedule, and based on what we’ve seen from both MU and the other teams so far this season, it’s not the toughest or even second toughest test for the Golden Eagles. Do what it takes, post a second straight victory, and then move on and do it again this weekend.

Stat Watch: Jordan King needs 17 points to tie and 18 to pass Christina Quaye for the 7th most points in program history.

Stat Watch #2: Liza Karlen needs 1 point to tie and 2 points to pass Lori Goerlitz for the 28th most points in program history. She needs 4 points to pass Heidi Bowman for 27th.

Stat Watch #3: Liza Karlen needs 2 rebounds to tie and 3 to pass Danielle Kamm for the 15th most rebounds in program history.

Stat Watch #4: Jordan King needs 2 assists to tie and 3 to pass Lori Goerlitz — could be a rough night for Lori — for the 4th most assists in program history. She needs 7 to pass Angel Robinson.

Stat Watch #5: Jordan King needs 1 field goal to tie and 2 to pass Kristen Maskala for the 6th most made field goals in program history.

Stat Watch #6: Jordan King needs 2 three-pointers to tie and 3 to pass Tatiyiana McMorris AND Courtney Romeiser for the 9th most three-pointers in program history. She needs six to pass McKayla Yentz for 8th.

Stat Watch #7: Kenzie Hare needs four three-pointers to tie and five to pass Allazia Blockton for the 15th most three-pointers in program history.

Big East Game #12: vs Georgetown Hoyas (15-7, 5-6 Big East)

Date: Wednesday, February 7, 2024
Time: 8pm Central
Location: Al McGuire Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Television: FS1, with Lisa Byington, Kim Adams, and Isis Young calling the action
Streaming: FoxSports.com/live or the Fox Sports app
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Bluesky Updates: @AnonymousEagle

Marquette is 26-4 all time against Georgetown. The Golden Eagles have won 12 straight in the series and 15 of the last 16, including the season sweep last year. MU’s most recent loss in the series was at Georgetown in January 2018.

There’s not that much separating Georgetown and Marquette in the standings right now, and I don’t mean MU is 6-5 in the league and the Hoyas are 5-6. The losses are surprising similar: at Seton Hall, at Villanova, at St. John’s, at home vs UConn, all of which are defeats that the Golden Eagles have suffered in their first 11 games as well. The differential between the two teams comes with Creighton downing the Hoyas in D.C., as well as Seton Hall getting the season sweep.

Three of the losses have come in the past four games, but they were all in a row and Georgetown comes into Wednesday night off a win. It wasn’t a rousing win by any stretch of the imagination, getting past DePaul 44-42 on Sunday afternoon at home. The Hoyas pulled this off even after scoring in single digits for a quarter in both the first and the third periods, and went into the fourth frame trailing 36-31 after going the final three minutes of the third without scoring. Georgetown wiped that deficit away within two minutes, but didn’t get the win until the Blue Demons fouled with four seconds to go, and they still needed a stop on the other end on a layup attempt at the horn by DePaul’s Jorie Allen.

Figuring out a way to win that game might really be a thematic point for Georgetown’s entire season, as they have a chance to post their first winning record in Big East play since 2011-12. If they do that, they will have their first winning record overall since 2018-19. Heck, even if GU doesn’t go over .500 in Big East play, they only need to win one more league game — almost everyone is guaranteed a Big East tournament loss, right? — to lock that first winning season overall since 2019.

Why is that idea important? Because we can not write our only preview of Georgetown women’s basketball in 2023-24 without pointing out that new head coach Tasha Butts passed away after a battle with breast cancer before Media Day this season. It seemed very likely that Butts was not going to be coaching this year and Associated Head Coach Darnell Haney was going to be guiding the ship when GU announced that Butts was going to take time away from the team in late September to focus on her health. Just over a month later, her battle was over, and Haney was officially in charge of the program for this season. I don’t know how much time Haney spends day-to-day dealing with the emotional health of his team, but the fact that they are winning basketball games fairly regularly, and more regularly than Georgetown has in the recent past, has to be helping.

As far as an on the court contest, the first item between these two teams is pace. Georgetown is one of the 10 slowest tempo teams in the country according to Her Hoop Stats. Marquette isn’t breaking any land speed records themselves, landing in the middle of the country in pace, but the Golden Eagles aren’t afraid to huck the ball ahead if they see a defense that they can attack in transition. Scoring in a hurry may be the easiest way to gain an advantage on a Georgetown team that isn’t going to light the world on fire on the offensive end of the floor. They are a top 100 defense, and rank #20 in the country per HHS in two-point shooting defense, so getting a shot up without the Hoyas set on that end would clearly play a big part in a Marquette win.

Marquette is going to have to control the glass in order to win this game. The Hoyas are a top 75 team in terms of rate on the glass on both ends of the floor according to Her Hoop Stats, and whatever offensive threat that Georgetown does pose is clearly propped up by those second chances. They’re #61 in the country in offensive rebounding rate, and they do it without a particularly dominant offensive rebounder. Sure, Graceann Bennett pulls in 3.3 per game, but she’s barely top 500 in rate due to how many minutes she’s playing. MU is an elite defensive rebounding team, and if they’re winning that battle, that’s going to help in a big way. MU doesn’t do so hot on the offensive glass themselves this year, but you can get away with a little bit more getting back on defense when you’re as good at putting the ball in the basket as the Golden Eagles are.