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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

PREVIEW: No. 18 Marquette looks to stay undefeated with win over No. 15 UConn

Marquette got its first-ever win over UConn last year at the Al McGuire Center. (Marquette Wire Stock Photo.)

On Feb. 8, 2023, Marquette women’s basketball made history, taking down then-No. 4 UConn for the first time in program history.

10 months later, the No. 18 Golden Eagles are attempting to make history once more as they travel to Hartford, Connecticut to take on the No. 15 Huskies. Undefeated Marquette may be off to its best start in program history, but it has never been able to beat UConn on the road.

Here is a look at the Top 20 matchup:

What to know about the Huskies

UConn comes into the matchup 9-3 with wins over four ranked teams. Marquette will be the sixth ranked team that the Huskies have taken on this season.

UConn has been a national powerhouse ever since head coach Geno Auriemma took over in 1985. The Huskies have been to every NCAA Tournament since 1989, and they have also won the Big East regular season and Tournament championships each of the last three years.

Redshirt-junior guard Paige Bueckers was tabbed the Big East Preseason Player of the Year, while also being named a Preseason-First Team All-American. Despite missing much of the past two seasons due to injury, the former No. 1 overall recruit hasn’t missed a beat. Bueckers leads the Huskies in scoring with an average of 18.8 points per game. The Hopkins, Minn. native is also averaging 4.3 rebounds per game to go along with 3.2 assists per game.

Players to watch

  • Senior forward Liza Karlen has done a lot of the heavy lifting early on for the Golden Eagles. The St. Paul, Minnesota native is averaging 17.2 points per game to go along with 7.6 rebounds. Karlen had a season-high 25 points and 12 rebounds on Dec. 13 in a win over then-No. 20 Creighton, earning her Big East Player of the Week and AP National Player of the Week honors.
  • Sophomore guard Mackenzie Hare has taken a big leap in her second year at Marquette. The former All-Big East Freshman Team honoree ranks first in the country in 3-point efficiency, shooting 54.7%. Hare is averaging 15.8 points per game and has been named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll twice this season.
  • It would be difficult to talk about the success that UConn has had in the past three seasons without mentioning reigning Third Team All-American Aaliyah Edwards. The senior forward scored 20 points while grabbing 12 rebounds in UConn’s rout of Marquette in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals last year.
  • Fifth-year forward Aubrey Griffin has provided a spark off the bench for the Huskies this season. Earlier this season Griffin exploded for a season-high 25 points in a 82-68 win over then No. 18 Louisville. She is averaging 9.8 points per game and six rebounds.

Keys to the game

  • Marquette: Force UConn to make mistakes. The Huskies have turned the ball over an average of 14 times in all three of their losses this season. In its 80-68 defeat to Texas at the women’s Jimmy V Classic earlier this season, UConn turned the ball over a season-high 21 times, which the Longhorns turned into 36 points. For Marquette to walk out of the XL Center with a win, they are not only going to need to force UConn to turn the ball over, but they are also going to have to convert the turnovers into baskets.
  • UConn: Chase the Golden Eagles off the 3-point line. Marquette currently ranks as the fourth most efficient team in the country from beyond the arc with a 41.3% shooting clip. The Golden Eagles have not been live-and-die by the 3-pointer by any means this season, but they have struggled in road games where the threes didn’t fall. In a narrow 64-62 win at Illinois State earlier this season, Marquette shot just 5-for-18 from deep. If UConn is able to hold Marquette to a poor shooting night from deep, the Huskies should be giving themselves a good chance to win.

How to watch

This story was written by Matthew Baltz. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @MatthewBaltzMU.

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About the Contributor
Matthew Baltz
Matthew Baltz, Sports Reporter
Matthew Baltz is a sophomore from Colona, Illinois majoring in journalism and minoring digital media. He is a sports reporter for the 2023-24 school year. In high school, he played basketball, baseball and ran cross country. In his free time, Matt enjoys hanging out with his friends and going to MLB games. He is most excited to write game recaps and tribune stories.

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