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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

AVINGTON: WBB depth sets Marquette up for extended postseason run

Photo by Andrew Himmelerg

After senior guard Allazia Blockton went down with an ankle injury against Providence, the state of the Marquette women’s basketball team was in question.

Blockton — the reigning BIG EAST Player of the Year, the program’s all-time scoring leader and the squad’s second-leading scorer behind Natisha Hiedeman this season —  has been the focal point of opposing defenses.

In Blockton’s absence, the Golden Eagles have not only dominated their opponents, but also discovered a welcome surprise along the way: a wealth of depth.

While Hiedeman and fellow seniors Erika Davenport, Danielle King and Amani Wilborn have continued to carry a heavy amount of the offensive load in Blockton’s absence, the insertion of sophomore guard Selena Lott into the starting lineup has paid dividends.

Lott is a lockdown defender, often taking on the opposition’s top scorer. Marquette head coach Carolyn Kieger has described her as one of the nation’s best defenders, which has proven true over the past few games.

Recently, Lott established herself as an offensive force. A former track star in high school, Lott’s speed provides the team with another weapon on the fast break. Her 46.7 percent shooting from three allows her to spread the floor, just like if Blockton was in the game.

Other players have cemented a spot on this team as reliable role players, minimizing the loss of Blockton.

Junior guard Isabelle Spingola is a sharpshooter off the bench whose defensive prowess has seen a huge boost. She has already has more steals so far this season than all of last year.

The Chicago native averages 6.9 points per game and is the team’s second-best 3-point shooter. Also, her ability to guard multiple positions provides Kieger with a reliable reserve option in all facets of the game.

Lauren Van Kleunen has appeared in all 16 matchups this season as a versatile post player. The 6-foot-2 redshirt sophomore is officially listed as a guard, but due to the team’s lack of height and post presence, she has been the team’s backup center.

Van Kleunen provides much-needed breaks for Davenport and bangs around in the post against taller, more physical players. On the offensive end, she creates mismatches with her outside shooting. If she draws a guard, she has the size and post moves to back them down for an easy layup off the block.

Forwards Altia Anderson and Chloe Marotta also play important roles with less minutes.

Anderson, a 6-foot-2 junior, typically enters in short spurts to give Davenport and Van Kleunen breaks. A four-sport athlete in high school, she provides the team with a spark of energy and size, even though her scoring and post moves could use improvement.

Marotta, a native of Mequon, Wisconsin, is a 6-foot-1 freshman who may be the best rebounder on the team. Her tenacity attacking the boards and physical play in the paint gives the Golden Eagles yet another bench option who can play in the post.

All of these players provide Marquette a rather deep roster, which is a luxury they haven’t been able to boast for the past few years.

The Golden Eagles are battle-tested, having taken on multiple highly regarded teams such as No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 6 Mississippi State, Michigan, Green Bay and DePaul. All those teams receive votes in the AP Top 25 poll.

This experience of squaring off against national powerhouses will certainly help Marquette, but in the postseason, bench contributions can make or break a team. Their reserve players will need to continue the positive trends exhibited throughout the past few games.

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