Plouffe eyeing NCAA Tournament to cap off prolific career

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Senior forward Katherine Plouffe’s career at Marquette thus far could be labeled as fulfilling, accomplished and extraordinary. Most accurately, it’s a progression.

As a freshman, she averaged 23 minutes, six points and five rebounds per game on an astonishing 50 percent shooting, which earned her a spot on the Big East All-Freshman team. Her sophomore season came with more minutes, more responsibility and more production. Plouffe averaged 13 points, eight boards and an even better shooting percentage.

Her junior year was similar statistically and came with some new accolades. Plouffe became the 21st player in school history to reach the 1,000-point milestone and was named to the All-Big East Second Team and All-Academic Team.

Plouffe said she is proud of those achievements, but is focused on adding to her résumé.

“I didn’t really keep track of it, but it was a cool milestone,” Plouffe said. “I have a whole other season to go, it’ll be interesting to see where I end up at, if I can break any records.”

Much is expected of Plouffe’s 2013 season, and her selection to the Preseason All-Big East team confirmed that notion. Plouffe is anxious for her closing season to get underway, but is also motivated by her team’s intensity peak just before the season begins.

“I’m super excited to get started and so is my team,” Plouffe said. “Practicing has been sort of up-and-down, but getting toward games it’s definitely more focused. We’re getting that energy back and we have to focus on being consistent throughout the season.”

It’s hard to figure out how a 6-foot-3-inch forward who hits around half of her shots can get much better, but Plouffe said she’s always trying to improve her skill set.

“I can always get better at my post game and with my guard skills,” she said. “I want to be first team All-Big East this year.”

Coach Terri Mitchell said in her media day press conference that Plouffe always makes her presence known on the court, thanks to her work ethic.

“It’s just natural to her, she rebounds, she scores, she’s defending, she’s always led by work ethic,” Mitchell said. “Sometimes you just have to say, ‘KP, take a day off,’ but she just has that one mindset of getting better. She has a command of the court defensively and offensively. You’ll never not know she’s on the court.”

If Plouffe stays on her scoring average from the past two seasons, she could crack the top 15 in all-time scoring at Marquette. With a truly exceptional season she could even crack the top 10. Whether or not she shatters any records or not, Mitchell believes her senior forward is in for a special year.

“I told her it’s going to be a magical year for her, and I believe that in every way,” Mitchell said. “From day one that she stepped foot on Marquette’s campus, she’s done everything we’ve ever asked  her.”

As a freshman, Plouffe helped her team get to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Despite all of the accolades that have come in the prior two years, Plouffe’s motivation comes from her desire to end her career at Marquette just like it started: with an NCAA Tournament appearance.

“That’s one of our goals, and we want to get to the Sweet 16 as well,” Plouffe said. “Seeing it my freshman year and not seeing it the last two years is kind of disheartening, but it’s always so motivating to keep your eyes on that kind of goal to get back to the NCAA Tournament.”