Chicago, IL — The Marquette Golden Eagles survived a hungry Butler Bulldogs team Sunday afternoon. Going back and forth to the last minutes of the game, Marquette finally pulled away to beat Butler, 73-61.
Here are a few takeaways from the game.
Butler’s strong defensive pressure
Butler’s imposing defense in the paint forced Marquette to shoot many of their shots from behind the arc, even if they didn’t want to. Marquette shot 15 threes, but only capitalized on five of them in the first half. That in turn, helped Butler to their 18 rebounds in the first half.
When a Golden Eagle flew into the paint, the Bulldogs attacked the ball like a chew toy! They were all over it.
Luckily for the Golden Eagles, they were able to figure out a way to go around the drooling Bulldogs as they finished the game with 30 points in the paint compared to Butler’s 40.
Threes, Threes, and more threes
Thank goodness for threes.
Marquette would have had an extremely hard time to bounce back if it wasn’t for the three point game. As stated earlier, Butler forced Marquette to take many unwanted shots from beyond the arc. However, once Marquette started realizing that the three-point game was the game that needed to be played, they made that their identity.
Big East Coach of the Year Carolyn Kieger joked after the game about how Marquette lived at the three-point line.
“They gave us the three all night,” Kieger said.
Huge threes were being made all game to stay within reach with the Butler Bulldogs. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter when Marquette’s Amani Wilbour hit a three that gave the Golden Eagles much needed space and never looked back after that. Marquette won the anticipated battle 73-61.
Kieger talked about how clutch Wilborn was today.
“The way she is stepping into the her three tonight. She usually hesitates a little, but not tonight.” Kieger said. “She was confident and even held her follow through.”
Marquette finished the night 10-of-29 while Butler only shot 4-of-12 behind the arc.
Wilborn took over the game with a 26 point performance, one night after she received the Big East All Honorable Mention. 12 of her 26 points came from the much needed three. Wilborn added 6 boards and 5 assists to the stats.
“I’m a playmaker. I was a point guard in high school so I’m used to looking for my teammates.” Wilborn said after her impressive performance.
Marquette struggled in the first half with off the dribble situations, and it wasn’t until the third quarter when the Golden Eagles played with some pride.
“I challenged them a bit in the locker room,” Kieger said, “I don’t think they think we can guard them one on one. This is (a) pride thing.”
From that point on, the Golden Eagles smeared pride all over their face as they shut down Butler’s offense holding them to 36% in second half.
Marquette will play the winner of St. John’s and Creighton’s match-up tomorrow at 3 pm.