Marotta steps into leadership position for WBB

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Photo by John Steppe

Sophomore forward Chloe Marotta.

With six seniors graduating, a new head coach and an entirely new starting lineup, the Golden Eagles were left without any obvious emotionally supportive leaders heading into the year.

Sophomore forward Chloe Marotta is looking to fill that void.

“Chloe is the hype man of the team,” freshman guard Taylor Valladay said. “If we’re down or not having a good practice, Chloe is always there to pick us up and let us know that it’ll be okay.”

Marotta said it’s the responsibility of all of the returning players to pick up the vocality for this year.

“As returners, all five of us have really stepped up our leadership roles,” Marotta said. “It comes naturally to me, but I also try my best to be the leader on the floor.”

Last year, the Mequon, Wisconsin native appeared in 25 games, averaging 7.4 minutes, 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.

While Marotta was not a consistent crunch-time player a season ago, head coach Megan Duffy said her versatility will be an important asset this year.

“Chloe is our utility man,” Duffy said. “She’s hard-nosed, she can play inside, she can play that guard position.”

Duffy said one of her favorite aspects of the 6-foot-1 sophomore is Marotta’s willingness to put her body on the line for the team’s sake.

“She’s the kid that’s going to be throwing her body and her ponytail all over the place,” Duffy said. “She’s somebody the fans are really going to love because of her hustle.”

Some players strive to put the ball in the basket as much as possible, but those aren’t Marotta’s goals when she checks into games.

“On the floor, I want to be the rebounder, the person that plays the hardest (and) always brings that energy,” Marotta said.

Marquette was primarily a team of guards last season, with Danielle King, Natisha Hiedeman, Amani Wilborn and Allazia Blockton pacing the squad. 

This year, Marotta said the Golden Eagles will switch up the personnel and run with two post players for a majority of the game, alternating between tandems of Marotta, senior Altia Anderson, redshirt junior Lauren Van Kleunen and freshman Camryn Taylor.

“Working with that two post is good this year. It’s a little different, but that’s our strength (this season),” Marotta said. “We’re going to play a little two-man game, getting into some ball screen action.”

With the graduations of so many guards, Marquette’s run-and-gun strategies are bound to change.

“This year, we’re just young and have to slow it down a little bit more,” Marotta said. “We’re still going to try to get up the floor a lot, but our two bigs will definitely be more of a presence.”

Marotta’s uplifting spirit was evident on the first day of practice when she and junior guard Selena Lott combined their basketball skills with some dance moves, making national headlines. 

The video, which the NCAA women’s basketball account tweeted, featured the two doing a viral dance challenge and was capped off with a halfcourt shot by Lott.

Marotta said the video was taken on the first try.

“When we got on the court, that was the first take, and Selena happened to hit the shot,” Marotta said.

Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young tweeted at Marotta and Lott. While Marotta knew it was going to be popular, she did not expect it to go viral.

Marotta comes from a Marquette basketball family. Her dad Marc was a member of the men’s basketball team in the 1980s. Her older brother Cam, a 2018 Marquette graduate, was a men’s team walk-on for four years. Her grandfather and great-grandfather were Golden Eagle basketball players, too.

Teammates said Chloe’s dedication to the Marquette program is clear every time she enters the game.

“When Chloe gets on the floor, she’s going to do whatever it takes for us to win,” Van Kleunen said.

Heading into the season, MU is projected ninth out of 10 in the BIG EAST, and Marotta said the team will play with a chip on its shoulder all year.

“Every day, we’re going to have to come in and have positive energy and work hard,” Marotta said. “We still have a passion and drive to be the best this year.”