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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

No. 18 Marquette’s undefeated streak ends against No. 15 UConn, 95-64

Jordan+King+scored+16+points+in+No.+18+Marquettes+95-64+loss+to+UConn.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Marquette+Athletics.%29
Jordan King scored 16 points in No. 18 Marquette’s 95-64 loss to UConn. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

HARTFORD, Conn. — It had to end eventually. It just didn’t necessarily need to end like this.

When No. 18 Marquette women’s basketball jumped out to a fast 10-0 lead and forced an early UConn timeout, it looked to be vindication. All looming debts paid off, past sins forgiven.

Perhaps this team of scrappy newcomers would do what had never been done before. Perhaps the ever-daunting XL Center wouldn’t be the deterrent it was chalked up to be. Perhaps, David would once again beat Goliath to keep the good times rolling, the undefeated streak undefeated and the euphoria in full bloom.

Alas, the now-beaten Golden Eagles (12-1, 1-1 Big East) couldn’t cope, ending in a 95-64 rout to the No. 15 UConn Huskies (10-3, 2-0 Big East) in a New Year’s Eve matinee.

They couldn’t cope with the high-paced tempo, with the take-your-breath-away swagger of Paige Bueckers, with the unrelenting UConn press. With everything that transpired after the opening three minutes.

“Just disappointed overall with our effort in defense, I thought Connecticut was tremendous,” Marquette head coach Megan Duffy said. “We didn’t really have an answer and I thought we would respond a little bit out of halftime and actually they shot their best percentage from the field in the third quarter.

“But just a lot of firepower, a lot of athleticism, their second chance opportunities in that first half really, really hurt us and got us down after a pretty good start by us in the beginning of the game.”

Golden Eagles have worst offensive performance of season

Marquette’s offensive strengths this year have derived from its ability to share the wealth and hum like a songbird.

Sunday, the Golden Eagles were stuck in the mud.

They came in averaging 21 assists per game. They finished with a season-low 13. They also came in shooting 41% on 3-pointers. They shot a poor 6-for-21 (28.6%) from beyond the arc. Their 34.4% overall clip marked the first time they shot under 40% this season.

“We got some open shots and didn’t make them and again on the road, you got to figure out ways to be successful and get hot from the field, especially as they’re making runs,” Duffy said.

Only four Marquette players — Jordan King, Liza Karlen, Rose Nkumu and Kenzie Hare — nailed a 3-pointer and three different Golden Eagles failed to convert any attempts from deep.

Marquette can’t stop Paige

Bueckers did so well that she didn’t have to play the final six minutes of the game — the win was already secured.

Nkumu was the unlucky soul to have Bueckers as her guarding assignment, a sacrificial lamb of sorts. And after a cold start, the former No. 1 overall recruit played like the five-star she was.

“I remember Paige like it’s yesterday, especially freshman year when she was the best player in the country. What I see is she just is settling in and getting confident,” Duffy said. “The thing that’s so deadly about her is just her pace of how she plays.

“I know that’s always been documented but she can come out and hit threes, she can be a playmaker. She just plays with incredible pace about herself, like a pro.”

There were too many crowd-exploding moments to choose just one, it was a pick your poison type of game.

She got a 3-pointer AND-one to cut Marquette’s lead to one point, 21-20. A minute later, she got another one and shimmied her way down the court in celebration. The shot ended the opening quarter on a 13-0 UConn run with a 26-21 Huskies’ lead.

In the third frame, she put UConn ahead by over 20 points for the first time off another 3-pointer, her final one of the day.

As she waltzed off the court in the final quarter to a standing ovation, Bueckers had put up a game-high 25 points, shooting 10-for-16 from the field and 4-for-6 from deep. She also dished out five assists and earned three steals.

Statistical leaders

King led Marquette with 16 points on 5-for-13 shooting. Karlen scored 13 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.

For UConn, everyone got a slice of the cake as all but one Husky that saw the court scored. Aaliyah Edwards finished with a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds. First-year guards Ashlynn Shade and KK Arnold scored a combined 25 points.

Up next

Marquette will stay on the East Coast for a game against St. John’s (7-7, 1-1 Big East) Wednesday at Carnesecca Arena. The game tips-off at 6 p.m. CST.

“We have to find a different ‘something’ about ourselves between now and Wednesday, and it starts on the practice floor in our preparation,” Duffy said. “But I’m super pumped about conference play, I think we got some great teams.”

This article was written by Jack Albright. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @JackAlbrightMU.

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About the Contributor
Jack Albright, Executive Sports Editor
Jack Albright is a sophomore from Charlton, Massachusetts studying journalism. He is the Executive Sports Editor of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-24 school year. In his free time, Jack likes to hang out with friends and watch Formula 1. He is excited to write fun stories about all things Marquette athletics and oversee new types of digital content.

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    Bill SimmonsDec 31, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    What an excellent article. Coach Duffy is first class!

    Reply