Women’s basketball drops first home game of the season

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Photo by Charlie Waitkus

Junior guard Jordan King (23) looks to make a pass in Marquette women’s basketball’s 58-55 loss to Villanova Jan. 16.

After earning wins in its previous two games of their three-game home stand, the Marquette women’s basketball team entered Sunday’s contest against Villanova looking for a sweep.

However, the Wildcats had other plans as they handed the Golden Eagles their first loss of the season at home by a score of 58-55.

“I was just a little disappointed with this afternoon’s game. I didn’t think we put a full 40 minutes, we knew it was going to be kind of grind it out type of game and we needed to be a little bit better really on both sides of the ball,” head coach Megan Duffy said.

Sunday’s game meant more than a normal game, as the Golden Eagles held their annual “We Back Pat” game in honor of former Tennessee women’s basketball head coach Pat Summitt who passed away from Alzheimer’s in 2016.

“We really try to support the We Back Pat Foundation and just awareness of Alzheimer’s,” Duffy said. “Coach Summitt is one of our greatest mentors and pioneers with the women’s basketball game and somebody that I look up to. She was fearless and competitive as all get-out.”

Marquette got out to a hot start in the first quarter as junior guard Jordan King started 3-for-3 from the field. King would finish with six points and three rebounds in the frame.

Following the under-five media timeout, Villanova would flip the script and outscore Marquette nine to two to end the first stanza. However, it would not be enough to take the lead as the Golden Eagles held a 15-14 advantage after the first 10 minutes.

The second half was contested as both exchanged runs of their own, keeping the score tied at 22-22 at the 4:38 mark of the quarter. Both teams would continue to trade baskets until the buzzer with Marquette taking a 31-30 lead at the break.

Neither team could not gain much momentum in the third quarter with both struggling to get any rhythm on offense set. Despite shooting 5-for-11 from the field in the frame, Villanova took a 44-42 lead into the fourth quarter behind junior forward Maddy Siegrist’s five points.

Leading 46-44 with 8:15 left in regulation, junior guard Brooke Mullin hit a step back 3-pointer from the right wing at the incase the Wildcats lead to 49-44. Villanova would get out to its largest lead of the game at the 6:53 mark when Siegrist hit a 3-pointer forcing Duffy to call a timeout.

Sophomore guard Danyel Middleton ended the Golden Eagles’ scoreless drought, which lasted for over four minutes, scored on a driving lay-up. Middleton’s basket would spark a 9-0 Marquette run.

Marquette had a chance to tie the game with 53 seconds left on the clock, but sophomore forward Liza Karlen made one-of-two from the line to cut Villanova led to 54-53.

The Golden Eagles then had two opportunities for game-tying 3-pointers but both missed the mark resulting in Villanova pulling out the narrow 58-55 win.

It is just the second time under  Duffy that Marquette has lost a game after leading at the half.

Siegrist led the way for Villanova on the afternoon with a game-high 19 points while grabbing six rebounds and three assists.

“She (Siegrist) doesn’t stop,” King said. “She has the motor to go after rebounds, so if she’s not making her first shot, she’s gonna fight for that rebound to make that second shot and that’s what makes her a good player, just how hard she works.”

King led the Golden Eagles with 14 points, six rebounds and three assists.

Despite finishing with 11 points, graduate student forward Lauren Van Kleunen struggled from the field finishing the day 4-for-14.

Marquette (11-5, 4-3 BIG EAST) will now have a few days off before embarking on a two-game road trip that starts Friday night in Cincinnati against Xavier at 6 p.m. CST.

“It gives us time to decompress, kind of watch some film and reflect on this game,” King said. “But I think the biggest thing moving forward for us is having the mentality of 13 strong. It’s going to take one through 13 and like coach says, the entire coaching staff so really, it’s a program effort in BIG EAST games like this.”

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