PREVIEW: Golden Eagles look for road trip sweep

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Photo by John Leuzzi

Marquette women’s basketball in a huddle in its 68-32 win over Georgetown Jan. 14.

After earning a win on Friday night to begin its two-game midwest road trip, the Marquette women’s basketball team will now look for a sweep Sunday afternoon at Hinkle Fieldhouse against the Butler Bulldogs.

The Golden Eagles (12-5, 5-3 BIG EAST) are coming off a 65-46 win against the Xavier Musketeers at the Cintas Center Friday.

Graduate student forward Lauren Van Kleunen and junior guard Jordan King each had 17 points in the game and shot a combined 14-19 from the field. King also contributed three assists, two rebounds and led Marquette with three steals.

Sophomore forward Liza Karlen finished with a near triple-double, scoring nine points, grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out eight assists. Additionally, Karlen recorded four blocks and two steals on the defensive side of the ball.

Meanwhile Butler (1-14, 0-6), enters Sunday’s contest in the midst of a four-game losing skid after most recently falling to the DePaul Blue Demons 103-69 Friday evening.

DePaul’s full court press caused problems for Butler throughout the night forcing 22 Bulldogs turnovers, resulting in 31 points. Butler’s 69 points is the highest scoring output for the team against a BIG EAST team this season.

Butler was led by senior guard Emilia Sexton, who finished with 19 points off the bench. Graduate student Celena Taborn was held to eight points and only played 14 minutes in the lopsided loss.

Sunday’s matinee matchup will complete the season home-and-home with the Golden Eagles leading the season series 1-0. Despite shooting a season-low 29.9% from the field when both teams met in Milwaukee Dec. 5, Marquette led for nearly the entire contest.

Graduate students Karissa McLaughlin and Lauren Van Kleunen combined for 30 points in the Golden Eagles’ 59-45 win.

As Marquette looks for the road-trip and season sweep, Butler will look to upset the Golden Eagles and earn it first conference win of the season.

Fun Facts:

  • The Marquette-Butler matchup dates back to the 1985-86 season, in which Butler took that one 62-61.
  • Over the last two seasons, the Bulldogs are a combined 4-for-29.
  • Butler is 11th in scoring margin in the BIG EAST, being beaten by an average of 18.5 points per game this season.
  • Marquette is 10-1 when leading at halftime this season, with the lone loss coming this past Sunday against Villanova.
  • The Golden Eagles rank 10th in the BIG EAST in free-throw percentage, only knocking down 66.7% of their free-throws.

A Look Back:

  • Marquette leads the all-time series with a record of 16-9.
  • Marquette has won the last three matchups in a row against Butler.
  • The Golden Eagles are 6-4 all-time on the road at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
  • Butler head coach Kurt Godlevske is 3-12 all-time against the Golden Eagles in his eight seasons.

Players to Watch:

  • Sophomore guard Danyel Middleton has been a spark off the bench for the Golden Eagles. In her last three games, Middleton is averaging 22 minutes and is contributing 10 points and six rebounds per game.
  • Graduate student Lauren Van Kleunen is ninth in the BIG EAST in rebounding, averaging 6.8 per contest. The Mason, Ohio native, has also scored in double figures in four of her last five games.
  • Taborn is the Bulldogs leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 14.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game after transferring from Furman University.
  • First-year forward Alex Richard is seventh in the BIG EAST in field goal percentage, shooting 50.6% from the field. The Avon, Indiana native, is the Bulldogs third leading scorer at 9.4 points per game, while also pulling down 4.3 rebounds a night.

Keys to the Game:

  • Marquette: Get the offense in rhythm. Butler ranks 11th in the BIG EAST in scoring defense, allowing teams to score 79.8 points per contest. In the Bulldogs one win on the season, they held the Evansville University Aces to 67 points.
  • Butler: Become more active on the defensive end. The Bulldogs are dead least in the in steals and blocks. Additionally, Butler is at the bottom in defensive field goal percentage and defensive three-point percentage, allowing teams to shoot 44.4% from the field and 33.1% from beyond the three-point line.
  • Butler: Manage the turnovers. Butler is currently averaging the most turnovers in the BIG EAST at 21 turnovers per game.

How to Follow:

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

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