Women’s basketball annihilates UIC at Fiserv Forum

Photo+courtesy+of+Marquette+Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

With the Al McGuire Center damaged from a car accident, Marquette women’s basketball played on the Milwaukee Bucks’ floor at Fiserv Forum before the Bucks’ game against the Spurs Saturday night.

The Golden Eagles played like the second-place Bucks too, winning 96-32 over the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames Saturday afternoon.

Marquette’s defense extinguished any momentum UIC built on offense, holding the Flames to 18-percent shooting from the field and 11-percent shooting from 3-point range.

“The other team struggled because of our scouting,” senior guard Amani Wilborn said. “It worked.”

The Golden Eagles also forced 28 turnovers, leading to 40 Marquette points on the other end. Meanwhile, the Flames scored only four points off 16 Marquette turnovers.

Wilborn led the Golden Eagles in scoring and had her first career double-double.

“I actually didn’t even know (about the double-double) until the end of the game,” Wilborn said. “I just went out and played hard.”

More importantly for head coach Carolyn Kieger, Wilborn and senior foward Erika Davenport led the team in rebounding with 10.

“You see our staff yelling at her to rebound, and all of a sudden she ends up with 10 rebounds,” Kieger said. “We said before the game that we were going to start celebrating the leading rebounders, and today it was Erika and Amani. … You saw them competing for that.”

Four Marquette players finished with double-digit point totals, and seven players had at least one field goal. Eight players had assists in the win as well.

“Our team just does a great job of finding the hot hand,” Kieger said. “You never know who it’s going to be.”

Senior guard Danielle King was particularly effective at finding the hot hand, dishing seven assists and only one turnover.

“Dani makes things go,” Kieger said. “She’s our general, and she puts everybody in the right spots.”

The Golden Eagles’ largest lead was 67, dwarfing the team’s previous season high of 50 against Montana State. UIC never had the lead and could not cut its deficit to single digits after the 4:46 mark in the first quarter.

“We’re trying to take this season one minute at a time, and we kept preaching that during timeouts and made sure they were focused,” Kieger said. “You could be up 20, you could be down 20 (or) it could be a tied game. You still have to play the exact same way.”

The big win comes nine days after the team’s first loss of the 2018-‘19 season, a 63-55 loss to No. 24 Miami.

“They responded really well after the Miami loss,” Kieger said. “We kind of went into Camp Marquette mode, and they worked extremely hard the past six days. … This was a great bounceback win.”

Kieger’s squad will host the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, another Horizon League team, Wednesday before taking on Michigan Sunday afternoon.

“They’re really balanced,” Kieger said. “They play extremely hard. They change up their defenses, so obviously we’re taking it one game at a time.”

The Al McGuire Center’s availability for Wednesday’s game has not been determined, and university spokesperson Lynn Sheka said the university does not have a timeline for repairs. Marquette Athletics spokesperson Michael Wittliff said the department is “looking for options” in case the game cannot be played in the 3,700-seat facility.