Sunday, February 19, 2017

Marquette 96, No. 17 DePaul 81: Golden Eagles complete season sweep behind King's career day

                                                        Photo Credit: Marquette Athletics

On a summer-like February afternoon, the Marquette Golden Eagles (20-7, 11-5 Big East) completed the season sweep of the No. 17 DePaul Blue Demons (22-6, 14-2 Big East) 96-81, highlighted by Danielle King’s career day in points (28) and assists (nine).

King also produced a similar effort in the 102-101 win in overtime at DePaul on Jan. 21 with her previous career-high 27 points in 45 minutes.

"It was the tempo, going up and down getting quick shots," King said. "My teammates saw me running the floor well an using my speed wisely. It wasn't anything personal, just smart play."

In the current Big East setup since the 2013-14 campaign, DePaul has been the gold standard with three straight regular season titles and King knows a sweep is a big deal for Marquette.

"(DePaul-Marquette) has been a long-time rivalry for the alumni and they are proud of us," King said. "It is more about us, it is about the legacy that was left here. We just love beating DePaul because they are a great team."

30 of Marquette's 36 rebounds came on the defensive end and coach Carolyn Kieger emphasized the importance of everyone being involved in the process.

"When we pursue the basketball and box out, we can run at anybody," Kieger said. "It starts with rebounding and we talk about it all the time. The pace we play has to start out at the rebounding end and our guards did a phenomenal job of getting rebounds and it is hard for any opponent once that clicks."

Erika Davenport added 19 points on 7-of-9 from the field and nine rebounds for the Golden Eagles.

Brooke Schulte led the Blue Demons with 26 points, on 11-of-19 from the field, to go along with 10 rebounds.

Marquette came out with a purpose as it went out to a 19-6 lead in the first 3:17 as King sliced and diced through DePaul defenders for nine points, on 4-of-4 from the field. DePaul coach Doug Bruno called timeout in attempt to settle things down.

The Blue Demons came out of the timeout recharged as they made four of their next five field goals, but the Golden Eagles maintained their tempo with a balanced attack as they finished the first quarter at 80 percent (16-of-20) from the field made and a 38-point effort in the process.

Marquette carried its 38-24 lead into the second quarter as DePaul continued to struggle to find a rhythm as it missed 14 out of its first 17 shots.

Down 50-30, DePaul began to find a pulse as it went on a 6-0 run over a 2:08 stretch, but Natisha Hiedeman’s mid-range jumper put an end to the threat as Marquette went into the locker room with a 56-38 advantage.

The Blue Demons managed to pull to within 10 with 3:02 left in the third quarter, but missed a golden chance to cut into single digits as Amarah Coleman missed both free throw attempts as the Golden Eagles scored nine of the last 14 as they finished with a 14-point lead.

Marquette's lead stayed at double digits for the entire fourth quarter as it completed the season sweep of DePaul.

Both teams return to action on Feb. 24 as the Blue Demons begin their final two games in league play at McGrath-Phillips Arena against the Villanova Wildcats, while the Golden Eagles host the Georgetown Hoyas. Both games tip off at 7 p.m. on the Big East Digital Network/Fox Sports Go.

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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.