PREVIEW: Marquette looks to continue past success against St. John’s

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Photo by John Steppe

Selena Lott (24) drives to the basket with a St. John’s defender coming on in Marquette’s 94-85 win Jan. 10.

CHICAGO — Marquette women’s basketball looks to punch its fourth straight ticket to the BIG EAST Tournament Finals, taking on the St. John’s Red Storm Sunday night in the semifinals.

The Golden Eagles are coming off a 72-59 win over the Villanova Wildcats Saturday. Marquette’s defense and dominance at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter allowed the Golden Eagles to overcome third-quarter struggles. MU outscored the Wildcats 27-17 in the final frame.

Junior guard Selena Lott led the way for Marquette with 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

Meanwhile, the Red Storm are coming off a 70-54 win against Creighton Saturday night. Despite trailing 20-5 after the first quarter, St. John’s outscored the Blue Jays 65-34 in the final 30 minutes of action.

The Blue Jays were unable to overcome 18 turnovers and a seven-point deficit heading into the final quarter. SJU was led by first-year guard Leilani Correa’s 27 points and 11 rebounds. Senior guard Alisha Kebbe followed with 13 points and nine rebounds.

Along with Correa and Kebbe, St. John’s holds the duo of redshirt junior guard Tiana England and junior guard Qadashah Hoppie. Both were All-Met selections last year with England on the First Team and Qadashah on the Third Team. Hoppie led the Red Storm in scoring all season with 11.6 points per game.

Fun Facts 

  • This is the fourth consecutive BIG EAST Tournament Semifinals appearance for MU but the fifth trip in the last seven years for SJU.
  • This is the first time Marquette head coach Megan Duffy and St. John’s head coach John Tartamella will face each other in the postseason. Duffy and Tartamella were assistant coaches at St. John’s together during the 2011-12 season when Kim Barnes Arico was at the helm of the Johnnies.
  • The Red Storm enter tonight’s game on a four-game winning streak.
  • The Golden Eagles rank first in the BIG EAST in field foal percentage at 45% while SJU ranks second at 43%.
  • St. John’s leads the BIG EAST in 3-point shooting percentage at 36%.

A Look Back 

  • MU won the regular-season series 2-0.
  • Since joining the BIG EAST in 2006, Marquette and St. John’s have only met once in the BIG EAST Tournament. That matchup came last year in the quarterfinals where the Golden Eagles defeated the Red Storm 88-57.
  • Marquette has won six of the last seven meetings.

Key Players

  • Redshirt junior forward Lauren Van Kleunen brings a great presence under the basket and in the paint for the Golden Eagles. The Mason, Ohio, native is averaging 11.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game this season.
  • Lott leads the Golden Eagles in scoring, averaging 15 points per game. The All-BIG EAST Second Team selection is 77% from the free-throw line this season.
  • First-year guard Jordan King is averaging 15.0 points in the last two games.
  • Correa, the BIG EAST Sixth-Woman of the Year and unanimous All-BIG EAST Freshman Team selection, is second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.8 points per game.
  • England picked up the 500th assist of her Red Storm career last night against Creighton, making her the sixth Johnnie to do so in program history. The redshirt junior guard is averaging 9.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game this season for the Johnnies.

Keys to the Game 

  • Marquette: Win through the boards. The Golden Eagles rank first in the BIG EAST and seventh in the country averaging 40.6 rebounds per game. In the last four games, MU has averaged 45.3 rebounds.
  • St. John’s: Win through the press and off turnovers. The Red Storm scored 21 points off of Creighton’s 18 turnovers in last night’s quarterfinals.

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