WBB takeaways: Big three not enough to earn win

Green Bay 78, Marquette 63

Team Leaders:

Points: Natisha Hiedeman (17)

Rebounds: Erika Davenport (7)

Assists: Amani Wilborn (7)

Digging a Hole

Green Bay took the lead with 39 minutes and 23 seconds of basketball left to play. They never gave it back.

A 19-5 run through the opening six minutes meant the game was effectively over before it even began. By half-time, the Phoenix lead stretched to 15 points, and it never fell below 10 until early in the final frame. By midway through the fourth quarter, however, the lead ballooned back up to nearly 20 points.

Marquette’s opponent hit close to everything in the first half, shooting a near-absurd 7 for 14 from behind the arc. The Golden Eagles tried to keep pace, but ended the first two quarters with a 3 for 13 mark that looked like partially microwaved cold pizza compared to the Phoenix’s blazing fury.

Throughout the second half, the hole looked scalable at points, though in the end the deficit proved too large and too steep to ever conquer. An opening was visible, albeit briefly, but never attainable.

Basketball is a game of runs, though the Golden Eagles never really got to have theirs.

When the Big Three Busts

The emergence of three concrete cornerstone stars in Allazia Blockton, Erika Davenport and Natisha Heideman has been one of Marquette’s best stories this season. The trio lead the team in scoring with 19.6, 14.4 and 13.0 points per game, respectively, and both Davenport and Heideman have earned BIG EAST Player of the Week honors so far this season.

Between Blockton’s high-post playmaking, Davenport’s evolution into a rebound magnet and Heideman’s electric perimeter play, the group has provided a solid foundation for the team to build on.

The big three concept, however, busts when the rest of team fails to get involved. Through the first half, Blockton, Davenport and Heideman combined to score 22 of the team’s 26 points. By game’s end, the bench did finish with a respectable 18 points — though that’s mostly due to the foul trouble encountered by both Blockton and Davenport, as well as garbage time down the stretch.

When the Fast Break Broke

Head Coach Carolyn Keiger is known for her desired fast-paced style of play. So far this season, the run-and-gun style has fueled a high-powered point-producing machine.

Tuesday, however, the Golden Eagles looked like they were running into a brick wall armed with nothing but a leaky water gun.

Those signature opponent turnovers that turn into coast-to-coast layups or kick-out threes? They never happened tonight. Marquette finished the game with just a pair of points scored in the fast break and just 11 off of Phoenix turnovers.

Green Bay’s size, speed, length and skill meant they could recover to wall of the paint and make scrambling close-outs feel like NFL blitzes.

Without the fast-break, Marquette’s half-court offense too often stagnates into iso-ball. Ball movement disappears, especially when the first or second action falls flat, and the smaller guards are unfairly asked to create something out of nothing.

This team needs to run and gun or else they’ll be outdone.