Marquette Wire

WBB: Big East Notebook, Feb. 21

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Player of the Week

Skylar Diggins – Sr – G – Notre Dame

Diggins continues to help the Fighting Irish maintain their perfect Big East record at 12-0. The senior scored 23 points and dished out seven assists at Marquette on Sunday and chipped in 21 points and four steals in a win against Louisville. In the Marquette victory, Diggins moved into second place on Notre Dame’s all-time scoring list (2,131). She only trails current assistant coach Morgan Cunningham, who scored 2,322 points. On Sunday, Diggins became the first player in the program’s history to score 2,000 points, grab 500 rebounds and dish out 500 assists.

Game of the Week

Rutgers at St. John’s – Saturday – 1 p.m.

Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer is hoping to earn her 900th career victory this Saturday when the Scarlet Knights travel to St. John’s. Rutgers already had three chances to help Stringer reach the milestone but lost all three. Stringer would be the fourth coach in Division I women’s basketball to reach the 900-win plateau, joining Pat Summitt, Jody Conradt and Sylvia Hatchell. The Scarlet Knights enter Saturday 5-7 in Big East play but just 1-5 on the road.

No. 1 Baylor outlasts No. 3 UConn

In what could have been a sneak peek at this year’s national championship matchup, Baylor overcame a slow first half and defeated the Huskies 76-70. The Lady Bears fell behind 29-26 at halftime and were down by as many as seven in the second half. Baylor center Brittney Griner then led an 8-0 run to take a 42-41 lead, and she scored seven points in a critical run that put the Bears ahead 67-61.

UConn went to the free throw line just four times, while Baylor had 20 attempts. Griner scored 25 points in all and also recorded her 3,000th career point. The last player to reach that milestone was UConn forward Maya Moore in 2011. Baylor is 25-1 overall, while UConn stands at 24-2.

Marquette has a chance at redemption

Last Wednesday’s heartbreaking loss at the buzzer to winless Cincinnati was a hard pill to swallow for the Golden Eagles. Instead of sitting at a more comforting 5-7, Marquette has to settle for 4-8 in the Big East.

Fortunately for the Golden Eagles, opportunities are on the way for them to make up for the Cincinnati upset. The last three games of the season will be against teams with a combined record of 7-28 (Providence, Georgetown and Cincinnati).

Marquette must play on the road for the Providence and Georgetown games. However, if the Golden Eagles were to win at least two of their final three, it would place them in more respectable territory for the Big East tournament and be a great improvement from last year’s 4-12 showing.

Wildcats trying to claw their way back

Villanova went on a tailspin after starting off 5-0 in the Big East, losing six of its next seven. It appears the Wildcats have gotten back on the right track, posting two straight wins over Seton Hall and Georgetown to improve to 7-5.

Nova closes out its year with three particularly difficult games against St. John’s, Louisville and Syracuse. As of Tuesday night, those four teams are separated by just two and a half games, so this stretch will be critical for Villanova if it hopes to have any consideration for the NCAA tournament. The team also hosts struggling Providence in the season finale, but the Wildcats lost to Providence last month during its horrendous skid.

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