Women’s basketball releases first half of season schedule

Lauren+Van+Kleunen+%2842%29+goes+up+for+the+layup+in+Marquette%27s+94-85+on+Jan.+10+2020.+%28Marquette+Wire+Stock+Photo.%29

Lauren Van Kleunen (42) goes up for the layup in Marquette’s 94-85 on Jan. 10 2020. (Marquette Wire Stock Photo.)

Marquette women’s basketball head coach Megan Duffy announced the first half of the Golden Eagles’ 2020-21 schedule in a press release Nov. 20.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience as we navigate daily changes with COVID-19 and scheduling,” Duffy said in a statement. “Our goal in non-conference is to garner some great experience that will prepare us for BIG EAST competition. This will be the first time that both non-conference and BIG EAST games are intertwined this early, but we look forward to our season and being back on the court.”

The Golden Eagles will open up the season on the road, where they will match up against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 1 p.m. CST.

The Fighting Hawks are led by senior forward Julia Fleecs who finished first in scoring with 12.2 points per game and second with 4.8 rebounds per game last season. This will be the first time these two schools have faced each other.

Marquette’s first home game of the season will be Dec. 2 at 1 p.m. against in-city rival University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Last season, the Golden Eagles defeated the Panthers at the Klotsche Center 78-56, with sophomore guard Jordan King leading MU with 18 points, three rebounds, three assists and a steal.

Two days later on Dec. 4, the team will open BIG EAST play against Providence. Last season, the Friars finished with a 13-19 overall record and a 3-15 BIG EAST record. Providence returns top scorer and rebounder Mary Baskerville, who averaged 11.8 points, 7.6 rebounds over 28 games last season. Coach Jim Crowley brings in two talented first-years in Grace Efosa-Aguebor and Julia Fabozzi.

Duffy’s squad will welcome the Prairie View A&M Panthers into the Al McGuire Center Dec. 11. Last season the Panthers were under third-year head coach Sandy Pugh and finished 12-19 overall.

Marquette will then head on the road to Nashville, Tennessee to face the Belmont Bruins on Dec. 13. Last season, Belmont finished with a 22-9 overall record and were in a two-way tie for first place in the Ohio Valley Conference with UT Martin with a 16-2 conference record. MU defeated the Bruins 52-21 last season in the first game of the home-and-home series where former guard Isabelle Spingola and King led the Golden Eagles with 12 points each.

The St. John’s Red Storm will travel to Milwaukee Dec. 16 to resume BIG EAST play. The Johnnies are headlined by senior guard Qadashah Hoppie and sophomore guard Leilani Correa. Hoppie was an All-BIG EAST Second Team performer last year and is the BIG EAST’s active career leader in points with over 1,100 while Correa is the reigning BIG EAST Sixth-Woman of the Year. MU swept SJU 3-0 last season including a 78-55 win in the BIG EAST Tournament Semifinals. 

Three days later the team heads to South Orange, New Jersey to face Seton Hall Dec. 19. The Pirates finished with a 19-12 overall record and were the fourth seed in the BIG EAST Tournament due to a two-way tie with St. John’s with a 11-7 conference record. Anthony Bozzella’s team handed Duffy’s team one of its only two BIG EAST regular-season losses last season in a 72-60 win on Feb. 7. Senior guard Desiree Elmore and sophomore guard Lauren ParkLane headline this year’s team for the Pirates after both earning All-BIG EAST honors last season.

Three days before Christmas Day, MU will travel to the Cintas Center in Cincinnati to face Xavier. Despite a 3-27 overall record and a 2-19 BIG EAST record, the Musketeers return all five of their starters from last year including senior forward A’riana Gray. Gray currently is the active career leader in the BIG EAST with 750 boards and finished with 11 double-doubles last season.

As these games will conclude in the remainder of the 2020 calendar year there will not be any fans allowed in the stands at the Al McGuire Center, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Unfortunately, given the current conditions relative to the pandemic, and after evaluating various scenarios, we have reached the conclusion that we will not be able to accommodate season tickets for the 2020-21 men’s and women’s basketball seasons,” Vice President and Director of Athletics Bill Scholl said in a statement.

Marquette’s schedule after the Christmas holiday is still yet to be determined, but will consist of a combined four games against returning newcomer No. 3 UConn and reigning BIG EAST champion No. 19 DePaul.

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