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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Spingola plays crucial role as sixth rotational player

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

About a year ago, then-sophomore guard Isabelle Spingola was averaging just over eight minutes per game.

A year later her production for the No. 10 team in the nation has doubled. 

Her offseason work has paid dividends for the junior from Chicago. She increased her scoring average from 3.9 to 6.4 points per game. She also increased her rebounds per game from 0.7  to 2.6.

“In the offseason, I worked on my off-ball and help defense,” Spingola said. “(I also worked on) talking as often as I can, almost 100 percent of the time, hustling and getting on the boards more.”

Last year, Spingola became a formidable sharpshooter off the bench for the Golden Eagles, shooting 37.6 percent from beyond the arc. This season, her talent from 3-point range has given her team the ability to have five potent shooters on the court at the same time.

“All of us being able to shoot is really good because it spreads the floor and opens up the lane for people to drive,” Spingola said. “If we aren’t hitting shots, then we have good offensive rebounding crashers, so we can get two easy points.”

Spingola caught fire earlier this year, tying a program record for 3-pointers made in a single game with eight against Binghamton.

“She’s one of the best shooters in the country,” head coach Carolyn Kieger said. “She just has to keep being confident.”

Recently, however, her production has taken a bit of a dip despite her team’s blowout victories. She hit three 3-pointers in her last eight games.

“My confidence was kind of low the last couple games,” Spingola said. “But I’ve been getting in the gym more and I think it’s all mental. So keep pushing, keep shooting, keep making the tough plays and it’ll happen.”

Spingola hasn’t entirely relied on her shooting, though, allowing her to become a multi-talented player.

“She’s somebody who’s really crashing the boards right now,” Kieger said. “She’s getting in her rotations (and) she’s defending the ball better than she has before.”

Marquette has made sizable jumps on the defensive and rebounding fronts. The Golden Eagles went from 38.1 rebounds and 70.8 points allowed by opponents per game last season to 41.4 rebounds and 61 points allowed by opponents this season. Kieger recognizes Spingola as one of the biggest reasons for the collective rise, dubbing her the most improved defender on the roster.

“Obviously we all know Izzy (Spingola) can shoot the ball,” Kieger said. “But it was her defensive side of the ball and the rebounding (that) she’s really improved and put a focus on.”

As one of the taller players on Marquette’s roster, Spingola has defended larger forwards and centers throughout the year, but she doesn’t see that as a challenge.

“I like guarding bigger players because obviously they’re taller, but I think I’m pretty strong,” Spingola said. “So it’s just trying to out-tough them, and (because of that), I really like guarding the bigs.”

Even though she only sees 16.5 minutes per game, Spingola has embraced her role as the team’s first player off the bench.

“Each of us have a role on this team,” Spingola said. “If mine is coming off the bench as a sixth player, I just need to bring energy and do what I do best.”

Spingola will likely be one of the centerpieces of the Golden Eagles’ squad next season, as they are losing six key seniors to graduation.

Alongside Selena Lott, Chloe Marotta and Lauren Van Kleunen, Spingola will be one of the team leaders and assume the responsibility of carrying the squad on and off the hardwood.

“These seniors have all been really good teammates to us,” Spingola said. “So (we’ll be) carrying that onto the incoming class next year, welcoming them, getting into the gym with them and showing them what it’s like to be a part of our program and culture.”

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