Women’s basketball takes on St. John’s, Seton Hall this weekend

Photo by Valeria Cardenas/valeria.cardenas@marquette.edu
Photo by Valeria Cardenas/valeria.cardenas@marquette.edu

The Marquette women’s basketball team (6-18, 2-11) will return home to the Al McGuire Center this weekend for its final two home games of the season. The Golden Eagles will take on the St. John’s Red Storm (16-7, 7-5) Friday night, while the Seton Hall Pirates (21-3, 10-2) play them Sunday afternoon.

After stumbling through their first ten conference games without a win, the Golden Eagles won two of their last three contests. The latter of those wins came in their most recent game against the Butler Bulldogs at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Marquette matched Butler’s intensity from the outset and led 31-30 at the break. Hot shooting (53.8 percent from the field) and a strong effort on the glass (15 rebounds) characterized the Golden Eagles’ first half performance.

The second half proved to be as closely contested as the first; neither team was able to gain more than a five point advantage. Butler led Marquette 56-54 with a minute left when Arlesia Morse connected on a jumper to tie the game. Neither team would be able to score another point in regulation, and the game headed to overtime.

Marquette appeared to have the game locked up after freshman Shantelle Valentine corralled an errant Butler shot with less than ten seconds to go and Marquette up by two. However, Valentine had the ball stripped and Butler was able to both regain possession and hit the game-tying layup with mere milliseconds to spare, which forced double overtime.

Fortunately for Marquette, it was able to hit key free throws down the stretch to win 77-74 in two extra stanzas. Senior guard Arlesia Morse went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe post-regulation. This increased her made free throws streak to 41 and bolstered her overall percentage from the line to 93.3 percent, which is the best in the NCAA.

The Golden Eagles will have two more tough opponents this weekend in St. John’s and Seton Hall, both of which Marquette has already lost to this season. In the team’s first matchup against Seton Hall on Jan. 16, the Pirates’ control of the game was never seriously challenged as they won 88-58. Marquette was slightly more competitive against St. John’s two days later and managed to keep the deficit to single digits deep into the second half. However, the Golden Eagles could not overcome Red Storm guard Aliyyah Handford’s 25 points and lost 67-52.

In order to stay competitive in these games, Marquette needs to avoid taking shots from beyond the arc. Besides starting guard Arlesia Morse, nobody on the team is currently shooting more than 30 percent for the season on 3-pointers. There also needs to be a consistent third source of scoring. Aside from Morse and promising freshman Kenisha Bell, nobody on the team has a double digit points-per-game mark.

The St. John’s game will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, while the Seton Hall contest tips off at 2 p.m. Sunday. Both games will take place in the Al McGuire Center. The matchup against the Red Storm will air on FOX Sports 1 and the Seton Hall game will be streamed live on GoMarquette.com.