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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Yentz’s 16 helps MU close non-conference schedule with win

Photo by Austin Anderson
McKayla Yentz’s 16 points is a season high. 12 of her points came from beyond the arc.

The Marquette Golden Eagles concluded their non-conference schedule Wednesday with a 62-52 victory against the New Mexico Lobos.

Neither team found their shooting stroke in the first half, as both teams shot at or below 40 percent. Marquette had a funk in the second quarter lasting almost seven minutes where Natisha Hiedeman was the lone Golden Eagle to score.

“We were standing and watching versus cutting and running the offense,” head coach Carolyn Kieger said.”But it’s nice to know you can go in a lull like that and still be able to win by 10.”

That scoring drought allowed New Mexico to erase Marquette’s 7-point lead from the first quarter and take the lead for about four minutes of the quarter.

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“We stopped sharing the ball, we started forcing pull-up jumpers and we started trying to do it ourselves a bit too much,” Kieger explained. “When we share the basketball and make the right play, we’re really good. When we start focusing on individual basketball instead of Marquette basketball, our level of play goes down drastically.”

“At times, our shot selection wasn’t as good and people were taking one-on-one shots,” senior McKayla Yentz said. “As a team, the more we can share the ball, the better we are.”

The state of offensive lethargy on both sides continued in the third quarter.

Marquette was at pace to score less than 12 points in the third before Yentz knocked down 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions, elevating Marquette’s lead from four to 10 and forcing New Mexico to call a timeout.

“Every time I shoot a shot, I think it’s going in,” Yentz, who finished with a season-high 16 points, said. “What contributes to the make is (my teammates are) setting me up with good passes on time and on target.”

“It’s great to have her backstroking it like she knows she can,” Kieger said. “The last three games, she’s been fantastic, so that confidence going into conference play will be huge for us.”

Yentz’s pair of 3-pointers became the turning point of the game, as the Golden Eagles’ lead did not dip below six from that point on.

Marquette’s strong finish to the game can be attributed to the team’s improved defense. The Golden Eagles held New Mexico to 17.6 percent shooting in the third quarter and 33.3 percent shooting in the game as a whole.

“We spent pretty much all week working on defense,” Kieger said. “That was the first time we’ve held somebody under our goal of 35 percent field goal (shooting).”

This win was in front of an unusually large and young crowd at Milwaukee Public Schools Day, when Marquette invites elementary school kids from across Milwaukee to the game. A large attendance, 3,700, created a unique atmosphere for a team that previously averaged 1,253 fans per game.

“It affected my voice,” Kieger joked. “It’s hard to scream in huddles.”

With Wednesday’s victory, Marquette finishes their regular season at 8-2 with wins against multiple ranked opponents. Kieger and her only senior, Yentz, feel that those big wins will help as the team enters BIG EAST play.

“We played some top 25 teams and played a lot of teams that can score, so I think we are going to be focused,” Kieger said. “I think our team is really prepared, more so than we were last year even in terms of physicality and fitness, so I’m looking forward to a good run at the BIG EAST championship hopefully.”

“We believe that our non-conference really prepared us for what BIG EAST is going to present us,” Yentz said. “We just need to know that every game, people are coming after us … we’ve got to bring our best every single day.”

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