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Marquette Wire

Marquette scores season-low points in Big East semifinals loss to UConn

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Jordan King tied her season-low point total in a single game (4) in Marquette’s 58-29 loss to UConn in the Big East Tournament semifinals. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Marquette women’s basketball — despite UConn playing without Aaliyah Edwards — couldn’t get anything going against the No. 1 seed Huskies.

UConn redshirt junior guard Paige Bueckers won the jump ball, turned it into a layup and proceeded to flex to the heavily partisan UConn crowd, making sure everyone in the building knew whose house it was. 

From then on, the Huskies kept their momentum going for the rest of the game en route to a 58-29 victory over the 5th seeded Golden Eagles in the Big East Tournament semifinals Sunday at Mohegan Sun Arena.

“Congratulations to UConn, I thought they were tremendous defensively. We felt some momentum and confidence coming into this game,” Marquette head coach Megan Duffy said. “Catching a break a little bit with Edwards being out, but just could never find our rhythm offensively.”

Marquette started the game shooting 2-for-17 overall and 1-for-7 from deep in the first quarter, scoring only five points.

The Golden Eagles — who have had trouble scoring in the final quarter multiple times this season — then ended the game going scoreless for the final 14 minutes, shooting 0-for-13 overall and 0-for-4 from deep in the fourth.

Golden Eagles score season-low 29 points

The Huskies suffocating defense put up walls the Golden Eagles were unable to break down.

Marquette finished with its season-low in points and shot 12-for-54 (22.2%) on the night.

“The way their guards can get up and pressure and blow up some of your offense,” Duffy said. “I think that’s always been when they are at their best, what it looks like.”

On the season, Marquette shot 45% from the field. Sunday, the Golden Eagles were held to only six paint points and forced to take 20 shots from beyond the arc. 

“Marquette is a really disciplined team in the offense that they run, so for us it was trying to disrupt what they are comfortable with,” Bueckers said. 

The Golden Eagles went 2-for-13 from downtown in the first half, with both of their made threes coming from sophomore guard Mackenzie Hare.

But, out of the locker room, it would get even worse as Marquette scored only nine points in the entire second half and shot 4-for-22 from the field.

Its last point of the game came at the 4:49 mark of the third quarter, when a jumper from senior guard Jordan King cut UConn’s lead to 40-29. King finished the game 2-for-13 and 0-for-5 from deep with a tied season-worst four points.

Senior forward Liza Karlen, who shot 52% and averaged 18 points per game in the regular season, went a measly 5-for-18 and had only — albeit a team-most — 12 points. Karlen was the only Golden Eagle to score double-digits as Hare finished second with nine.

Senior guard Rose Nkumu scored zero points on 0-for-6 shooting, and graduate student forward Frannie Hottinger missed her only attempted shot to also finish with zero points.

“Sometimes the game of basketball doesn’t turn out the way you wanted,” Duffy said. “We’ll probably rip up this stat sheet and not worry about it.”

Bueckers can’t stop, won’t stop 

Starting with her jump ball-to-layup-flex, Bueckers — the Big East player of the year — held the game in her hands.

She led all scorers with 27 points, just three points shy of out-scoring Marquette on her own. Bueckers was the only player who reached double digits all game long until first-year forward Ice Brady — who ended with 10 — joined her in the last 18 seconds of the game. 

In the third quarter, she earned her third career double-double and made a career-high 12 rebounds by the end of the game. 

“You know how dangerous she can be,” Duffy said. “I thought she was just completely under control the entire game. It’s phenomenal to see the way she orchestrates their offense.” 

The Hopkins, Minnesota native led her teammates in nearly every category as she ended the game shooting 68% from the field and 60% from behind the arc, also dishing four assists.

Up next

Marquette now looks ahead to see if it will hear its name called March 17 in the NCAA Tournament Selection Show. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. CST on ESPN.

“I think we’re deserving of being in the NCAA Tournament. Our body of work, 23 wins for our program,” Duffy said. “I think we have a great veteran group. I think we have a style that’s tricky to guard…

“The consistency of what we’ve done this year makes us very worthy.”

ESPN Bracketologist Charlie Creme’s latest bracket projection has the Golden Eagles as a No. 10 seed.

This article was written by Raquel Ruiz. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @RaquelRuizMU.

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About the Contributor
Raquel Ruiz, Sports Reporter
Raquel Ruiz is a first-year student from Mundelein, Illinois studying digital media and is a Sports Reporter for the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. Outside of the Wire, she enjoys playing volleyball, volunteering in her local community, spending time with friends and family and binge-watching tv shows. She is excited to learn from different people and explore what it is like to be a journalist in the media field.

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