Marquette women roll past Providence to open Big East Tournament play

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (MARQUETTE ATHLETICS) - The Marquette women's basketball team defeated the Providence Friars 68-43 in the BIG EAST tournament quarterfinals on Saturday night.

Redshirt senior Lauren Van Kleunen had 17 points and seven rebounds to lead the Golden Eagles (18-5, 14-4 BIG EAST) to their 10th win in their past 13 conference tournament games. Camryn Taylor added 12 points and five boards while Selena Lott chipped in seven points, nine assists and six rebounds.

MU started the game strong on the defensive end of the court, holding Providence (7-14, 4-10 BIG EAST) scoreless for the first 6:52 of the game and forcing five turnovers. The Golden Eagles began the quarter on a 9-0 run which culminated with a transition three from Liza Karlen that led to a Friars timeout. The two teams exchanged baskets for the final three minutes of the first frame and MU led 15-6 after 10 minutes of play.

A three-point play by PC's Sophia Widmeyer cut MU's lead to 15-9 early in the second quarter before eight straight points from LVK helped the Golden Eagles expand their lead back to double digits. A 50-percent shooting performance from the floor in the second quarter (7/14) helped MU gain even more ground as it got scoring contributions from Taylor Valladay, Chloe Marotta, Jordan King and Antwainette Walker to end the half with an 18-point lead.

Camryn Taylor and Van Kleunen scored six points each in a 15-point third quarter that saw MU add to its lead and go into the final frame with a 48-28 lead. The Golden Eagles reserves got some run in the fourth quarter and responded admirably, combining for 14 of the team's 20 points in the final 10 minutes of play. Claire Kaifes hit both of her 3-pointers in the fourth quarter while Antainette Walker had three points and Julianna Okosun completed a three-point play to get on the board.

For the game, MU held the Friars to just 30 percent (15/50) shooting from the floor and 23.5 percent (4/17) from 3-point range while winning the battle on the glass 46-22.

Chanell Williams led Providence with 12 points while Alyssa Geary had 10 and Sophia Widmeyer added nine.

POSTGAME NOTES:

-Marquette won the rebounding battle for the 51st time in the 55 games of the Coach Duffy era (46 to 22).

-The Golden Eagles held the Friars to 43 points, which marks the sixth time MU has held its opponent under 50 points (6-0).

-MU hit six of its 14 3-point attempts (.429), its sixth time this season shooting over 40 percent from downtown in a game (6-0).

-The Golden Eagles remained the only team in the BIG EAST to keep the same starting lineup in every game in 2020-21 (Lott, King, Marotta, Taylor, Van Kleunen).

-Lauren Van Kleunen (17 points) reached double figures for the 18th time this season and 48th time in her career. She's six points from 1,000 in her career.

-Camryn Taylor (12 points) reached double figures for the 16th time this season and 27th time in her career.

-Lott had one steal to bring her career total to 217, which keeps her at No. 9 all-time at Marquette.

-Lott had nine assists, moving her to 374 in her career. She passed Allazia Blockton (366) for No. 10 all-time at MU.

-Lott remains in 24th place all-time in scoring at MU. She now has 1,147 points.

UP NEXT:

Marquette will play in the BIG EAST tournament semifinals on Sunday, March 7 at 5 p.m. Central time. MU will play the winner of No. 6 Creighton and No. 3 Seton Hall.

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