Five games to watch during winter break

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Five games to watch during winter break

Redshirt sophomore Greg Elliott (5) dribbles in Marquette's 66-62 win at Fiserv Forum Nov. 23.

Redshirt sophomore Greg Elliott (5) dribbles in Marquette's 66-62 win at Fiserv Forum Nov. 23.

Redshirt sophomore Greg Elliott (5) dribbles in Marquette's 66-62 win at Fiserv Forum Nov. 23.

Redshirt sophomore Greg Elliott (5) dribbles in Marquette's 66-62 win at Fiserv Forum Nov. 23.

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With Marquette basketball teams heading into their BIG EAST seasons, here are some key matchups to make sure to watch during winter break:

 

Dec. 29 — Women’s basketball at No. 16 DePaul: The rematch of the 2019 BIG EAST title match might be Marquette’s most anticipated game of the regular season.

Blue Demons senior forward Chante Stonewall, who hit the game-winning shot against MU in the BIG EAST championship last year, is averaging 17.3 points per game this season and has plenty of help around her.

Sophomore Sonya Morris is averaging 15.5 points per game, and sophomore Lexi Held is averaging 13.8 points per game. DePaul has less size than usual this year, so Marquette’s two-post system could be detrimental in that matchup.

 

Jan. 1 — Men’s basketball at Creighton: This year’s BIG EAST lidlifter will have a little extra significance. It’ll be a chance for Creighton to avenge its last-second collapse to the Golden Eagles at the CenturyLink Center last year.

Creighton had a five-point lead with two seconds remaining in regulation, but then a bizarre sequence of events forced overtime. Joseph Chartouny cut the lead to three, and then an errant inbound pass led to a game-tying three from Sam Hauser.

This year, the Bluejays bring back almost everyone from that game. Sophomore guard Marcus Zegarowski leads the team with 18.4 points per game after averaging 10.4 points last season.

 

Jan. 4 — Men’s basketball vs. Villanova: The No. 23 Wildcats head to Fiserv Forum for a rematch of the Golden Eagles’ thrilling 66-65 win on National Marquette Day last season.

That loss was Villanova’s first of the season, as senior Markus Howard scored 38 points to help then-No. 10 Marquette top then-No. 14 Villanova at the buzzer. Redshirt seniors Eric Paschall and Phil Booth combined for 36 points. 

After the Golden State Warriors chose Paschall in the NBA Draft and Booth headed to the NBA G-League following last season, Villanova will rely on junior guard Collin Gillespie, who started in 35 of 36 games in 2018-’19. This season Gillespie leads the team with 15.1 points per game and 38 assists.

With both teams projected to finish in the top tier of the BIG EAST, it could be a preview of a BIG EAST Tournament semifinal or championship matchup.

 

Jan. 10 — Women’s basketball vs. St. John’s: The Red Storm is second in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches Poll after finishing just 15-16 overall last year. The Red Storm had all five starters score in double digits in BIG EAST play a season ago, being the only team in the conference to do so.

This year, all-conference guards Tiana England, averaging 10.1 points and 6.8 assists per game, and Qadashah Hoppie, averaging 20.4 points per game, lead St. John’s.

Marquette will need to keep up with the Red Storm’s pace, as SJU likes to run fast with its guard-heavy lineup.

It will also be head coach Megan Duffy’s first BIG EAST home game as MU’s head coach.

 

Jan. 11 — Men’s basketball at Seton Hall: Marquette’s trip to the Prudential Center might be its most difficult trip of the season.

The Golden Eagles will not have a monopoly on nationally renowned guards: Seton Hall’s Myles Powell is also an Associated Press Preseason All-American and leads an experienced group in South Orange, New Jersey.

Sandro Mamukelashvili, Quincy McKnight and Myles Cale are among Seton Hall’s veteran options.

It’ll be the first time Marquette and Seton Hall square off since last year’s controversial BIG EAST Tournament semifinal game, which ejected Marquette’s Theo John and Sacar Anim, but not Powell. The game ultimately pushed Marquette out of contention for a conference championship and a better matchup in the NCAA Tournament.

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