SEEMAN: Women’s basketball alleviates stress of men’s season

Lately, an epidemic has latched onto Marquette the way Kevin Love grabs rebounds for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The condition is known as “Marquette heart” and has three major symptoms: an expectation that your team will lose by five when holding a double-digit advantage in the second half, a feeling of resignation after missed layups and free throws, and the masochistic urge to stop and stare at flaming car wreckage because, hey, it can’t be much worse than blowing an 18-point lead in less than seven minutes.

Luckily, help is available.

First, buy a Snooki-sized bottle of aspirin and pop a couple of those every day. Second, start watching the lady Golden Eagles instead.

The likelihood of me giving that prescription at the end of last basketball season — which saw the women drop seven of their last 10 regular season games — fell somewhere between The Beatles becoming available on iTunes and Bears coach Lovie Smith winning more than five games in 2010.

Additionally, the abrupt departures of  center Georgie Jones and forward Jessica Pachko put the team in an even more precarious position — think Stallone and that lady in the opening sequence of “Cliffhanger.”

But here we are, 10 months later, and you can buy “Strawberry Fields Forever” from iTunes, the Bears won the NFC North, and in true homer fashion I have Marquette in the Final Four after a shocking upset of Stanford in the Elite Eight.

OK, so maybe I got a little carried away with that last part. Still, these facts remain:

Marquette is 15-4 overall with the toughest part of its conference schedule behind it.

It has already topped more ranked teams than it did last year.

Half its losses came to top-15 teams, Connecticut and Notre Dame.

It’s 21st in the all-important RPI and inching closer and closer to breaking into the national rankings.

When the season began, coach Terri Mitchell and her players knew well the adversity they would face in a Big East that doesn’t discriminate — it’s just as tough a gauntlet for the women to run as it is for the men.

They also had to find a way to fill the Lake Michigan-sized void left by Jones and Pachko.

Unexpectedly, Marquette’s “agent zero” Jasmine Collins has risen to the occasion.

She was nothing special before this season, averaging just over six minutes per game for her career and a scoring average of 1.2 points per.

Obviously, Collins is a late bloomer.

In this, her senior season, she’s taking on a much bigger role, hovering right around 20 minutes a game and averaging 8.4 points a contest. Don’t you wish you could increase your production by 700 percent a year?

And like McCartney and Lennon, she’s getting by with a little help from her friends.

Three other seniors have also cranked their numbers up in their final season. Guard Angel Robinson bumped her team-leading scoring average up two points from last year.

Second- and third-leading scorers, guard Tatiyiana McMorris and forward Paige Fiedorowicz, have their points-per-game averages in double digits for the first time in their careers.

Sophomore forward Sarina Simmons, the team’s strongwoman, has powered up as well. She has increased both her rebounding and blocking averages along with her scoring numbers, her sub-par game against Syracuse on Saturday notwithstanding.

So the next time you feel your “MH” kicking in, which will probably be tonight, remember this rhyme: If the Marquette men lose by less than two, watching the women play will be good for you.

Not only will you feel better, but you might even get a taste of victory. Who doesn’t like that?