Marquette women slow on both sides of the ball in loss to St. John’s

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Photo by Brian Georgeson

Allazia Blockton scored 20 in Marquette’s loss to St. John’s.

Things started deviating from the plan even before Marquette stepped on the court in Queens, New York against the St. John’s Red Storm. A late-breaking snowstorm forced Marquette’s plane to be re-routed from Long Island to Stewart International Airport in the Hudson Valley, roughly an hour and a half away from the arena. The team did not get to its hotel until approximately 11:30 p.m., only eight and a half hours before their scheduled shoot-around.

Every bit of that fatigue showed on the court, where the Golden Eagles (12-4, 3-2 BIG EAST) dropped a disheartening 70-64 contest to the Red Storm (11-4, 3-1 BIG EAST). It is Marquette’s second loss in the last three games after having only two losses in the season’s first 13 contests.

St. John’s punished Marquette in the paint all day long, dominating points by a gargantuan margin of 40-16. Red Storm forward Jade Walker got open shot after open shot in both the midrange and up close, which led to a career-high 32 points on 15-22 shooting. Every time Marquette played off of her to guard the paint, she would pull up for a jumper, a shot that she went nine of 13 on for the day. She also pulled down nine rebounds, only one shy of a double-double.

Although Marquette narrowly won the rebounding battle, it simply could not muster similar offensive output from its forwards. That was largely due to Erika Davenport’s lack of production. The sophomore power forward, who usually averages over 13 points and 10 rebounds per contest, instead scored just two points and grabbed four rebounds. She only played nine minutes.

Davenport’s struggles, while significant, were not the only thing ailing Marquette’s offense. The Golden Eagles shot under 30 percent from the field for the first time this year. Sophomore shooting guard Allazia Blockton was the only player that made at least a third of her shots. She finished with a team-high 20 points on eight rebounds, although her 6 for 18 mark from the field was far from desirable. Fellow sophomore Natisha Hiedeman trailed closely behind with 17 points on a similarly inefficient 6 for 19 shooting.

Those shooting struggles always seemed to manifest at the worst possible times. One such example was the first 5:31 of game action, in which Marquette made only two of its first nine shots. St. John’s, on the other hand, made six of its first nine shots as part of a 14-4 run to start the game.

Walker made three of those six buckets, and senior Aaliyah Lewis also made an impact. She scored five points in that stretch and did a nice job distributing the ball to her teammates. That carried over throughout the game and led to a fully-stuffed stat sheet for St. John’s veteran point guard: 21 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. Lewis even made two 3-pointers, a rarity for someone that shoots less than 25 percent on them for the year. Walker and Lewis combined for 55 of St John’s 70 points.

Despite their lethargy on both ends of the floor, Marquette was able to stay within reasonable distance of the lead. Point guard Danielle King scored four of her 10 points right before half when she drained a three from the right corner as Walker crashed into her. She then buried the free throw to cut what would have been a 13-point deficit to just nine.

Marquette drew even closer at the start of the second half, going on a 10-4 run to make the score only 44-41 in favor of St. John’s. However, that would be as close as the Golden Eagles would ever come to the lead, mostly due to them missing their next 10 shots and 14 of their next 16, a massive cold streak that stretched all the way into the fourth quarter. After that initial run, Marquette did not make back-to-back shots until the last 10 seconds of the game.

Head coach Carolyn Kieger’s squad does not have much time to recoup before its Tuesday matchup with Seton Hall in New Jersey, although they will at least have time to get two night’s worth of much-needed sleep.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified St. John’s forward Jade Walker as Jade Owens, who is a guard on Creighton. The story has been updated to correct the error.