Women’s basketball prepares for Sunday matinee against Xavier

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Selena Lott (24) looks for a teammate to pass to in Marquette's win over Xavier Feb. 24, 2019 at the Al McGuire Center. (Marquette Wire stock photo.)

Marquette women’s basketball remains on the road Sunday, visiting the Xavier Musketeers for the finale of its two-game road trip.

The Golden Eagles are coming off a heartbreaking 61-55 loss to the Butler Bulldogs Friday night. A 12-2 run in the last four minutes of the fourth quarter lifted Butler past Marquette. Junior guard Selena Lott led MU with 15 points. Friday night’s loss to Butler also snapped the Golden Eagles’ three-game winning streak.

Meanwhile, the Musketeers are coming off a 91-68 loss to No.14 DePaul Friday night. Four Musketeers finished in double figures against the Blue Demons.

Xavier returns a big piece from last year’s team, junior forward A’Riana Gray. Against DePaul, she led the Musketeers with 18 points.

The Musketeers gained three newcomers this season: sophomore guard Nia Clark, first-year guard Morgan Sharps and first-year forward Courtney Prenger.

Clark is a transfer from Miami, Ohio, where she played for Marquette head coach Megan Duffy last season. She averaged 10.6 points and 2.7 rebounds per game last season before suffering a season-ending injury.

Like Marquette, Xavier has a new head coach this season. Melanie Moore is the eighth head coach in program history for the Musketeers. She comes to Cincinnati after spending the last seven seasons in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan as an associate coach.

Getting a win at Cintas Center could keep Duffy’s team within the top-half of league standings.

Fun Facts

  • Xavier finished 11-19 overall last season, 2-16 in conference play. The Musketeers have not had a winning season in the last three years.
  • Marquette is 1-3 on the road in BIG EAST games.
  • The Golden Eagles rank No. 3 in the league, averaging 70.5 points per game in conference games this season.
  • MU leads the BIG EAST in field-goal percentage and rebounding.

A Look Back 

  • Xavier has an overall record of 2-15, and just a 1-4 conference record. Its one win in conference play came against Georgetown, picked No. 10 in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches Poll.
  • Marquette has won seven straight games against Xavier and is leading the overall series 13-7.
  • Xavier has only won one game at home this season, which came on Nov. 7 against Utah.

Key Players

  • Gray, Xavier’s leading scorer, finished first in scoring last season and is averaging 16.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game this season. She was named to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team as well.
  • Carrie Gross is a big part of the team’s 3-point and free throw shooting success. The sophomore guard leads the team at 44% and 72% in those categories respectfully.
  • Lott is the Golden Eagles leading scorer and ranks No. 9 in the BIG EAST in points averaging 15.9  points per game.
  • First-year Camryn Taylor has been a big part of the Golden Eagles post and scoring game in the last three games. The Peoria, Illinois, native will be needed more on the court against the Musketeers if Lauren Van Kleuen is unable to play. Van Kleunen went down hard in the third quarter on Friday against Butler and sat out the remainder of the game.

Keys to the Game

  • Marquette: Establish the 3-point play early. In Friday night’s loss to Butler, the Golden Eagles went 2-for-16 from beyond the arc.
  • Xavier: Win through free-throw shooting. Marquette is averaging 16.5 fouls per game this season, while the Musketeers are shooting 67% from the charity stripe on the year.

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