Three takeaways: Carter’s record night eliminates Marquette from NCAA Tournament

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Three takeaways: Carter’s record night eliminates Marquette from NCAA Tournament

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

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COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — For much of Sunday afternoon, it looked as if No. 5 Marquette women’s basketball (27-8, 15-3 BIG EAST) was going to its first Sweet 16 in program history. Instead, No. 4 Texas A&M’s last-minute comeback ended Marquette’s historic run. Here are three takeaways from Marquette’s 78-76 heartbreaker.

 

Carter can do it all

Texas A&M’s Chennedy Carter, the 2018 National Freshman of the Year, showed why she has earned so many awards early in her collegiate career Sunday afternoon. She finished the day with 30 of the Aggies’ 78 points.

“Carter is a phenomenal player,” Marquette head coach Carolyn Kieger said. “We had trouble shutting them down (and) stopping her.”

She also dished five assists and recorded a one block and one steal, never leaving the floor. The 5-foot-11 guard nearly recorded a double-double with nine rebounds.

“Chennedy Carter here played her best best defensive game of the year. Period,” Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair said. “All the other stuff we expect. The points, the 40 minutes, the leadership, but defensively she was outstanding.”

 

Marquette’s offense shows renewed energy

The Golden Eagles had much more offense than in Friday’s win over Rice. At one point in the first half, Marquette was shooting lights out at 60 percent.

“That was a different Marquette (team) that played on Friday that let Rice dictate the tempo,” Blair said. “Both teams left it out there on the court (Sunday). … (Marquette) did a tremendous job.”

The Golden Eagles ended the day shooting 48 percent from the field, 46 percent from three and 80 percent from the free-throw line.

“That was us on offense, no doubt,” Kieger said.

It was a completely different Marquette offense than against Rice. The Golden Eagles, who shot just 17 percent from three against the Owls, turned around against the Aggies and made 10 threes. From the start, Marquette controlled the tempo and had the momentum.

“We had it going for a little bit,” senior guard Natisha Hiedeman said. “We just couldn’t stop them on defense.”

Aggies’ height give Golden Eagles fits defensively

Texas A&M had quite the height advantage over the Golden Eagles. No Aggie is under 5-foot-7. N’Dea Jones and Ciera Johnson were particularly problematic for MU to stop in the post. The duo combined to have 25 of the Aggies’ 42 rebounds Sunday against Marquette.

“They were just really aggressive on the boards,” Hiedeman said. “We needed to box out more and not only leave it to our bigs, but us guards needed to help out more too.”

Jones is 6-foot-2, and Johnson stands as 6-foot-4. The tallest Marquette player to earn minutes against the Aggies was redshirt sophomore Lauren Van Kleunen, who is only 6-foot-2.

“They were really really good post players,” Van Kleunen said. “I just tried my best to be physical with them and alter their shot in any way possible. … I did that to the best of my ability.”

Kieger attributed much of the struggle down the stretch to mental errors and not staying focused. Despite having an efficient offensive day, the Golden Eagles could not counter the Aggies’ height.

“Any time you give up 17 offensive rebounds and 18 second-chance points … it’s going to be hard down the stretch,” Kieger said. “(Texas A&M) was relentless on the boards and they were locked in.”

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