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Career-high 32 points from Blockton give Golden Eagles second straight BIG EAST Championship berth

Allazia+Blockton+scored+32+points+and+grabbed+11+rebounds+in+Marquette%27s+semifinal+victory+over+Creighton.
Allazia Blockton scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in Marquette's semifinal victory over Creighton.

Allazia Blockton scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in Marquette's semifinal victory over Creighton.

Photo by Austin Anderson

Photo by Austin Anderson

Allazia Blockton scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in Marquette's semifinal victory over Creighton.

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Most teams could not afford to allow a 7-0 run in the fourth quarter of a BIG EAST tournament game. But most teams don’t have junior guard Allazia Blockton.

“She has that ability to take over any game at any given point,” Kieger said.

The BIG EAST Player of the Year did just that. Blockton’s career-high 32 points and 11 rebounds put Marquette 24 hours away from a second consecutive BIG EAST Tournament title.

“That’s what the BIG EAST Player of the Year is supposed to do, and she did it,” Kieger said. “When you have that level of player, it makes you look good as a coach.”

Blockton’s scoring lessened the burden on other contributors at key moments of the game. “When she’s playing that locked in and that focused, I think that takes pressure off her teammates,” Kieger said. “Then Amani (Wilborn) can play free and Erika (Davenport) can play free … They do a great job of relieving pressure from each other.”

Following the 7-0 run, which put Marquette down 65-61, Wilborn scored or assisted on Marquette’s next seven points to tie the game at 68. She finished the day with 16 points and four assists “We’ve been playing together since fifth grade, so we really have a special chemistry on the floor,” Blockton said. “She always knows how to find me, and I always know how to find her.”

Marquette almost took the Bluejays out of contention earlier in the game, owning a 50-38 lead in the third quarter. However, back-to-back three points from Audrey Faber and Olivia Elger chopped Marquette’s lead to just six points.

“That six-point play was huge,” Creighton head coach Jim Flanery said. “It propped our team up … It’s a huge boost to your team to see it go that quickly back to a two-possession game.”

 

Blockton wasn’t just an offensive presence. She also racked up four steals, including one on Bluejay leading scorer Sydney Lamberty with under 20 seconds left to seal the victory. “The fact that she had four steals tonight, I think, says where her game has come,” Kieger said. “I’ve been preaching it to her.”

Starting guard Natisha Hiedeman did not make a significant scoring impact, but came up with several key defensive plays, including jumping a passing lane for a steal and fastbreak layup in the final seconds of the first half to put the Golden Eagles up 39-33.

Hiedeman and the rest of the backcourt also did a nice job of containing Lamberty, who scored just 13 points.

“She’s the one that scared me the most coming into the game because she is so versatile,” Kieger said. “Our team did a good job handling her and keeping her in check tonight.”

The win came despite an imbalanced offensive effort in the first half. Blockton and Wilborn combined to score 26 of the team’s 39 points. At one point, Blockton was 2-for-2 from the field while the rest of the team was 0-for-5.

“Obviously I had the hot hand tonight and my teammates did a good job of finding me,” Blockton said. “When somebody’s hot, we keep feeding the ball.”

Marquette will play the winner of second-seeded DePaul and sixth-seeded Georgetown Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in the BIG EAST Championship.

“Now it’s just going to come down to who has the better game tomorrow night,” Kieger said. “Both two teams we could possibly play are very good.”

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