Villanova hands women’s basketball fourth straight loss

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Villanova hands women’s basketball fourth straight loss

Blockton led Marquette with 21 points (Photo by Doug Peters/douglas.peters@mu.edu).

Blockton led Marquette with 21 points (Photo by Doug Peters/douglas.peters@mu.edu).

Blockton led Marquette with 21 points (Photo by Doug Peters/douglas.peters@mu.edu).

Blockton led Marquette with 21 points (Photo by Doug Peters/douglas.peters@mu.edu).

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The Marquette Golden Eagles (5-10, 0-4 BIG EAST) buckled under the weight of a long-range bombardment from the Villanova Wildcats (9-6, 3-2 BIG EAST) on Friday evening. Nova sank 16 three-pointers to beat the Golden Eagles, 82-75, and keep them winless in BIG EAST play.

From the opening tip, Villanova’s strategy was about as clear as could be — fire away from beyond the arc. Eight of the Wildcats’ first nine shots were three-pointers, which contributed to Villanova’s endgame total of 39 three-point attempts. A full 60 percent of the Wildcats’ shots on Saturday night were threes.

Perhaps the only thing more unbelievable than the Wildcats’ shot selection was the fact that their strategy worked, at least in the first half. Nova went 13-for-23 on long ball attempts before the intermission as Marquette failed time and time again to close out on the perimeter. The Golden Eagles weathered four consecutive three-pointers from Villanova to open the game and ended the quarter only trailing by one, but were soon submerged under another shooting barrage. Senior forward Kavunaa Edwards hit a three to stretch the lead to four, then freshman guard Adrianna Hahn scored the next 11 points for Villanova on three three-pointers and a jumper to push the Villanova advantage to 36-27 with 7:10 remaining in the quarter.

Marquette did the best they could to keep pace with the Wildcats for the opening part of the second quarter, but their offense stalled after an and-one from sophomore center Shantelle Valentine with 6:37 left until half. Villanova went on a 16-3 run from then until halftime as Marquette went 1-for-8 during that stretch, with a three-pointer from freshman guard Natisha Hiedeman right before half serving as the team’s lone bright spot. This spate of exceedingly poor play turned a manageable deficit into a borderline rout as Marquette trailed 52-35 at the break.

It seemed as if the game was out of reach as the third quarter started, but all of a sudden it was Villanova’s turn to struggle on offense. More than six minutes of game time elapsed without Villanova scoring a point. During that time, Nova went 0-for-9 from the field, committed five turnovers, and saw their lead shrivel from 17 points at the start of the quarter to six by the time the whistle sounded.

Just as the Golden Eagles seemed poised to steal the game away, Hahn nailed two huge three-pointers for the Wildcats. The first came twelve seconds into the quarter to extend Villanova’s lead back out to nine, and the second was after Marquette had drawn to within four with just under half the quarter to go. Try as they might, the Golden Eagles would never draw any closer to the lead. Villanova went a perfect 10-for-10 from the foul line in the last minute of the game to finally seal the victory.

Freshman guard Allazia Blockton lead all Golden Eagles in both scoring and rebounding with 21 points and eight boards. It is the sixth time this season that Blockton has scored 20 points or more. Given her stellar performance against both Villanova and St. John’s earlier this week, it is likely that Blockton will earn either the BIG EAST Freshman Of The Week award or a spot on the BIG EAST Honor Roll come Monday. Either way, it would be her seventh consecutive week with a BIG EAST commendation.

Starting point guard Danielle King was out of the lineup once again, so fellow freshman guards Natisha Hiedeman and Amani Wilborn faced the challenge of distributing the ball. Hiedeman had four assists to go with 16 points, while Wilborn logged five assists and 13 points. Overall, Marquette met head coach Carolyn Kieger’s benchmark of an assist-to-turnover ratio at or greater than 1:1. The Golden Eagles had 13 assists compared to 11 turnovers.

Five different Wildcats scored in double figures, led by Hahn with 20 points. Center Megan Quinn showed that she wasn’t shy about stretching the floor. She scored 14 points and knocked down four three-pointers. Villanova did an excellent job with ball movement as well. Twenty-three of their 27 baskets were assisted.

Marquette has less than 48 hours to patch up their defense before hosting the Georgetown Hoyas on Sunday at noon. Georgetown is 2-3 in BIG EAST play after being blown out on the road by DePaul.

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