Marquette responds to first home loss with a win at Xavier

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Photo by John Leuzzi

Graduate student forward Lauren Van Kleunen (42) drives to the basket in Marquette’s 88-85 overtime win against DePaul Jan. 12.

After dropping its first home game of the season Sunday against Villanova, the Marquette women’s basketball team turned things around Friday evening defeating the Xavier Musketeers 65-46 at the Cintas Center.

Following a struggling 3-point shooting performance against the Wildcats, the Golden Eagles came out firing from beyond the arc to begin the contest. Graduate student guard Karissa McLaughlin hit two early triples on her first two attempts to give Marquette an early 6-2 lead forcing Xavier to call an early timeout.

As has been the trend in the Megan Duffy era, Marquette’s defense lead to its strong offensive start in the frame. The Golden Eagles forced 10 turnovers resulting in 15 points alone in the first quarter, leading to a 20-6 lead at the end of the first 10 minutes.

Xavier would find its groove offensively in the second quarter, outscoring Marquette 14-10 in the frame. The Musketeers would bring the score within eight after forcing the Golden Eagles to no field-goals in the final 4:15 of the quarter.

However, McLaughlin went a perfect 2-for-2 from charity stripe with 38 seconds left in the half to send Marquette into half leading 30-20.

Both teams would pick it up offensively in the third quarter as Marquette and Xavier combined for 35 points in the quarter alone. Despite the Musketeers coming within seven points multiples times, the Golden Eagles were able to hold the advantage.

Graduate student forward Lauren Van Kleunen finished with nine of Marquette’s 18 points in the third, sending the Golden Eagles into the final quarter with a 48-37 lead.

The teams traded blows in the opening minutes of the final stanza, giving Marquette a 57-45 lead into the final media timeout.

Coming out of the timeout, Marquette closed out the game on a 8-0 run over the final 3:43 to earn its fifth BIG EAST victory of the season.

Van Kleunen led all scorers with a game-high 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting from the field.

“It was great to come back to my hometown and be able to play in front of family and friends,” Van Kleunen said in a statement. “Xavier’s a heck of a team, we understood that. They’re never going to go away, and we learned from our Villanova game how important it is to keep stepping on it and keep that pace.”

Junior guard Jordan King added 17 points, three assists, three steals and two rebounds on the night.

In her first start since Jan. 7, sophomore forward Liza Karlen put together an all-around performance as she finished with a near triple-double scoring nine points, grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out eight assists. Additionally she had four blocks.

With the win Marquette gets their fifth win in BIG EAST play and has now won 12 straight against Xavier.

Marquette (12-5, 5-3 BIG EAST) will now travel to Hinkle Fieldhouse for its second game of its midwest roadtrip to take on Butler Sunday at 1 p.m. CST.

This article was written by Ben Schultz. He can be reached at benjamin.a.schultz@marquette.edu or on Twitter @benschultz52.