Marquette women’s basketball dropped its second game of the season in tough 74-68 loss to the No. 10 Mississippi State Bulldogs Monday night at the Al McGuire Center.
“A disappointing ending at the end of the game, but what a great basketball game today. … Just a great experience for our young team with people in new roles to host the Bulldogs,” Marquette head coach Megan Duffy said. “Overall just really proud of our team and how we hung in there.”
Marquette had a 61-56 lead in the fourth quarter with 5:30 left, but Mississippi State went on an 18-7 run while forcing five turnovers in a five-minute span to pull away from the Golden Eagles.
The Bulldogs’ full-court press particularly caused issues for the Golden Eagles.
“The best thing that Mississippi State does better than any other team in the country is forcing turnovers and making you play a little out of control. Obviously, in the end, we struggled to get the ball up the court,” Duffy said.
Marquette had 28 turnovers, marking the fourth straight game with at least 10 turnovers.
The Golden Eagles out-rebounded the Bulldogs 38-33 on the night and had six blocks and seven steals.
“What we are defensively is what our team has bought into. We are going to play great position defense, be in the right spots and make teams shoot over us,” Duffy said.
Marquette remained within a couple possessions of the Bulldogs for almost the entire night.
Mississippi State opened the game with an 8-3 run in the first four minutes, but then the Golden Eagles’ offense got clicking. First-year guard Jordan King and junior forward Selena Lott combined for 17 of the team’s 22 points in the quarter, which ended in a 22-22 tie.
The Golden Eagles did not shoot as well in the second quarter, but second-chance opportunities and stout defense allowed the Golden Eagles to head into halftime only trailing 35-34.
“It is something that I talked about at half. They were energetic and mauling the board and putting a good body on us. Got to give them credit,” Mississippi State head coach Vic Shaefer said.
The Golden Eagles opened the third quarter hot with a 8-2 run. MU shot 66.7% from the field, 50% from the arc and 80% from the free-throw line in the quarter, all game highs for the team. However, a Marquette scoring drought lasting more than four minutes allowed MSU to end the quarter with a 54-52 lead.
Senior guard Isabelle Spingola helped the Golden Eagles stay in the game with six of her team-high 18 points coming in the third quarter. She finished the night with six 3-pointers.
“She stepped up like a senior. When we needed a basket, we found her in transition. Had some paint touches. She stepped up and nailed some big shots for us when we needed them,” Duffy said. “When she gets her feet set it makes us confident like making a layup.”
Despite the loss, Duffy sees a lot of positives for a young Marquette team after going toe-and-toe with a nationally-ranked team.
“We showed when the lights are bright and are in the moment and when big dogs come into your house, literally, we were able to handle that moment. Not sure two weeks ago in that Northwestern game, we would have been able to handle that so we are getting better with handling those moments,” Duffy said.
Marquette (4-2) will travel to Moraga, California, to participate in the Saint Mary’s Thanksgiving Classic. The Golden Eagles will take on Saint Mary’s on Friday and Tulsa on Saturday.