Marquette Wire

Perimeter barrage from DePaul thwarts Marquette’s hopes of repeating as champs

Allazia+Blockton+scored+just+eight+points+against+DePaul+in+the+BIG+EAST+Championship+game+loss%2C+the+worst+loss+in+the+Carolyn+Kieger+era.
Allazia Blockton scored just eight points against DePaul in the BIG EAST Championship game loss, the worst loss in the Carolyn Kieger era.

Allazia Blockton scored just eight points against DePaul in the BIG EAST Championship game loss, the worst loss in the Carolyn Kieger era.

Photo by Austin Anderson

Photo by Austin Anderson

Allazia Blockton scored just eight points against DePaul in the BIG EAST Championship game loss, the worst loss in the Carolyn Kieger era.

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Marquette entered the BIG EAST title game hoping to make history for becoming the second team to win back-to-back championship titles since the conference’s reformation in 2014.

Instead, the Golden Eagles witnessed DePaul history. The Blue Demons hit 16 threes — one short of a BIG EAST Tournament record — and set the record for points in a BIG EAST Tournament title game en route to DePaul’s third conference tournament crown in five years and a 98-63 win over the reigning champions.

A Natisha Hiedeman fastbreak layup gave Marquette an early 2-0 lead, but that was the Golden Eagles’ only lead Tuesday night. DePaul responded with an 11-2 run, which included two of the Blue Demons’ 16 treys.

“They spaced the floor,” Marquette junior Amani Wilborn said. “Everybody on that team pretty much can shoot, so our communication, we should’ve taken care of that early and get a hand up.”

DePaul never looked back, building a 20-point lead before the end of the first half.

“They were shooting lights out, but that’s what DePaul does,” Marquette head coach Carolyn Kieger said. “They out-toughed us, they out-hearted us and obviously, clearly out-shot us.”

“We made shots,” DePaul head coach Doug Bruno said. “The game always becomes easier when you make shots.”

DePaul senior Amarah Coleman was especially potent from long range, going 5 for 7 from 3-point range to lead the team with 27 points.

“The shot was going in today,” Coleman said. “I just made sure I shot with confidence.”

Meanwhile, Marquette could not hit a shot.

Marquette cut the lead to 28 points at one point in the fourth quarter, but 35 percent shooting from the field, 28 percent shooting from the perimeter and 55 percent shooting from the charity stripe downed the Blue and Gold.

Two of Marquette’s best playmakers — Natisha Hiedeman and Danielle King — were virtually nonexistent. The pair of Wisconsin natives shot a combined 5 of 25 and had only six assists.

“Natisha (Hiedeman) needs to be more consistent, and so does our entire team,” Kieger said. “When our team is confident and we’re sharing the ball and we’re making the right pass, we’re really hard to guard.”

One day after scoring 32 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, junior and BIG EAST Player of the Year Allazia Blockton scored only eight points on 4-of-11 shooting. She also had a team-high three turnovers.

“That’s a problem we’re going to have to figure out,” Kieger said. “She hit a couple shots, but if I had to say, I think it was effort and confidence, and we’ll help with that.”

Stopping Blockton certainly did not come from a lack of respect.

“Blockton is a complete player,” Bruno said. “She’s earned the right to be our Player of the Year … I think she’s got a future as a pro.”

DePaul also finished with a 52-34 rebounding advantage.

“The freedom to shoot comes with the responsibility of defending and rebounding,” Bruno said. “If you shoot quickly and make them and then defend, you can blow a team out.”

The loss Tuesday is the largest losing margin in the Carolyn Kieger era. The only other 20-plus point loss this season was Jan. 19 in the team’s 85-53 loss at Georgetown.

The loss jeopardizes Marquette’s NCAA seeding. Previously a lock ranked 22nd in RPI, Marquette will not have the benefit of the BIG EAST’s automatic bid. ESPN projected Marquette to be a No. 7 seed prior to the 35-point loss to the Blue Demons.

Marquette will learn its postseason fate next Monday at 6 p.m. Central time. ESPN will televise the selection show.

“We have a lot to fix before Selection Monday occurs,” Kieger said. “We know that there’s a lot of basketball to be played.”

In the meantime, Marquette will soak in its worst loss in the Kieger era. The previous worst was 34 points, also against DePaul.

“We didn’t communicate well tonight,” Wilborn said. “That’s pretty much what it was.”

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About the Writer
John Steppe, Executive Sports Editor

John Steppe is the executive sports editor for the Marquette Wire. He is a junior majoring in journalism and double-minoring in digital media and Spanish. He primarily covers men’s basketball, women’s soccer and basketball recruiting. You can follow his coverage on Twitter @JSteppe1.

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