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Five games to watch during winter break

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Five games to watch during winter break

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Photo by Jordan Johnson

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After the stress of finals dies down and everybody leaves campus, there will be 30 student-athletes who will stay in Milwaukee. The men’s and women’s basketball teams have a busy month, which includes signature nonconference games and BIG EAST season openers.

Dec. 15: Women’s basketball vs. Green Bay (GoMarquette.com, 2 p.m. CST)

Women’s basketball head coach Carolyn Kieger and her senior-heavy roster host the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix, a team who most notably beat then-No. 16 University of Missouri Tigers 56-49 Nov. 16. in Columbia, Missouri.

Green Bay is coming off five consecutive wins over the Golden Eagles.

Phoenix redshirt senior guard Laken James is an effective driver to the basket, as she shot a 45.5 percent from the field through the Phoenix’s first seven games. Last December, James had a career-high nine rebounds when the then-No. 23 Golden Eagles fell to the Phoenix 63-55.

Dec. 21: Men’s basketball vs. Buffalo (Fox Sports 1, 7:30 p.m. CST)

Buffalo has quickly emerged as one of the top teams outside of a major conference in college basketball. The Bulls have been ranked in the last Associated Press Top 25 polls, giving the Golden Eagles another opportunity for a quality win.

Senior C.J. Massinburg leads Buffalo with 18.8 points per game on 49-percent shooting from the field and 51-percent 3-point shooting. Seniors Nick Perkins and Jeremy Harris provide a formidable front-court, averaging a combined 26.5 points per game.

Dec. 22: Women’s basketball vs. Notre Dame (Fox Sports 1, 12:30 p.m. CST)

The reigning national champion Notre Dame Fighting Irish, still ranked No. 1 in the country, will visit the Al McGuire Center Dec. 22.

Last season, Marquette was narrowly defeated 91-85 in overtime by then-No. 2 Notre Dame, even when six Golden Eagles recorded double figures.

“It’s payback time,” Kieger said. “Our girls are really excited for that. It’ll be a highlight for their senior year, no doubt, especially right before Christmas. Try to give us some confidence moving into BIG EAST play.”

The game will feature the return of Milwaukee native Arike Ogunbowale, the 2018 Final Four Most Outstanding Player. She is averaging 25.3 points per game this season.

Jan. 1: Men’s basketball at St. John’s (Fox Sports 1, 6 p.m. CST)

The Golden Eagles visit Madison Square Garden New Year’s Day to take on BIG EAST rival St. John’s Red Storm for the conference home opener. St. John’s starters Shamorie Ponds, Justin Simon, Mustapha Heron and Marvin Clark are all high-octane scorers and will test Marquette’s newly-improved defense.

Jan. 4: Women’s basketball vs. DePaul (Fox Sports 1, 7 p.m. CST)

The Blue Demons are the Golden Eagles’ main competition in the BIG EAST, having annihilated Kieger’s squad 98-63 last season in the conference championship match. The reigning BIG EAST champions are known as one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the nation and return five of their six top scorers from last season.

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