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Women’s basketball dominates Villanova on National Marquette Day weekend

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Women’s basketball dominates Villanova on National Marquette Day weekend

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

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Earlier in the weekend, Marquette women’s basketball was struggling to gain any kind of momentum against Georgetown. But two days later, it wasn’t even close by halftime.

The Golden Eagles took down Villanova 93-55 Sunday afternoon to remain undefeated in BIG EAST play.

“I’m incredibly proud of our response (from Friday’s game),” head coach Carolyn Kieger said. “From start to finish, from (players) No. 1 to 14, everybody contributed, so I can’t say enough about our response from Friday night.”

Marquette initially couldn’t break Villanova’s zone, but the Golden Eagles’ quick offensive tempo forced Villanova to move at a much faster clip than the Wildcats prefer.

At the 4:58 mark in the first period, Marquette trailed 8-7. But over the next 14:58, the Golden Eagles went on a 38-14 run to cap off the half.

“After that first media (timeout), we had to refocus. We weren’t pushing tempo, we weren’t defending the way we wanted to,” Kieger said. “But our last 35 minutes were pretty elite.”

The second half was much of the same. Marquette held on to a 20-plus point lead for a majority of the half.

The Golden Eagles’ full-court press and ability to switch forced Villanova to take much tougher shots than they’re used to.

“After last game, we talked about how we really need to focus on (defense),” junior guard Isabelle Spingola said. “We did a good job (in pregame scouting) talking about personnel.”

A bright spot in the game was the high level of play by Spingola and redshirt sophomore Lauren Van Kleunen. Spingola had 19 points, and Van Kleunen had five points and five rebounds, although much of Van Kleunen’s impact was away from the box score.

“That’s the best game Lauren’s played in a long time. That’s going to be huge for her confidence moving forward,” Kieger said. “And Izzy, if she can stay hot like this, it’s really going to help us down the stretch of conference towards the tournament time.”

Senior guard Natisha Hiedeman led the way with 22 points, which happened to come on her 22nd birthday. Her fellow seniors added some big numbers. Allazia Blockton contributed 19 points and nine rebounds and Amani Wilborn added 11 points. Danielle King put up six points, six rebounds and six assists, and Erika Davenport had eight points and eight rebounds.

For Villanova, Jannah Tucker put up 15 points and seven rebounds, forward Mary Gedaka added 12, and guard Kelly Jekot contributed 11.

With the win, Marquette clinched a first-round bye in the BIG EAST Tournament.

“We’re having a really good season,” Spingola said. “We just have to keep doing the things that got us here and have gotten us playing so well.”

Next up for Marquette (21-3, 12-0 BIG EAST) is a matchup at St. John’s Friday at 6 p.m. Central Standard Time.

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