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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Women’s basketball pulls off historic win as Megan Duffy makes history

Photo by Katie Craig
Marquette women’s basketball earned its first ever win over UConn Feb. 8 at the Al McGuire Center by a score of 59-52.

It was a familiar feeling for senior guard Jordan King and the Marquette women’s basketball team.

Last year, Marquette held a lead going into the fourth quarter at home against then-No. 8 UConn before losing 72-58.

This year, the Golden Eagles (16-8, 9-6 Big East) held their ground and closed the deal, defeating the No. 4 ranked Huskies (21-4,13-1) 59-52 Wednesday night at the Al McGuire Center.

“We came into a huddle and we were at the media timeout in the fourth quarter and I was like, ‘We were here last year. I’m not watching film on how we lost in the last five minutes,’ ”King said. “You have to put 40 minutes of basketball together. For us, I felt we did that.”

With the win, Marquette secures its first ever win against UConn in program history. The Huskies, meanwhile, made history of their own as it suffered their first back-to-back loss since March of 1993.

“In some ways I’m speechless, but my next emotion is that I’m just incredibly proud of these women and what they did tonight. This is a historic win for Marquette women’s basketball,” Marquette head coach Megan Duffy said. “We knew we were up against a buzzsaw with Connecticut losing on Sunday, we knew there were going to be some major blows and punches thrown around, but I thought our girls were just tremendous staying together and fighting.”

Duffy makes history 

With the win, Duffy joins Dawn Staley, Denise Dillion and Niele Ivey as the fourth person to beat UConn head coach Geno Auriemma both as a player and as a coach.

Duffy beat Auriemma’s Huskies twice during her time at Notre Dame from 2002-06.

“I’ve had a chance to spend a lot of time around Megan and her husband at the Big East meetings and Megan was a hell of a player as everybody knows at Notre but one thing I’ve found about Megan that really pisses me off is she’s entirely too chipper for me,” Auriemma said. “That kid is never not happy. She’s never not supportive of her team and she’s never anything but upbeat.

“I love the way she coaches plain and simple. She coaches to her personality and that’s how she was as a player and that’s how she coaches her team. They play with that same toughness and physicality that she played with.”

Statistical Leaders

Senior duo Chloe Marotta and Jordan King combined for 37 of Marquette’s points on the night. Marotta finished near double-double with 19 points and nine boards. King recorded her 20th double-figure scoring game of the season with 18 points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Junior forward Liza Karlen led with a team-high 10 rebounds, her fifth double-figure rebounding game of the season, and four assists.

Graduate student forward Dorka Juhasz led UConn with 15 points and three blocks.  Junior forward Aaliyah Edwards finished with a game-high 12 rebounds. 

Marquette Sets the Tone

Marquette’s offense struggled early on in the first quarter, missing seven of its first shots from the field. UConn, meanwhile, founds its groove early on jumping out to a 6-0 lead.

Junior guard Rose Nkumu opened up the Golden Eagles offense with a steal and a fast-break layup four minutes into the contest.

“They’re gonna make runs,” Duffy said. “They always do. Let’s not make them too big that we can’t sustain it and I just thought as the game went on, we just got more confidence to execute our stuff on the offensive end.”

Then Marquette took over.

King ignited a personal 8-0 run to erase the early deficit behind two 3-pointers and a midrange jumper.

“We started the game exactly the way we had planned,” Auriemma said. “I think something happened as it started to go the other way, that one stretch in the first quarter where we had maybe four or five straight turnovers. Think that completely deflated us.”

After breaking the dry spell, Marquette was able to find its groove extending its run to 21-4 over a nine minute stretch. 

“I felt we were starting to knock down shots,” King said. “I felt we had five people connected on the defensive end. For them to only score four points in stretch of our 21 is pretty unbelievable with the way that they can score the ball.”

UConn’s offense then began to struggle as it was unable to knock down a 3-pointer the entirety of the first half.

“I think we just checked out and it was a major struggle cause they (Marquette) were so locked in their team, what they wanted to do, what they wanted to run and how they wanted to run,” Auriemma said. “All the credit to them because they were really, really good.”

The Huskies turned over the ball 11 times through the first half, resulting in nine points for the Golden Eagles. 

Nkumu posted five steals and shifted the tide defensively for Marquette, who went into halftime leading 27-22. 

“I don’t even talk about Rose (Nkumu) enough. I think Rose’s defense was phenomenal,” Marotta said. “She didn’t get hot early. She’s kind of in her head a little bit because of that and I told her ‘like, man, your defense was just very very impressive’.”

Marotta Masterclass

After a slow first half, Marotta picked up her pace in the final 20 minutes. 

“So what’s that third option look like?” Marotta said. “And a lot of times it’s me coming off at down screens, trying to create and read what I have. Tonight, the shot fell. We were all confident with it.”

UConn tied the game at 31 on an Edwards layup with 6:10 left in the third quarter. Marotta would respond with a 3-pointer to break the tie, putting Marquette up 36-31.

The Golden Eagles never trailed from then on, though the Huskies brought it close at times in the period.

“Down the stretch, (Assistant) Coach Justine Raterman looked at me and she goes, ‘Finish it’ and I’m like, ‘Absolutely.’ We have to finish this right now,” Marotta said.

Marotta continued her momentum in the fourth quarter, hitting two key shots down the stretch to push Marquette over the edge.

“Chloe obviously made huge shots at the end,” Duffy said. “Chloe and Jordan, continue to impress me every day with their leadership and their will to win.” 

Up next

Marquette (16-8, 9-6 Big East) travels out to Rhode Island for a matchup with Providence (13-12, 4-10 Big East) on Feb. 15 at 6 pm. CST.

This story was written by Emma Kroll. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @emma_kroll_.

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About the Contributors
Emma Kroll
Emma Kroll, Executive Social Media Producer
Emma Kroll is a sophomore from Janesville, Wisconsin studying journalism and public relations and is the Executive Social Media Producer of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. Prior to this position, she served as a sports reporter. Outside of the Wire, she enjoys spending time with her fellow Alpha Chis, exploring her community, and spending time outdoors. She is excited to start this new role and be creative in her reporting.
Katie Craig
Katie Craig, Staff Photographer
Katie is a Staff Photographer at the Wire. She is a first-year from Lakeville, MN studying digital media and minoring in advertising. In her free time, Katie enjoys photography and hanging out with her friends. This year Katie is looking forward to getting to know more people and improving her photography skills.

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