Marquette prepares for rematch against reigning BIG EAST champions

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Lauren Van Kleunen (42) attempts a shot in the Golden Eagles’ 96-63 victory over the Blue Demons Jan. 4, 2019. (Marquette Wire stock photo.)

Marquette women’s basketball will have a tough test Sunday afternoon as they open BIG EAST play against the No. 16 DePaul Blue Demons, a team that has won back-to-back BIG EAST Tournaments.

The Golden Eagles are coming off a come-from-behind 53-51 win this past Saturday against Belmont. First-year guard Jordan King and senior guard Izzy Spingola led MU with 12 points each.

Meanwhile, the Blue Demons are coming off an 83-76 win over Loyola Chicago this past Friday. DePaul was led by senior forward Chante Stonewall’s 25 points, eight rebounds and four steals.

DePaul lost two of its starters from last year to graduation: Mart’e Gray and Ashton Millender.

Gray was DePaul’s leading scorer, averaging 14.4 points per game last season and was named to the All-BIG EAST First Team. Millender ranks as the second all-time in career 3-pointers and 3-point attempts in program history.

DePaul returns senior guard Kelly Campbell and Stonewall. Campbell, a top guard in the nation, averaged 7.5  points per game last season. Stonewall was named to this year’s Preseason All-BIG EAST team. The Blue Demons gained two transfers in junior guard Deja Church and junior forward Kiara Dallman.

For Marquette head coach Megan Duffy, this marks her first BIG EAST game since her days as an assistant coach at St. John’s from 2009-2012 and her first at MU.

Following the Belmont win, Duffy spoke excitedly about starting conference play against the rival down I-94.

“It doesn’t get any better than that to open conference play,” Duffy said. “There have been some great games over the past couple of years, historically.”

Fun Facts

  • The Blue Demons are 10-2 on the season. Their two losses came against No. 4 Oregon State University and No. 2 University of Connecticut.
  • At the beginning of the year, DePaul was ranked No. 19 in the NCAA poll. DePaul has been ranked throughout since, moving up to as high as No. 16.
  • MU is 4-0 on the road this season.
  • The Golden Eagles are averaging 67.1 points per game this season.
  • DePaul is averaging 88.4 points per game this season.

A Look Back 

  • Both teams have faced each other in the BIG EAST Championship in the last three seasons, and DePaul has won both in 2018 and 2019.
  • The Blue Demons are leading the overall series record with the Golden Eagles 44-26.
  • Stonewall hit the game-winning shot against Marquette in the BIG EAST title game last year at Wintrust Arena.
  • DePaul has only lost one game at home this year so far, which came Dec. 16 against Connecticut.

Key Players 

  • Stonewall, the reigning BIG EAST Tournament Most Outstanding Player, is averaging 18.1 points per game this season.
  • Sophomore guard Sonya Morris is a major presence from beyond the arc, leading the Blue Demons with 30 3-pointers this season.
  • Campbell is averaging 7.8 rebounds per game this season for DePaul.
  • Junior guard Selena Lott is the leading scorer for Marquette, averaging 14.3 points per game this season.

Keys to the Game

  • Marquette: Eliminate the 3-point play on defense. DePaul comes in averaging 12 3-pointers per game. On the flip side, Marquette’s defense is only giving up 4.7 threes per game to their opponents.
  • DePaul: Bring pressure on the defense to force Marquette turnovers. The Golden Eagles are averaging 17.3 turnovers per game this season thus far.

This story was written by John Leuzzi. He can be reached at john.leuzzi@marquette.edu and on Twitter @JohnLeuzziMU.