Marquette drops second home game in a row with loss to Villanova

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(Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Following its biggest loss of the season, the Marquette women’s basketball team gave Villanova a fight, but ultimately lost 54 to 52 after a half-court shot fell short.

“Disappointed with the ending of the game,” head coach Megan Duffy said. “Good, hard fought Big East game and we knew, playing a team like Villanova there was going to be a grind 40 minutes of kind of how the game went.”

Neither team shot well to start the first quarter, with 3:59 left in the frame Marquette trailed 4-2 as both teams combined to shoot 2-for-22.

“I thought we missed some easy layups,” senior guard Jordan King said. “We work on our finishing everyday. Gotta be able to finish around some people in the lane.”

Senior forward Maddy Siegrist scored 10 of Villanova’s 13 first quarter points as the Wildcats took a 13-8 lead into the second quarter.

“How much attention you have to pay on Siegrist is incredible,” Duffy said. “She’s a kid who can go and score 40 if you don’t, hone in on her and we talked about trusting that her shots would go in and continue to defend.”

First-year guard Emily La Chapell guarded Siegrist for most of the evening, who held Siegrist to her second lowest points scored on the season at 21.

“She wanted the challenge of trying to guard her,” Duffy said. “We had to try and guard her by committee. Emily stepped up to the challenge and made it as difficult for first time guarding her. I thought she did a nice job.”

King scored nine points in the first 5:06, all of those coming on jump shots. She played through a bloody nose to score 13 first half points on her way to her first career double-double and a career high in rebounds. She scored 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

“Things just kind of were opening up teammates were setting good screens for me,” King said. “As far as rebounding wise, we knew we were gonna have a big challenge with some of their players crashing. Obviously Siegrist is a great offensive rebounder. So just being able to get in there and help out.”

Marquette ended the half down 25-24 and was out-rebounded by Villanova 29 to 19. The Wildcats scored 12 points off of their 12 offensive rebounds while Marquette had just four second chance points in the half.

“Our big identity piece is being able to rebound,” King said. “We didn’t have a lot of offensive rebounds to be able to cover for those missed layups.”

After scoring the final four points of the first half, Marquette would extend the run through the third period and make it a 15-3 run spanning the half. The Golden Eagles ended the quarter down just one point, 41-40

“Rose [Nkumu] got that steal in transition, a couple buckets, early steals, stuff like that,” King said about Marquette’s third quarter run. “Being able to bring that energy back and get that lead back at the game flown back in on in our favor.”

Villanova continued a run that began in the third quarter and turned a four point deficit into a six point lead early in the fourth. After Marquette was down 53 to 48 with just three minutes left, King hit a jumper before scoring a layup with just five seconds left.

Despite the comeback efforts, Marquette couldn’t overcome the deficit in time.

“I thought Jordan King had some just great moments willing us with some offense,” Duffy said. “I thought overall, we did a nice job on Siegrist but timely baskets by Nova and some big defensive steps by them too.”

Marquette (9-4 , 2-2 Big East) will travel to Connecticut for a matinee matchup with UConn (10-2 , 3-0 Big East) next on New Year’s Eve. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. CST inside Gampel Pavilion.

“Right now this one’s gonna hurt for not even 12 hours and we have to get back to it,” King said. “As we watch that film tomorrow, we’ll keep this in our head and then we’ll prepare for UConn.”

This article was written by John Gunville. He can be reached at j[email protected]¬†or on Twitter @GunvilleJohn.