The Women’s Bouncy Ball Team is headed to the Sweet 16 after taking a fantastic game from Marquette in a 4 vs 5 matchup in Reed Arena on Sunday afternoon.
After their OT win vs Rice, I wrote that nobody expected Marquette to play as badly on Sunday as they did on Friday vs Rice. The Golden Eagles proved that right by coming out of the gate red hot. Marquette hit 7 of their 9 FGA before the first media timeout with 4:51 to go in the first and led 16-8. The Ags ramped up the defensive intensity coming out of the timeout and the game was tied at 18 with 1:38 remaining. A 3 pointer by Big East Player of the Year Natisha Hiedeman gave Marquette a 21-18 lead 10 seconds later. The Ags had a chance to cut it to 1 or tie, but a careless pass became a steal by Hiedeman for a fastbreak layup. 23-18 Marquette after the first.
Marquette had shot 63% in the quarter to 35% for the Ags.
The Ags clawed back the lead in the middle of the second quarter. The teams went back and forth: there were 3 lead changes and 3 ties in the quarter. A&M was asserting superior size and outscored Marquette 12-6 in the paint after losing the first quarter paint points 14-8. At the end of the quarter, A&M had a chance to add to a 37-35 lead but turned it over. Danielle King hit a wild semi-hook off the glass in the paint to tie the game at 37 going into halftime.
The shooting percentages flipped in the second quarter: Ags 64%, Marquette 35%
Carter led all scorers with 16 points. Hiedeman had 10 for Marquette. A&M had a slight edge in rebounds at 20-17. The refs were letting the teams play; only 4 FTs were attempted by the teams in the first half.
The teams traded scores to start the second half but then the Ags went cold and Marquette went on a 9-0 run leading to a Blair timeout with 6:04 to go. Out of the timeout, Kayla Wells hit a 3 to start a 6-0 A&M run. The refs started calling more contact and some of the Marquette players WIllborn and Brockton got their third fouls. Marquette’s Katrina van Kluenen took advantage of a double team in the paint to cut for a layup to break that run. She later scored on a back door and one to get the lead back to 6 at 57-51 with 2:38 left in the third. A Danielle King laup made it an 8 point lead.Carter responded with a 3 and a layup splitting two defenders to cut it to 59-57 after the and one.
Hiedeman tried a long pass with 2.5 seconds that went out of bounds on the far end. The refs called that it was tipped by Jada Walton. The crowd was not convinced when the replay was shown. Marquette couldn’t convert, but it deprived A&M of a chance to tie on an inbounds play.
Marquette got a 3 pointer from Blockton after both teams failed to score on their first possessions. N’dea Jones scored on an inbounds play and then on an assist from Carter to make it 62-61. Kayla Wells went into the quarter with just 1 foul but committed three in the 4th and had to sit with 4:10 remaining and Marquette up 72-70. Sham Washington had just answered a Hiedeman 3 with a 3 of her own from the left wing to make it 70-70. After the substitution and a media timeout, the teams traded the lead again with Carter making it 73-72 with a long 3 pointer with 3:42 remaining. It stayed at that score until 1:12 remaining when Jones was fouled and made 1 of 2 FTs. A key play in that scoreless period was when Marquette burned a timeout on a loose ball to keep possession, but then Jada Walton stole the ball from King.
Blockton tied it at 74 on a fadeaway J from the right side of the lane with just under a minute remaining. The Ags couldn’t score and Jones fouled Wilborn in the back court with 36.2 remaining. 2 FTs gave Marquette the lead after Ciera was called for a lane violation. Timeout Ags to advance the ball. Marquette had only committed 1 team foul in the quarter and had many fouls to give. Selena Lott fouled Carter on the first inbounds play, which reset the shot clock with 32.7 remaining. Washington inbounded to Carter, who drove the right side of the lane. As the defense collapsed on Carter, Chennedy kicked it out to Sham on the left wing. Sham took the 3 pointer and drained it.
Timeout Marquette with 22.9 to go down 77-76. I expected Marquette to hold for the last shot and they ran it down before getting the ball to Hiedeman. Hiedeman was starting a crossover move to go to the left baseline when her coach called a timeout to reset the offense. This surprised me and it turned out to be fatal for the Eagles. With no timeouts remaining Marquette had to inbound. Jones guarded the inbounds pass from King. Sham had Hiedeman. Walton initially had Blockton and Carter had Wilborn. Johnson was in the paint with van Kleunen in the far corner. Blockton set a screen for Wilborn. Carter and Walton switched. Blockton set a screen for Hiedeman looping around the top left of the key and then Blockton rolled toward King. Carter beat her to the spot and picked off the inbounds pass.
Carter was fouled with 5.6 seconds remaining and Blair used his last timeout to advance the ball. Wells inbounded to Carter off a Johnson screen. Carter evaded the intentional foul and the Ags passed it around until Wells was fouled with 1.6 remaining. That wasn’t enough for the bonus, so Washington inbounded to Carter in the right corner forcing Marquette to foul again with 0.9 remaining. The crowd was on its feet and the team knew it was over. Carter made the first and missed the second and Hiedeman’s full court heave was way off.
Last year, Carter hit the game winning 3 and Jasmine Lumpkin sealed it with a steal vs DePaul. This year it was Washington with the dagger and Carter with the steal to send A&M to the Sweet 16 for the second year in a row.
Final Score: Ags 78 Marquette 76
- Carter had 30 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 turnovers, a blocked shot, and a one huge steal. Although her scoring gets most of the attention, her assists and defense were what won the game in crunch time.
- All 5 starters scored in double figures.
- N’dea Jones (13 pts 13 rebounds) and Ciera Johnson (11 pts 12 rebounds) both had double doubles.
- Sham Washington had 13 points including the dagger 3, 6 assists and 3 turnovers. She was 3-4 from 3 point range and 4-12 overall.
- A&M outrebounded Marquette 42-34 and which translated into a 18-2 edge in second chance points and a 40-30 advantage in points in the paint.
- Marquette was led by Hiedeman with 18 points. King and Blockton each added 15. van Kleunen had 14. Hiedeman also had 7 assists against 2 turnovers.
Both teams played really well overall and it was a hugely entertaining game. After the game, Coach Blair addressed the crowd and talked about how hard it was to tell which team was better. Home court was important, and Marquette was in line to get the last hosting spot if the Ags had faltered against Auburn in the SEC tournament without Carter.
- Winner of 1 seed Notre Dame and 9 seed Michigan State
- Saturday March 30, 2019 either at 3PM or 5PMish
- Wintrust Arena, Chicago Illinois
- TV: ESPN
Notre Dame and Michigan State play on Monday night at 6PM CDT on ESPN. The defending National Champs will be heavy favorites in South Bend (or anywhere else). They spent a fair amount of the season at #1 before being upset a few times. But they’re playing really well down the stretch and their lineup is stronger than last year’s team with the return of Brianna Turner from injury.