Marquette women’s basketball will be back on the hardwood Saturday afternoon, looking to build on its win at Seton Hall Tuesday night. The road trip continues into Pittsburgh.
This matchup will be the fourth Big East game for each club, but could be a sign of things to come for both teams heading into the meat of the Big East schedule. Marquette is looking to add to its conference win total after losing its first two Big East games against Syracuse and juggernaut Connecticut. Pittsburgh has lost its first three games in Big East play, losing to Seton Hall, Villanova and St. John’s.
Associate head coach Michelle Nason said even though Marquette has faced tougher teams in the Big East, every team is a challenge.
“We’re still a young team, and we’re not in a position where we can overlook anybody,” Nason said. “Because of our youth, we’re quite up and down. From here on out, there are no easy games in the Big East, especially on the road.”
One key to Saturday’s game will be defense. Before the Seton Hall game, Marquette’s opponents were averaging an 88.5 points per game, which is extremely high in college basketball. The Golden Eagles limited Seton Hall to 53 points, well below the first two games’ average. With the Panthers averaging just 46.7 points per game, good defense should give the offense more than enough padding to be aggressive on both sides of the ball.
In order to keep the score low, Marquette will have to guard the Panther’s leading scorers, junior Asia Logan and sophomore Brianna Kiesel. Logan averages 16 points a game, and Kiesel averages 13.4. Marquette will have to limit production from these two to keep the game close down the line.
Pittsburgh has allowed its opponents an average of 66 points per game in Big East play, and Marquette has scored an average of 62 points during that same time. Another breakout game from Sarina Simmons would help bolster the Marquette offense, as would continued production from leading scorers, junior Katherine Plouffe and sophomore Arlesia Morse.
The second key to a win against Pittsburgh is rebounds. Marquette was out-rebounded in its games against Syracuse and Connecticut but out-rebounded Seton Hall by eleven, including five more offensive rebounds than the Pirates. During the same stretch for Pittsburgh, it too was out-rebounded by its opponents, but has approximately the same amount of offensive rebounds as its opponents. If Marquette can use its size to win the glass, the Golden Eagles should be able to maintain a comfortable lead throughout the game.
Pittsburgh did not win a single Big East game last season and has already lost its first three Big East games. With no seniors on the team, Logan and Kiesel have had to step up for Pittsburgh. Freshman Brooklyn Pumroy said the Golden Eagles won’t overlook anything against the Panthers.
“Obviously, in Big East play, you’ve got to focus on every single game and every little detail,” she said. “I know that coming into this game we’re going to have to put a lot of focus into it, whether it’s a must-win game or not. Obviously, we’re still going to have to play hard.”