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DePaul beatdown ends WBB regular season on sour note

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Blockton sets BIG EAST freshman scoring record in loss

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DePaul beatdown ends WBB regular season on sour note

Photo by Ben Erickson/benjamin.a.erickson@marquette.edu

Photo by Ben Erickson/benjamin.a.erickson@marquette.edu

Photo by Ben Erickson/benjamin.a.erickson@marquette.edu

Photo by Ben Erickson/benjamin.a.erickson@marquette.edu

Carolyn Kieger tried to keep things positive during the post-game press conference.

“Every day, we talk about growth,” she said. “It’s not always about the outcome, it’s about how much we’re progressing and how much we’re learning as a team.”

Her relatively tranquil demeanor after the game did not match her disposition during it, which could best be described as livid. Kieger pointed, clapped, stomped her feet and yelled at her team, imploring them to play with the intensity they’d shown all season. Instead, they looked flat and listless as the DePaul Blue Demons ran roughshod over them, 98-65, to end the regular season on a sour note.

It did not take long for Marquette to stray about as far away from its regular game plan as it possibly could. Turnovers, long an issue for the Golden Eagles, were even more of a hindrance than usual; they gave the ball away seven times in the opening quarter alone. Marquette also strayed from its usual mindset of attacking the paint and drawing fouls. Its first six shots were three-pointers, only one of which fell. That would become a common refrain as the evening wore on, as the Golden Eagles only went 4-for-27 from behind the arc for the game.

“They were stacking the paint and they were daring us to shoot,” Kieger said of DePaul’s defense. “It would be a different ballgame if we could knock a couple of those down. Obviously, we talked at halftime about how we can’t live or die by the three.”

DePaul was all too happy to exploit Marquette’s lack of discipline, especially on the offensive end. Seven of the Blue Demons’ 10 buckets in the first quarter were assisted. Junior guard Jessica January attacked Marquette’s haphazard half-court defense with particular zeal, scoring 10 points by quarter’s end. The Blue Demons led at the end of the quarter, 24-15.

Things did not get much better for Marquette in the second quarter. Another seven shots went up from behind the arc, and only one of them went in. Freshman guard Natisha Hiedeman and junior guard McKayla Yentz were the primary culprits, accounting for 10 of the Golden Eagles’ 14 misses. It was a wonder Marquette only found themselves down by 12 at the half.

The scoreboard quickly began to match the reality of the game in the third quarter. After cutting the DePaul lead to just nine points after a Yentz tip-in, the Golden Eagles were gashed by a 23-8 Blue Demon run. Overall, DePaul shot 65 percent during the third, which allowed them to take a commanding 74-50 lead by quarter’s end. In light of that, the fourth quarter was merely a formality on the way to Marquette’s most lopsided loss of the year.

“I want to give it to (DePaul head coach) Doug Bruno and the DePaul Blue Demons. They’re a great ball team,” Kieger said. “You know, they’re very well-rounded and they play fantastically together.”

The one bright spot for Marquette on an otherwise gloomy night was freshman Allazia Blockton. She broke the BIG EAST freshman scoring record on a layup in the fourth quarter. Her 530 points this year surpasses the mark set by Providence’s Kerri Chatten in 1994-’95. Blockton led the team with 16 points.

“Allazia is one of the most competitive people I’ve been around, “Kieger said. “She sets very high standards for herself, and I don’t think we’ve seen half of what she’s going to be able to do here.”

Marquette’s record at the end of the season stands at 14-15 overall and 9-9 in BIG EAST play. As of Saturday night, the Golden Eagles are in possession of the 5-seed in the BIG EAST and would play the fourth-seeded Villanova Wildcats in the conference tournament Sunday, March 6. However, Marquette’s seed or opponent may change as a result of the four BIG EAST games still to be played on Sunday. Either way, the Golden Eagles are guaranteed at least the sixth seed, which also grants them a bye in the tournament’s first round.

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