Golden Eagles Prove Toughness In Quarterfinal Win Over Hoyas

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photo courtesy of gomarquette.com

Georgetown came into Sunday afternoon’s matcuup leading the Big East in steals, hoping to steal home court from tournament the tournament host: Marquette. Early on though, it was Gold Eagle sophomore sharp-shooter, Natisha Hiedeman who stole the show.

A collective gasp was felt in the arena as Natisha Hiedeman hit the deck and limped off the floor to the Marquette tunnel.

McKayla Yentz was the Golden Eagles’  second best 3-point shooter on the year netting 38 percent from deep. But, her presence was felt on the offensive glass as well, tapping out second chance opportunities which her teammates turned into points.

The Hoyas would respond…

And then came Hiedeman….flimping to the tunnel, Hiedeman would return just minutes later. After the game, Hiedeman told reporters that she knew she would back when she went down.

Although early in the game, Hiedeman’s toughness set the tone for the Golden Eagles who could easily be referred to as their old name, the Warriors in their gritty performance Sunday.

“Just so proud of my team’s toughness today,” said, Marquette head coach, Carolyn Kieger, “obviously it was started by Natisha Hiedeman, for her to roll her ankle and come back there and just play for her team in post-season play, she set the example for us.”

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photo courtesy of gomarquette.com

“We’ve talking about toughness all year,” said Hiedeman, “and I just… it’s a big game and I wanna’ be in it.”

Hiedeman finished the game with 16 points on five for ten shooting, playing 28 minutes despite suffering the early ankle injury. 13 of Hiedeman’s point coming in the first half.

Perhaps feeling extra motivation from the play of their sophomore shooting guard, the Golden Eagles played inspired and efficient basketball all afternoon.  Point guard Danielle King took her game to the next level passing her way to a new career high 11 assists and scoring 14 points of her own. Swing-woman, Allazia Blockton led all scorers with 20 points. Off the bench, sixth woman, Amani Wilborn also added a career with with 12 rebounds.

Although, Georgetown made a spirited push in the third quarter with their signature stingy defense, the Golden Eagles were able to respond it eventually became clear who the better team was that afternoon.

The Hoyas struggled to match Marquette’s pace, as the Golden Eagles continuously burned them in transition.

“It’s always part of our game-plan,” said Kieger, “We play fast and we know that we are at our best when our tempo is flowing and were not stagnant so for us, it doesn’t matter who were playing, that’s always our pace of play.”

Marquette went on to win 80-66 where they will meet the Creighton Bluejays. The Bluejays have won both of the teams’ meeting this season but with the Golden Eagles playing their best basketball of the year and enjoying a home-court advantage, don’t expect the Eagles, or should I say Warriors, to go down without a fight.

The Bluejays Soar to the Big East Tournament Semis

The Creighton Bluejays took on the Bulldogs of Butler at the Al McGuire Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at noon Sunday.

snapchat-1056389513.jpgThe two seed, Creighton Bluejays came into the game boasting a 16-2 conference record and a plethora of Big East individual awards. In the low post, senior; Brianna Rollerson held down the middle held down the season all year with 10.6 points per game, seven rebounds, and 1.6 blocks, and a co-Big East Most Improved Player Award. On the wing, freshman, Jaylyn Agnew came off the bench in all 18 conference games, averaging eight points, 3.7 boards, and 1.1 steals to earn the Big East Freshman of the year honors.

On the other side of the floor were the under-dog, Butler Bulldogs, the 10 seed that just snapped a seven game losing streak in their defeat of the seven seeded Xavier Musketeers, led by their star, Taylor Schickel, a versatile big with the ability to handle the ball, pass out of the post, and go for the occasional 20 rebound game.

On the sidelines, I experimented with a new way to cover the match-up taking to my cell phone to Snap-chat and tweet the game starting when I arrived at the Al McGuire Center…

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Awaiting tip off, I grabbed some quality snap-chats…

As the game began, I took to Twitter, following the key plays and trends of the match-up. Both teams took a while to wake up for the matinee game.

Especially the Bluejays…

Until Rollerson finally got one to roll in

The Bulldogs hot start had me thinking upset…

Creighton’s Aubrey Faber put the scoring load on her back and carried the Bluejays offense early.

After a hot start, it seemed that the closer the Bluejays got, the more the Bulldogs shot themselves in the foot and as the turnovers piled up, Butler began to lose control of not only the ball but the game as well.

With about 60 seconds to go in the first half, the Bluejays’s Lauren Works cut the lead to just two points.

The most amazing part of the game came at halftime though!

The next time the freak athlete mascot walked by my spot on the sidelines, I grabbed a selfie!
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The Bluejays continued to build pickup where they left off as Lauren Works knotted the game up.

Minutes late, the Most Improved Player of the year gave Creighton their first lead of the afternoon from the free-throw line and stingy defense on Schickel put the Butler offense in shackles, by that I mean locked up.

Revitalized in the second half, Creighton kept the pressure on, hustling their way into a run that was sparked from a Marissa Janning save sequence that broke the back of the Bulldogs.

And the beat went on…

By midway through the fourth, the Creighton bench had plenty to dance about as the began to march to victory.

Meanwhile, Butler struggled to find any rhythm down the stretch.

Faber, Agnew, and Rollerson led the way in a team effort. Faber scored 17 points on 6 0f 12 shooting, Agnew added 16, and Rollerson controlled the paint with seven points and nine rebounds. The Bluejays would go on to win the game 65-55, advancing to play the winner of the Marquette, Georgetown game, played later that afternoon in the semi-finals on Monday.