Brooke Schulte scored a team-high 26 points, but DePaul (22-6, 14-2 Big East) fell to Marquette 96-81 on Sunday afternoon.
The Golden Eagles (20-7, 11-5) made their first nine field goal attempts to start the game and jumped out to a 21-8 lead. But how much of that was Marquette perfection versus DePaul not being ready to play was never in doubt in DePaul coach Doug Bruno’s mind.
“I attribute our not being ready to start the game to a group of basketball players that don’t want to pay attention to details,” Bruno said. “They were told all week, and taught all year, how important the beginning of the game is.”
DePaul’s only lead of the game was 2-0 on a jumper by Schulte. The Blue Demons fell behind by their largest margin of 20 midway through the second quarter.
Grant is one of only two Big East players to average a double-double in conference play. She had 11 points and 11 rebounds today. She snagged her fourth rebound in the second quarter to go over the 400-rebound mark during her two years at DePaul.
Schulte scored a career-high 35 points in the first meeting between the two teams this year. She passed Katherine Harry for 31st all-time at DePaul in scoring and her 10 rebounds put her past the 500-mark in her collegiate career.
DePaul had been looking for its seventh win in a row and its 17th out of the last 18 games. The Blue Demons’ only two losses in the last 18 games have been to Marquette.
Marquette is in the top three in the Big East in offensive boards, defensive boards, and rebounding margin, but DePaul had 18 offensive boards to the Golden Eagles’ 6 and 44 total rebounds to Marquette’s 36.
DePaul opened the third quarter on a 7-0 run behind two Schulte jumpers and a three-pointer by Kelly Campbell to trail 50-47 with 7:17 to play. Schulte’s jumper two minutes later got DePaul to 62-52, the closest it had been since the game’s opening minutes. But Marquette closed out the quarter going 4-5 from the field to lead 75-61 at quarter’s end.
Campbell finished with 15 points, one point shy of her season-high. She tied her season-high with eight rebounds.
Tanita Allen’s (10 points and seven rebounds) three-pointer in the final quarter was followed by Amarah Coleman’s three-pointer and a Campbell jumper to cut the lead to 85-75 with just under three minutes to play. Marquette had been held without a field goal for 4:09, but their free throw shooting in the final two minutes deflected any chance DePaul had to win.
DePaul leads the series 42-24, and Marquette is now 4-0 versus ranked teams this season.
And as much as DePaul’s lack of preparation hurt the Blue Demons for 40 minutes today, the loss probably eliminates DePaul as a hosting team for the NCAA tournament. DePaul is now tied with Creighton in the Big East with each team having two losses, but the Blue Demons would hold the tiebreaker as things now stand due to DePaul having dealt the Bluejays’ their only two conference losses this season.