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Marquette Women’s Basketball Preview: vs Villanova

The Golden Eagles need a win almost as much as they need a quality full 40 minute performance.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Pittsburgh Photo by Justin K. Aller/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Working backwards, here’s what Marquette women’s basketball has been up to lately.

  • After trailing 7-4 at the end of the first quarter, they threw in 21 points in the third quarter to win a defensive struggle against Georgetown
  • They fell behind 20-2 right out of the gate but figured out how to beat Providence anyway, 66-62
  • They let a lead at the start of the fourth quarter fall out of their hands in a 76-71 loss at #22 Creighton
  • They needed an 11-0 run to end the game to beat Butler by 11, 59-48
  • They forgot to get out of the locker room for the second half after UConn put a big run on them in the second quarter
  • They gave up an 8-0 run to Lucy Olsen alone to blow a seven point lead with 3:50 to play on the road against Villanova, thus leaving Olsen with 37 points and raising questions of how on earth you let the lady with 29 points free to kill you down the stretch

In short, Marquette has been coming up woefully short, all the way over in “it would be funny if it wasn’t so frustrating” territory ever since beating the brakes off of DePaul back on January 13th. I don’t know what MU needs more here: A solid front to back 40 minute effort on both ends of the court or a win.

At the very least, it certainly feels like Marquette needs to fix something about their offense. You wouldn’t think that a team with the player who is #2 in the country in assist to turnover ratio (Rose Nkumu, 3.26) AND the player who is #7 in the country in three-point shooting percentage (Kenzie Hare, 45.6%) should be having trouble scoring. And yet, they’ve cracked 70 points just once in the six game stretch laid out above.

That’s the “need to look better for 40 minutes” part. Here’s the need a win part: Marquette is 1-4 against NET top 50 opponents this season. Saturday’s game is a top 50 game, as Villanova comes in at #46. It will likely be Marquette’s last top 50 game of the season, as Seton Hall is at #65 right now and I’m not holding out hope that they’ll suddenly bounce up. Even with all of the problems that they’ve been heaping on themselves, Marquette still projects as an NCAA tournament team.... but with just six regular season games left to go, the Golden Eagles need to reinforce that idea with the selection committee. Not just once, but repeatedly.

But you can only win one game at a time, and so this one is pretty important in both the style and results department.

Stat Watch: Jordan King needs 13 points to tie and 14 points to pass Christina Quaye for the 7th most points in program history.

Stat Watch #2: Liza Karlen needs 22 points to tie and 23 points to pass Beth Ayers for the 26th most points in program history.

Stat Watch #3: Jordan King needs 3 assists to tie and 4 assists to pass Angel Robinson for the 3rd most assists in program history.

Stat Watch #4: Jordan King needs 1 field goal to break a tie with Kristin Maskala for the 6th most field goals in program history.

Stat Watch #5: 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 #6: 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 #13: vs Villanova Wildcats (14-8, 7-4 Big East)

Date: Saturday, February 10, 2024
Time: 2pm Central
Location: Al McGuire Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Television: Fox, with Lisa Byington and Meghan McKeown calling the action
Streaming: FoxSports.com/live or the Fox Sports app
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB

Marquette is 17-15 all time against Villanova. The Wildcats have now won five straight in the series after their big home rally earlier this season at Finneran Pavilion. MU has won 10 of the last 16 meetings, even with that active streak.

Villanova has not responded well to beating a ranked Marquette team at home back on January 17th, which was a sixth straight victory at the time. They immediately lost their next two games and three of the next four. Creighton handed them a 63-49 loss at home, and then they went to Providence and lost 82-76 in overtime. The Wildcats led by 15 at intermission before giving up a 24-7 third quarter to the Friars. They were on the verge of losing in regulation before Bella Runyan scored right before the horn to force the extra session. The Friars dominated from there, allowing just one bucket in the first 4:24 and staking themselves to a nine point lead.

VU snapped that skid by throttling DePaul in Chicago, then got clonked by 21 at home by UConn (oh well, things happen), and they’re coming into Saturday off of a 28 point win against Seton Hall. Turns out it gets really easy to win basketball games when you hold the other team without a three-pointer for the full 40 minutes.

Lucy Olsen has been her usual great self since hanging 37 on Marquette. 29, 18, 24, 15, 21, that’s her point total in the past five games for the Wildcats. Of late, she’s turned it on from behind the arc, shooting 7-for-17 (41%) in the last three contests. Even with that, she’s still shooting under 31% on three-pointers on the season, but after what she did to Marquette at The Finn, letting her shoot any shot in Milwaukee is pretty much a bad idea.

I’m not doing anything else to figure out what Marquette needs to do in this game or do differently than they did last time. Olsen wrecked Marquette over and over at The Finn. Don’t do that again. The end.