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Meet Marquette: Big East Tournament champions and Quinnipiac’s first round opponet

Photo courtesy Marquette Athletics

By: Sierra Goodwill and Morey Hershgordon

In the first round of the 2017 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, No. 12 seeded Quinnipiac faces No. 5 Marquette on Saturday, March 18. While the Bobcats have now made the big dance three times in the past five years, this is the Golden Eagles’ first trip since 2011. The fifth seed is the highest in program history for Marquette, who is the reigning BIG EAST Conference Tournament Champion.

Below is everything you need to know about the Golden Eagles heading into Saturday’s big game.

Overall: 25-7, 13-5 BIG EAST

Head Coach: Carolyn Kieger

  • Third year at the helm
  • Former Marquette women’s basketball player; graduated in 2006
  • Spent six seasons as assistant coach at University of Miami (Fla.)

Stat leaders:

Points per game: Allazia Blockton, So. G – averages 17.2 ppg

  • Leading scorer in the BIG EAST
  • Unanimous selection for All-BIG EAST First Team

Rebounds per game: Erika Davenport, So. F – averages 9.3 rpg

  • Second in the conference in this category

Assists per game: Danielle King, So. G – averages 4.1 apg

  • Dished a career-high 11 assists against Georgetown in early March

2016-17 season highlights:

Sweeping DePaul: All three times Marquette faced nationally-ranked DePaul this past season, the Golden Eagles came out on top. The first meeting went to overtime on the Blue Devils’ home floor. Marquette earned the slight edge 102-101 behind Danielle King’s 27-point performance. King excelled again in the second meeting, pouring in a career-high 28 points in a 96-81 win. The third game between these two rivals had the largest stakes: a conference championship. The Golden Eagles won 85-78 behind sophomore guard Natisha Heideman’s hot hand, leading her team with 28 points. DePaul entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 7 seed.

Beating Creighton: After being swept by Creighton in the regular season series, Marquette got revenge in the BIG EAST Tournament semifinals, 72-65. It marked the first time the Golden Eagles beat the Blue Jays since 2014. Amani Wilborn recorded a career-high 21 points. This win was also the fifth time against a Top-25 team.

Successful out-of-conference: In just the third game of the season, Marquette upset then-No. 16 Arizona State, 75-63. The Golden Eagles had five players score in double figures, led by Natisha Hiedeman with 23 points (9-for-13). They never trailed in the second half. The next game, Kieger’s squad faced Oregon State, fresh off a Final Four appearance. Hiedeman and Blockton combined for 47 points and Wilborn’s game-winning layup with 12.7 seconds left helped Marquette edge Oregon State 74-73. On a side note, Quinnipiac also faced Oregon State this season and lost 75-60 on a neutral court in Las Vegas, NV.

2017 BIG EAST Tournament recap:

Quarterfinals: No. 3 Marquette 80, No. 6 Georgetown 66.

  • Five players scored in double figures
  • The Golden Eagles used a 13-4 run over the final 2:48 of the second quarter to carry a 38-27 edge into halftime

Semifinals: No. 3 Marquette 72, No. 2 Creighton 65.

  • Marquette started the fourth quarter strong with a 9-1 run to extend its lead to a game-high 11 points
  • The win clinched a spot in the BIG EAST Championship for the first time since joining the conference prior to 2005-06

Championship: No. 3 Marquette 86, No. 1 DePaul 78.

  • Natisha Heideman shot 6-of-10 from three, netting 28 points
  • The win pushes Marquette to 6-0 against ranked teams this season

RELATED: Quinnipiac reacts to opponent Marquette, trip to Coral Gables. 

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