CHICAGO — Marquette women’s basketball fell to the DePaul Blue Demons March 12 in the BIG EAST Championship for the second straight season, losing 74-73.
“It hurts. It stings,” Marquette head coach Carolyn Kieger said. “(The team) wanted this really bad.”
“It’s just heartbreaking,” senior guard Allazia Blockton said. “It came down to the little things, and we have to learn from our mistakes and capitalize on these moments.”
Marquette had a two-point lead with 10 seconds left, but DePaul forward Chante Stonewall drew an and-one with five seconds left and converted on the free throw. Senior guard Natisha Hiedeman had a shot to win it at the buzzer, but the attempt was off the mark.
Stonewall finished the game with 28 points on 11-for-17 shooting and six rebounds. She was also named BIG EAST Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
“Stonewall was phenomenal tonight,” Kieger said. “She was just relentless and very, very tough. They wanted it really bad, and you could tell.”
The rest of the game remained close. DePaul out-rebounded Marquette 15-6 in the first quarter, but the Golden Eagles shot at a 56-percent clip to end the first quarter tied at 20-20.
Senior guard Amani Wilborn hit a buzzer-beater to give the Golden Eagles a 40-35 lead at halftime.
Marquette remained in the game despite shooting 47 percent from the free-throw line. That included two misses by senior guard Danielle King after a technical foul and an air-ball from Hiedeman that would have made it a three-point game with 10 seconds left.
“I’ll tell you what, we will not lose a game the rest of this year because of rebounding or free throws,” Kieger said.
Marquette shot 6 for 20 from beyond the arc and 29 for 60 from the field.
“Defense wins,” Kieger said. “Tonight, DePaul made big plays. We had good stops but just couldn’t finish.”
Hiedeman led the Golden Eagles with 18 points on 6-for-18 shooting. Four other Golden Eagle players also notched double-digit point totals.
Hiedeman was named to the BIG EAST All-Tournament team after the game.
These two teams have faced each other in the championship game the last three years, which is only the third time that has happened in BIG EAST Tournament history.
Prior to this matchup, the Golden Eagles had not lost to the Blue Demons this season.
A top-seeded team has not won the championship in the BIG EAST Tournament since DePaul in 2014.
The Golden Eagles face off against Rice University Friday at 1 p.m. in the NCAA Tournament. Marquette is a No. 5 seed, which ties for the highest in program history. In 2017, MU was also a No. 5 seed.
“The season is not over,” Hiedeman said. “We still got time left, this is a lesson, and we’re going to use it in the NCAA Tournament.”
“I absolutely love my team,” Kieger said. “I will take them to battle any day. We have a lot of basketball left to be played. We’re going to regroup. We’re going to fix a lot of things.”