Marquette completes ‘ugly’ 58-41 win against Illinois State

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Marquette completes ‘ugly’ 58-41 win against Illinois State

Lauren Van Kleunen attempts a shot against Illinois State in MU's 58-41 win Nov. 10 at the Al McGuire Center.

Lauren Van Kleunen attempts a shot against Illinois State in MU's 58-41 win Nov. 10 at the Al McGuire Center.

Photo by Zach Bukowski

Lauren Van Kleunen attempts a shot against Illinois State in MU's 58-41 win Nov. 10 at the Al McGuire Center.

Photo by Zach Bukowski

Photo by Zach Bukowski

Lauren Van Kleunen attempts a shot against Illinois State in MU's 58-41 win Nov. 10 at the Al McGuire Center.

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Marquette women’s basketball defeated the Illinois State University Redbirds 58-41 Sunday afternoon at the Al McGuire Center. 

“I am most proud of this win out of our first three games because we did it a little ugly and relied on our defense,” head coach Megan Duffy said. “We did a great job defensively, making it difficult and taking away some of their initial actions and using some of our athleticism.”

The Golden Eagles had a slow start in the first quarter for the third straight game. Despite shooting 54.5% from the field, it took MU almost five minutes to establish a lead. Marquette had six turnovers but still finished the quarter with a 16-10 lead. 

“I don’t get too concerned with the first few minutes of the game. It wasn’t like we were down. It was just a little ugly matchup,” Duffy said. “Yes, we would love to get out to a 10-2 start, but part of it is settling into our game plan.” 

The second quarter saw a different Marquette team, despite the Golden Eagles shooting worse than the previous quarter. MU only gave up 10 points in the frame and went into halftime with a 32-20 advantage.

A big reason for the Golden Eagles’ lead was redshirt junior forward Lauren Van Kleunen, who finished the second quarter with six points and three rebounds.

“Once I got going and stuff, realizing how the defense was playing me, I just took it and went with it,” Van Kleunen said. “A lot (of my scores) came off of passes, so my teammates really did a good job finding me.”

The Golden Eagles limited the Redbirds to just eight points in the third quarter and headed into the fourth with a 45-28 lead. Duffy said she was very excited to see what the third quarter showed about her team’s defense. 

“I am thrilled about our defense. I wasn’t just a few days ago,” Duffy said. “It was really cool to just win in different ways. That third quarter is where we were able to get some more of those steals and turnovers compared to the first half.” 

Senior forward Altia Anderson, freshman guard Jordan King and junior guard Selena Lott all combined for five steals and blocks in the quarter.

At one point, MU had a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter before cruising to a 58-41 victory.

Van Kleunen put up a game-high 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting while adding six rebounds in her first start of the season.

“Lauren has the experience, and I am big on what you do in practice affects your minutes in the game. Over the course of the last couple of days, she earned the right to start,” Duffy said. “She had some great composure and really finished her ball on those layups. She was a real solid presence and locked into the game plan.”

Van Kleunen said earning the start came because of Duffy’s confidence in her.

“Coach put a lot of confidence in us each day in practice. I have been working on my post moves. I don’t just want to be known as a shooter, so that is something I have been working on,” Van Kleunen said. “We really want to have an inside presence this year, so I have been working on that a lot.” 

For the second straight season, the Golden Eagles have started their season 3-0, which Van Kleunen said is a big milestone for the young squad.

“It was a tough stretch we went through. It shows our maturity as a young team, getting through three games in six days, learning three different scouts,” Van Kleunen said. “It will be a big help in the future and down the line with BIG EAST games.” 

Marquette (3-0) will return to action against Big Ten foe Northwestern University at the Al McGuire Center at 7 p.m. Thursday.

“They are talented and a good defensive team. It will be great to just play a team like that who can really test our team,” Duffy said. “It will be cool to play a Big Ten team and see where we are after that. That is really what nonconference is all about.”

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