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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

PREVIEW: Marquette looks to bounce back in conference opener

Camryn Taylor (15) goes up for a layup in Marquette’s 85-55 win over Providence on Jan. 31 2020. (Photo Courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Marquette women’s basketball looks to regroup in their BIG EAST opener against Providence Friday afternoon at the Al McGuire Center after a 64-55 loss to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers on Wednesday.

Marquette’s second-half push was not enough to overcome their second-quarter struggles against UWM. They were held to shooting just 17% from the field and four points in the second quarter.

“Just think we weren’t focused,” sophomore forward Camryn Taylor said. “Not getting our reads defensively. We really didn’t respond in the second quarter but we kind of talked about at halftime that it was unacceptable. Came out in the second half and got a couple (of) stops, a couple (of) buckets but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.”

Taylor, an All-BIG EAST Freshman Team honoree last season, led the way for Marquette with 27 points, nine rebounds and one assist.

The Friars are also coming off a Wednesday loss against Boston College. Despite trailing 30-19 at halftime, Providence brought the Eagles deficit within six with 4:32 left to play in the fourth quarter, but Boston College’s  9-3 run down the stretch secured the win.

Junior forward Mary Baskerville led the way for Providence with 20 points, shooting 10-for-16 shooting and added six boards, three blocks and one steal. Sophomore guard Lauren Sampson followed with six points.

Along with Baskerville, Providence’s leading scorers consist of a trio of upperclassmen. Junior forward Alyssa Geary and senior guard Chanell Williams are both averaging 10.3 points per game through four games this season while senior guard Kyra Spiwak is averaging 9.3 points per game.

Earlier this week at a media availability, Marquette head coach Megan Duffy talked about what it is like to have such a quick turnaround in games as this will be MU’s third game just this week.

“It’s strange in a lot of ways to play your BIG EAST first game at the same as your first week of playing college basketball this season,” Duffy said. “It’s a balance for our staff to find the practice time to get better but also finding that perfect amount of rest and recovery to get them ready to go. … But you got to be really smart this first week especially as we’ve dealt with, the quarantine and getting our players back in shape. We have to be very smart that we put a great product on the floor by keeping their bodies right.”

Fun Facts 

  • This is the earliest start to BIG EAST play for Marquette in program history. The Golden Eagles’ previous earliest game for conference play was back on Dec. 6 2006 against West Virginia.
  • Marquette ranks third in the BIG EAST in offensive rebounds at 40.0 offensive rebounds per game, while Providence ranks seventh at 32.8 per game.
  • The Friars rank third in the BIG EAST in 3-point shooting percentage at 33% while the Golden Eagles rank sixth at 27%.
  • Under Duffy, MU record against the Frairs is 6-1.
  • The BIG EAST Conference announced on Thursday, Dec. 3 that all conference games on BIG EAST Digital Network will air on which is a part of the FloSports streaming service.

A Look Back 

  • MU leads the series with a record of 17-5.
  • Since 2016, Marquette has won each of its games against Providence at the Al McGuire Center. Jim Crowley and the Friars last won in Milwaukee on Jan. 23, 2015. In that matchup, MU fell to PC by a score of 66-58.
  • MU has won four of their last five BIG EAST home openers. This is the first time since 2018 that Providence has traveled to MKE for MU’s conference opener.

Key Players

  • Redshirt senior forward Lauren Van Kleunen brings a great presence under the basket and in the pain for the Golden Eagles. The Mason, Ohio, native is averaging 11 points and 6 rebounds per game this season.
  • Senior guard Selena Lott ranks second in scoring for MU this season, averaging 12 points per game. In six games against Providence in her career, Lott has averaged 10 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
  • Taylor leads the Golden Eagles in scoring and rebounds, averaging 22 points and 10 rebounds per game. The Peoria, Illinois native ranks second in the BIG EAST in scoring and tied for first in rebounding.
  • Baskerville, the 2019 BIG EAST Freshman of the Year, is leading the Friars in scoring and rebounding, averaging 17.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game this season.
  • Geary brings a great presence to the frontcourt for the Friars. The Elmhurst, Illinois, native ranked fourth in the BIG EAST Conference in blocked shots (49) and blocked shots per game (1.53) last season and currently leads the team with 15 assists on the season.

Keys to the Game 

  • Marquette: Clean it up defensively. The Golden Eagles’ defense is giving up an average of 73 points per game, which is tied for the second-worst in the BIG EAST. In addition, MU is turning the ball over 12.5 times per game.
  • Marquette: Get scoring from the bench. 68% of Marquette’s total points this season have come from its starters. Sophomore guard Taylor Valladay is the leading scorer off the bench with 11 points.
  • Providence: Force 3-pointers. Marquette’s 3-point defense ranks second-worst in the BIG EAST, behind No. 20 DePaul while Providence ranks third in the BIG EAST in 3-point shooting percentage. The Friars are averaging 4.3 three-pointers per game this season.

How To Follow 

This article was written by John Leuzzi. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JohnLeuzziMU. 

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