Plouffe excels in guard to forward transition
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What if someone told you the future centerpiece of the Marquette women’s frontcourt is a talented, 6-foot-3 freshman from Alberta, Canada who used to play point guard?
Katherine Plouffe, or KP as she is known to her teammates, is just that. In her first full season as a forward, Plouffe has started 26 of 27 games and is averaging 7.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in 24 minutes per game. She has become an integral part of Marquette’s team that has earned a top-25 ranking for the first time since the 2006-’07 season.
“She’s been great,” senior forward Paige Fiedorowicz said. “By losing a couple post players, she has been able to step in.”
Even though she is making a significant impact right now, teammates and coaches say she still has a lot of room to grow.
But Plouffe was an excellent find. According to her coaches, what really sold them on her during the recruiting process was her physical build.
“When I went up to see her play, we were looking to sign somebody late,” assistant coach Michelle Nason said. “And I saw her and her sister walk into the gym, and I texted Terri right away and was like, ‘Terri, we need to offer this kid right now.’
“She is a legit 6-foot-3-inches, she is really solid and she can do some things in the backcourt, which gives her that guard ability that makes her tough to defend.”
Her ability to fill in for players who have left the team, notably Jessica Pachko, who transferred at the end of last season, also makes Plouffe important to her team. On the same day it was announced Pachko had transferred, Plouffe signed to play with Marquette, filling a huge hole left in the frontcourt.
“It’s very clutch to get someone like KP here after Pachko transferred,” Nason said. “And the thing is I think KP has even more of an upside than Jessica did.”
Of course, Plouffe hasn’t always been a frontcourt force. In high school, she was the point guard of her team and averaged a triple double for her entire senior season at that position. She, along with her twin sister, Michelle, who is now a starting center at Utah, led her high school team to city and provincial titles.
“She has an identical twin sister, and in high school they were the focal point of their team,” Nason said.
But, as her coach said, when she was recruited, they knew she was going to play a different position than she had in high school.
“When we recruited her, we told her she was going to have to play some four, at least during her freshman year,” Nason said. “And when we got her here, we knew we were going to need to teach her some back to the basket stuff, and as it turns out, she’s really good at it.”
Plouffe owes part of her success to Fiedorowicz, who has served as her mentor.
“Paige has been a big help,” Plouffe said. “Just in teaching me how to play at this level and teaching me how to be physical. She has been a big help.”
Even though it isn’t the position she is used to playing, Plouffe says she is happy to be playing where she is, and has no regrets about the transition.
“I guess I don’t know how I would have done at guard because I never would have played it here, but it does make sense that I would be put in the post to guard people,” Plouffe said. “Wherever they need me to play, that’s where I’m going to work on playing.”