SCHMIDT: Look left, lady Eagles go right

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The “Kansas City Shuffle” is defined by Urban Dictionary as, “when you look left and Bruce Willis snaps your neck.”

The women’s basketball team got us all looking left, which means the neck snap is probably forthcoming. In fact, I was beginning to feel a creak between my shoulder blades just watching Marquette jump to No. 21/22 in the polls this week.

Ouch. So good it hurts.

The surprising success is great to see. But couldn’t the women have warned us first? This whole national ranking thing feels like whiplash. Those pesky lady Golden Eagles caught us looking the wrong way, because nobody saw this coming – except for coach Terri Mitchell and company. They seemed to know all along.

At the start of the season, Mitchell preached about being “on a mission.” At the time, it seemed like typical coaching jargon that didn’t hold much weight. In November’s Golden Eagle basketball preview, I played off her comments by titling my column about the women, “Mission: Impossible.”

Flash forward to now, it’s obvious Mitchell wasn’t kidding. Marquette is 19-4 overall and 7-3 in the Big East. Turns out the mission was very possible. If not accomplished.

So it appears after a two year hiatus, or lull or whatever you want to call the dead space that was 2009 until now, senior guard Angel Robinson finally has Marquette playing like that WNIT Championship team from 2008.

That team, led by the program’s all-time leading scorer Krystal Ellis, played like it had something to prove. This team? Proving it.

What I would like to know is why now? Why has Robinson, after scoring baskets like two-pointers were going out of style, finally transformed into the facilitator and playmaker she was born to be? Why has long invisible senior guard Tatiyiana McMorris finally morphed into a dead-eye markswoman in her final year on the team?

Why have any of these crazy things happened when, frankly, no one in their right mind was expecting it? To be honest, I don’t even want to know. Some of life’s greatest wonders are mysteries.

Stonehenge. Easter Island. Donald Trump’s hair. Add Marquette women’s basketball to the list. The women certainly have been wondrous.

After getting thoroughly embarrassed 72-55 on Jan. 5 by then-No. 13/12 Notre Dame, the Golden Eagles have gone medieval on the Big East.

They eeked out a two-point victory in double overtime against No. 15/14 Georgetown, then dealt No. 6/7 West Virginia its first loss of the season. Just last week, McMorris put on her cape and drained a game-winning three-pointer with three seconds left against St. John’s.

That capped off a 7-1 stretch. In a conference as monstrous as the Big East, teams don’t do those things. Unless you are Connecticut, the two-time defending champs who treat conference opponents like a speedbag.

But here are the Golden Eagles, the little team that could, chugging up the rankings after every fresh victory. If they beat No. 10/14 DePaul this weekend, they have a legitimate chance to crack the top-15, putting them in position for a high seed in the NCAA Tournament in March.

We doubted. They knew they could.

As I write this, someone is probably changing the definition of the Kansas City Shuffle: when you look left and the Golden Eagles deliver a season to remember.

Even Merriam-Webster couldn’t have guessed that one.

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