Marquette bounces back after loss to Georgia, takes down Xavier at home

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Photo by Collin Nawrocki

Junior guard Jordan King (23) goes in for a layup in Marquette women’s basketball’s 76-48 win over Xavier Dec.3.

After suffering a setback Saturday against Georgia, Marquette women’s basketball turned things around Friday and defeated the Xavier Musketeers 76-48 at the Al McGuire Center.

Since joining the BIG EAST in the 2005-06 season, Marquette is 10-7 in their conference opener.

“Just thrilled to get our first Big East win of the season,” Marquette head coach Megan Duffy said. “Thrilled for our team bouncing back from a tough game down in Florida against Georgia. Thought we had a great week of practice and we did a nice job executing our offense and made some some great defensive plays in that first half, just a lot of good numbers on the stat sheet today.”

Marquette began the first start with a fast 16-4 run, seven of which came from junior guard Jordan King. The Golden Eagles would hold the Musketeers to 29.4% from the field in the quarter, taking a 25-13 lead into the second.

King finished with 12 points in the frame, shooting 5-for-6 from the field.

“Great to see Jordan being aggressive, (she) made a lot of different type of shots, hit a couple of threes, got to the rim,” Duffy said. “I thought her confidence to shoot the ball, I thought our offense was really good in that first quarter being confident with what we worked on in the week of practice to go out and execute.”

The second quarter was much the same for Marquette, narrowly outscoring Xavier 19-11 in the quarter. Graduate students Lauren Van Kleunen and Karissa McLaughlin combined for 11 points, three rebounds and three assists in the frame.

For the first time since Nov. 15, Marquette led at halftime taking a 44-24 advantage into the locker room.

The Golden Eagles defense held the Musketeers to 30% from the field, shooting 9-for-30 from the field and only allowing one 3-pointer in the first 20 minutes.

Starting out the second half, Marquette got out to a hot 9-2 run forcing Xavier head coach Melanie Moore to call a timeout at the 5:59 mark with the Golden Eagles pushing their lead to 55-26.

Coming out of the timeout, Xavier battled back scoring on three straight possession but a 3-pointer from McLaughlin put an end to the run and sent the Golden Eagles into the final stanza up 62-34.

Xavier didn’t hold back fight as they opened the fourth quarter on an 8-4 run, making the score 66-42 and forcing Duffy to burn a timeout at the 7:25 mark.

After the timeout, the Golden Eagles outscored the Musketeers 10-6 cruising their way to a 76-48 victory.

McLaughlin led the way on the night for Marquette with 20 points, shooting 7-for-12 from the field and 5-for-5 from beyond the arc, while adding seven assists and a steal.

While it was McLaughlin’s 14th career game with 20 or more points, she said she was focused on what it meant to the team instead of a personal statline.

“It means a lot, just knowing its helping my team be successful, fulfilling my role of knocking down three’s, especially coming off a bit of a drought,” McLaughlin said.

King finished with 14 points, three rebounds, a steal and an assists. Over the last four games, King is averaging 14.5 points and 3.3 rebounds.

Sophomore forward Liza Karlen recorded her first career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Duffy said she was pleased with Karlen’s response after going 0-for-7 Saturday against Georgia.

“I just thought Liza had (a) great response from the week in Florida she was really disappointed with how she played.” Duffy said. “It’s awesome when your players come in and their hungry to know what they can do better and you see and hear them in the gym, trying to get those extra shots. For a young player to see her respond when it doesn’t go so well in a game before is really positive. ”

Leading the way for Xavier was redshirt junior forward Ayanna Townsend who finished with a career-high 16 points on 8-for-14 shooting. Townsend also added five rebounds and three blocks on the night.

For the seventh straight game, the Golden Eagles out-rebounded its opponent 45-25.  Under Duffy, Marquette is now 44-12 when out-rebounding their opponents.

With the win, Duffy’s squad is now 4-0 at home on the season and 23-5 all-time under her helm.

Marquette (5-2, 1-0 BIG EAST) will remain home as they host Butler on Sunday at the Al McGuire Center at 2 p.m. CST.

“Friday, Sunday is always challenging, so we’ll get in tomorrow and watch a little film and introduce Butler,” Duffy said. “You got to be mentally sharp going in one day prep and make sure our coaching staff does a great job of just keeping them rested and recovered enough so we can go full tilt on Sunday.”

This article was written by Jackson Gross. He can be reached at jackson.gross@marquette.edu or on Twitter @JacksonGross.