February 13, 2023
BIG EAST Notebook: Don’t sleep on Marquette
Plus: Maddy Siegrist's historic day in a stellar senior season
For the first time since the 1993, the Connecticut Huskies lost back-to-back games. Following a loss to South Carolina on Feb. 5, the Huskies were defeated by Marquette, 59-52, last Wednesday on the Golden Eagles’ home court in Milwaukee.
“I’m just so incredibly proud of their fight,” said Marquette head coach Megan Duffy. “We knew we were big-time underdogs. We watched Connecticut lose [to South Carolina], and we knew a buzz saw was coming in. But we just kind of stayed together, fed off our home crowd and just continued to make big plays.
“They’re the top program in women’s basketball history. UConn will have a phenomenal rest of the season, I know it. But for our program, it’s huge.”
It’s also a huge accomplishment for Duffy herself. In another bit of history, Marquette Duffy joined Dawn Staley, Denise Dillion and Niele Ivey as one of only four people to defeat UConn coach head coach Geno Auriemma as both a player (Notre Dame, 2002-06) and as a coach.
“I’ve had a chance to spend a lot of time around Megan and her husband at the BIG EAST meetings and Megan was a hell of a player as everybody knows at Notre Dame but one thing I’ve found about Megan that really pisses me off is she’s entirely too chipper for me,” Auriemma said. “That kid is never not happy. She’s never not supportive of her team and she’s never anything but upbeat.
“I love the way she coaches plain and simple. She coaches to her personality and that’s how she was as a player and that’s how she coaches her team. They play with that same toughness and physicality that she played with.”
Marquette was signature Megan Duffy on Wednesday. The Golden Eagles were able to disrupt Connecticut’s offense, holding the Huskies to a season-low in points (52). With disciplined team defense and red-hot offensive production from seniors Chloe Marotta (19 pts) and Jordan King (18 pts), Marquette was able to dismantle the Huskies and grind out a seven-point win.
“In some ways, I’m speechless,” Duffy said. “The next emotion is I’m just incredibly proud of these women and what they did tonight — a historic win for Marquette women’s basketball. We knew we were up against a buzz saw with Connecticut losing on Sunday.”
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During one stretch of last week’s game against UConn, Marquette guard Jordan King scored 10 straight points, including two three-pointers. King averages 16.2 points per game for Marquette. In November, she led the Golden Eagles to a runner-up finish at the Battle 4 Atlantis championship. After impressive wins over then-No. 3 Texas and a tough Gonzaga team, the Eagles pushed UCLA to overtime in the championship game, eventually falling 66-58 to the Bruins. King was named to the all-tournament team.
“I think since the day Jordan stepped on campus, she’s always been the ultimate teammate and selfless competitor; she’s always trying to make others better. And I think each and every year, she’s added more to her own game. And no better year than her senior year to put a little bit more on her shoulder; she can score at all three levels,” Megan Duffy told The Next earlier this season.
“She makes other people better, and I think she’s —you know, with a lot of things in college basketball, where there’s transfer portal, and you know, just some of the negatives about, sometimes, college athletics — she’s one of the positive stories. She works every day. She’s all about Marquette. She’s all about her teammates. And I think that’s why you see her game flourish.”
Jordan King is a difference-maker for Marquette, and has the ability to get hot in a hurry. Her athleticism, shot-making abilities and leadership has defined the Golden Eagles’ success this season, and she should be recognized as one of the top players in the BIG EAST conference.
There is strength in Marquette’s depth, and coach Duffy, in her fourth season at the helm, has established an identity for her program. She expects toughness and efficiency from her players, and relies on the consistency of her role players.
“I would say we’re so much process driven, and really working,” Duffy told The Next. “We were picked sixth in the preseason BIG EAST polls. And I think we were all a little disappointed at that. But you know, we talked about that early on in October and said, ‘Hey, we gotta be the team that’s relentless workers, we have to improve every day.’ I think we have a talk about like Jordan [King], Liza Karlen and Chloe Marotta. But I think our greatest strength is the is the people around them, too. We got good depth, we got young players who are improving.”
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“We just continue to play Marquette basketball, it’s hard nosed and tough and efficient. And hopefully we’ll get some wins along the way because of that.”
Marquette currently sits at fifth place in the BIG EAST standings with a 9-6 record, just a game behind fourth-place St. John’s. As of Friday’s Bracketology by ESPN’s Charlie Creme, Marquette is projected to be one of the “last four in” to the 2023 NCAA tournament.
As the regular season winds down, don’t be surprised to see Marquette make some noise in the postseason. With veteran leadership and elite coaching, the Golden Eagles are poised to enter the national conversation.
Siegrist clinches scoring record
With a career-high 50 points on Saturday in a 99-65 victory against Seton Hall, Maddy Siegrist became the all-time leading scorer in BIG EAST conference history. Her 50 points also broke the Villanova single game-scoring record (45 points) and conference single-game record (44 points).
“Amazing performance by Maddy,” Villanova head coach Denise Dillon said. “We’ve seen her do some pretty incredible things on the court, especially here at the Pavilion. Today, her efficiency of her scoring, and what she made happen to just give the confidence to our team to get a much needed win.”
Per Her Hoop Stats, Siegrist is averaging 29.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. With a 37.6% usage rate, Maddy is a scoring machine for the Wildcats, who currently sit a game behind first place in the BIG EAST conference standings.
“When you’re playing, you don’t even realize it,” Siegrist said after Saturday’s game. “But there was a point in the second half where one shot I threw up that I didn’t think was gonna go in, and it went in. I was just like, ‘All right, maybe some days are just your day.’”
Saturday was indeed Siegrist’s day. The preseason BIG EAST player of the year is living up to the hype, and now her name is etched in the record books.
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Written by Tee Baker
Tee is a women's basketball reporter and historian. As an author at The Next, Tee covers the BIG EAST conference and contributes articles and media featuring the WBL, the first professional women's basketball league in the United States.
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