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King pushes tempo in blowout of Villanova

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King pushes tempo in blowout of Villanova

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

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After one quarter of play at the Finneran Pavilion, it looked as if the crowd was in store for another hotly-contested, down-to-the-wire BIG EAST women’s basketball matchup.

Instead, senior guards Danielle King and Natisha Hiedeman’s fast pace helped Marquette charge its way to a 91-55 rout over the Villanova Wildcats.

“We started off a little slow, but we brought it back, we huddled and figured we had to lock in on defense,” King said. “Once we picked up our tempo, we were out there having fun and playing free.”

King put up 17 points and spearheaded the Golden Eagles’ effort on both ends of the floor. She was a perfect 8-for-8 from the field and did not turn over the ball.

“I loved how Dani (King) pushed tempo today,” head coach Carolyn Kieger said. “She pretty much played a flawless game, which is pretty impressive.”

The Golden Eagles were feeding senior forward Erika Davenport early, which yielded immediate results. Davenport contributed six of the team’s first eight points.

Later in the quarter, Villanova created plenty of opportunities at the net, finished contested layups and got open looks. Marquette had a 21-19 lead at the end of the quarter, but the Wildcats had all the momentum.

The second quarter was a far different story. MU scored the first 21 points of the period, thanks in large part to the play of sophomore Selena Lott. Her anticipatory skills on the defensive end and her strong finishes on offense stymied the Villanova momentum.

After a closely contested first quarter, the second ended on a 26-5 Marquette run, bringing the score to 47-24 at the break.

“(Villanova forward) Mary Gedaka had a great first quarter, but in the second quarter she had zero points, which was something we talked about in the timeout,” Kieger said. “This year, when we talk about the adjustments, we’re buying into it and really making them, and it’s showing up on the court.”

The Golden Eagles dominated the second half as well.

With Hiedeman scoring 24 points on 50-percent shooting from the field, and King keeping the tempo up, Villanova’s once formidable offense could not keep up.

“All the responsibility (for setting the pace) is on me,” King said. “When we’re in the open court and we’re playing fast, that’s when no one can stop us.”

Five Golden Eagles scored in double digits in the matchup. In addition to Hiedeman and King, Davenport had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Lott and senior Amani Wilborn each had 13 points. Wilborn put up nine rebounds and six assists as well.

For Villanova, Gedaka had a team-high 14 points. Guard Kelly Jekot and forward Brianna Herlihy were also in double figures.

Marquette (13-3, 4-0 BIG EAST) will take on Georgetown Sunday at 1 p.m. Central Time.

“I’m just really having a blast coaching this team right now,” Kieger said. “They’re doing everything we ask and more. They’re running huddles, changing where they’re supposed to be on the court, playing very mature and they’re outsmarting me right now, so it’s been fun.”

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