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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette’s season-long fourth quarter scoring issues spelled disaster in first round loss to Ole Miss

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Photo by Shannyn Donohue
Marquette women’s basketball huddles in its game vs Penn Dec. 3.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Mackenzie Hare’s 3-pointer forced Ole Miss head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin to call a full timeout with 6:24 left in No. 10 seed Marquette’s first-round matchup against the seventh-seeded Rebels in the NCAA Tournament.

The sophomore guard had just cut the Golden Eagles’ deficit to five midway through the most important fourth quarter of the season, with Marquette looking for its first tournament win under head coach Megan Duffy.

After the break, Marquette scored only five points in the waning minutes of the game. The Golden Eagles again became ill with their fourth-quarter drought disease.

This time, the infection turned fatal, as the Golden Eagles fell short in the Purcell Pavilion, 67-55, ending the 2023-24 season.

The Rebels forced four turnovers, including an offensive foul on Hare in that stretch, and Marquette only shot 2-for-7 from the field.

“Ole Miss was really good at getting us to be sped up in our offense with their athleticism and length,” senior guard Rose Nkumu said after the loss on Saturday.

Sure, the NCAA Tournament first-round loss is just one example, but it’s not the only time that the Golden Eagles have fallen under the weather with final frame scoring woes.

Just two weeks prior, Marquette went the final 14 minutes of its Big East Tournament semifinal loss with the No. 1 seeded UConn Huskies without a point. The Golden Eagles shot 0-for-13 from the field in the fourth quarter of the 58-29 loss and had three turnovers.

“The way their guards can get up and pressure and blow up an offense is when they [UConn] are at their best,” Duffy said after the loss. “We didn’t have a lot of rhythm and flow, and I thought we were a little bit just unsure with our reads. We had open shots and just couldn’t see it go in.”

On National Marquette Day, the Golden Eagles fell 66-63 to the Villanova Wildcats in a nail-biter where they didn’t score in the final 4:58. Marquette had 18 turnovers in the loss, and two in the final stretch.

The Golden Eagles saw their 19-point lead at DePaul dwindled to only four points when they conceded a 19-4 run in the final 10 minutes. They won the game, but what should’ve been a comfortable road victory turned into a nervy finish that saw Marquette have to win the game from the line.

At Creighton, the Golden Eagles had a lead going into the fourth quarter, but they gave up a 10-2 run to start the frame and lost, 76-71.

It has been an issue all year long.

Duffy said after the Ole Miss loss that the little things are what stymie her squad’s offensive flow in crunch time.

“They turned up their pressure, we made a few mental mistakes,” Duffy said. “We missed an open teammate or didn’t execute on a transition opportunity.”

The little things add up to a bigger issue. Marquette committed 17 mistakes in the Ole Miss loss, which is the 13th time this season it has more errors than its opponent. The Golden Eagles finished the season 6-7 in those games, and they are 36-35 under Duffy when they commit more turnovers.

Ole Miss’ ability to pressure the Marquette ball-handler, whoever it may have been, neutralized Marquette’s offense, similar to UConn’s stout defense against the Golden Eagles in the Big East Tournament.

The Rebels were able to trap Marquette’s guards and force the mistakes, the missed reads and the empty possessions.

“We’re most comfortable when we hunker down, get incredible competitive swagger about ourselves, and decide that you are not scoring,” McPhee-McCuin said. “We stopped allowing post-entry passes and starting jumping to the moon to contest shots.”

Ole Miss’ defensive takeover of the final stretch of the game was not the remedy Marquette needed to cure its sickness.

“It really became magnified in that final five minutes, and then all of a sudden at the end of the game we had to foul in order to get a couple of extra possessions,” Duffy said. “Every game is different with why you can’t score, sometimes you really have to look at yourself and say, ‘Hey, we could have done better to execute.”

This story was written by Trevor Hilson. He can be reached at [email protected] or @hilsontrevor on Twitter/X. 

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About the Contributors
Trevor Hilson, Sports Audio Producer
Trevor Hilson is from Muskegon, Michigan and he is a journalism major. He is the Sports Audio Producer for the 2023-24 school year. In his free time, he plays a lot of golf and gives lessons to his friends. He is excited for the national championship banner going into the Fiserv rafters for men's hoops at the start of next season.
Shannyn Donohue is a junior from Nashville, Tennessee studying Advertising at Marquette and Graphic Design at MIAD. She serves as the Technical Director of Marquette Radio for the 2023-2024 school year, and hosts the radio show, "Tetris Sounds" as a DJ.

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