PREVIEW: Golden Eagles resume play at Creighton following COVID-19 shutdown

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Photo by Isabel Bonebrake

Sophomore forward Liza Karlen (right) in a defensive stance in Marquette women’s basketball’s 89-65 win over North Dakota Dec. 11.

After an extended time off, due to being halted due to COVID-19 issues within the program, the Marquette women’s basketball team is set to lace their shoes, step back on the hardwood and resume their chase for a BIG EAST Tournament crown Friday at 6:30 pm CST on the road at Creighton.

The Golden Eagles will look to extend their four game winning streak against the Blue Jays at DJ Sokol Arena.

It has been exactly 16 days since Marquette (9-3, 2-1 BIG EAST) last played on Dec. 22, where they defeated Cincinnati 60-49 in their non-conference finale at the Al McGuire Center.

Junior guard Jordan King led all players with 18 points while also grabbing five rebounds and dishing out four assists. She was later named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for her performance.

Graduate student forward Lauren Van Kleunen moved past former Marquette guard Selena Lott on the all-time scoring list, moving into 22nd with her 13 points against the Bearcats. Van Kleunen crashed the glass, snatching up nine rebounds, including five offensive boards.

Meanwhile, Creighton (9-3, 4-0 BIG EAST) is coming off a 67-51 road victory over Xavier on Sunday. It was a tight game heading into halftime with the Blue Jays only up by three, but a 25-point third quarter performance and strong defense in the fourth led head coach Jim Flanery’s squad to remain undefeated in conference play.

Sophomore’s Lauren Jensen and Morgan Maly led the way with 14 points each, including a combined 8-for-19 night from behind the 3-point line.

The Golden Eagles will look to hand the Blue Jays their first BIG EAST loss of the season , while Creighton looks to move to 5-0 for the first time in league play after joining the conference in 2013.

Fun Facts

  • Creighton only trails Marquette and DePaul in scoring margin, beating teams by 9.7 points a game.
  • Friday’s game will mark the 27th all-time meeting between both program, a series which spans back to 1986.
  • The Blue Jays are averaging the least amount of turnovers in the BIG EAST at 13.2 and have the best assist to turnover ratio at 1.5.
  • Marquette is tied for the most points scored at D.J. Sokol Arena by an opponent, dropping 92 points on Jan. 7, 2018.
  • Marquette has only been out-rebounded by its opponent once this season. This came in their 59-45 win over Butler Dec. 5, with the Bulldogs out-rebounding the Golden Eagles 40-34.
  • Marquette is second to last in the BIG EAST in 3-pointers made per game, averaging 3.3 a night.
  • Under head coach Megan Duffy, Marquette is 28-3 when scoring more than 70 points and 35-4 when shooting more free throws than its opponent.

A Look Back

  • Creighton leads the all-time record 12-14.
  • The Golden Eagles have won the last four meetings in a row, including a 64-59 win in the BIG EAST tournament semifinal last season where Lott scored 27 points on 11-for-15 shooting.
  • In their last three trips to Omaha, the Golden Eagles are 1-2 with the lone winning coming last season.
  • Marquette is 2-9 all-time when facing the Blue Jays on the road, but head coach Megan Duffy is 4-1 all-time in her career at the helm of the Golden Eagles.

Key Players

  • Sophomore forward Emma Ronsiek leads the Blue Jays and is 16th in the BIG EAST in scoring with 13.4 points per game. The 2020-22 BIG EAST All-Freshman Team honoree also leads Creighton in rebounds and blocks per game with 4.4 and 1.2 respectively.
  • Sophomore guard Lauren Jensen is a threat from the field and beyond the arc for the Blue Jays. The sophomore out of Minnesota has a team-high 44% from the field and 55.1% from the 3-point line.
  • Sophomore guard and forward combo Morgan Maly provides a great presence from the 3-point line. The Iowa transfer is second in the BIG EAST in 3-pointers per game (7.2) and shooting 37% from beyond the arc.
  • After coming off the bench last season, Liza Karlen continues to have a strong start to her sophomore season averaging 8.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-2 forward’s 6.8 rebounds per game is second on the team and 10th in the BIG EAST.
  • Graduate student guard Karissa McLaughlin continues to make an immediate impact with her new squad. The Purdue transfer is shooting an efficient 44.3% (31-of-70) from 3-point range and is second on the team in scoring averaging 13.1 per night.

Keys to the Game

  • Marquette: Attack the 3-point line. Creighton ranks last in the BIG EAST in three-point defense, allowing teams to shoot 35.2% and are allowing 5.8 threes to fall per game. Marquette is 4-1 when shooting over 30% from the 3-point line.
  • Marquette: Close out to shooters. The Blue Jays rank first in the BIG EAST in 3-point FG percentage (37.1%) and first in 3-pointers per game (9.5).
  • Creighton: Continue to distribute the ball. Creighton is second in the BIG EAST in assists, dishing out 19 a game and are 9-2 when getting 15 assists or more this season.
  • Creighton: Force turnovers. The Golden Eagles are currently averaging 17.6 turnovers, which is fourth most in the BIG EAST, while Creighton averages 7.8 steals per game.

How to Follow

  • Watch: BIG EAST Digital Network on FloSports. Note a subscription is required to watch.
  • Live Updates on Twitter: @avamaresMU and @MUWireSports

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