McLaughlin brings veteran experience, lock down 3-point shooting to Marquette


Photo by Collin Nawrocki

Graduate student guard Karissa McLaughlin.

After spending her entire basketball career in the state of Indiana, which included four years at Purdue University, graduate student transfer guard Karissa McLaughlin decided she needed a change.

That change brought her to the state of Wisconsin and to Marquette to play under head coach Megan Duffy, who once recruited McLaughlin during her stop at the University of Michigan as an assistant coach.

“I just wanted to go to a program that was gonna help push me at the next level. Coach Duffy I knew from a long time ago from being recruited in high school when she was an assistant at Michigan, so I already knew her that way,” McLaughlin said. “She was one of the first coaches that reached out to me. It was no question I wanted to come to her environment because I knew there was going to be (a) great culture, a winning mentality and a great place to get better on and off the floor.”

McLaughlin said the Golden Eagles’ culture and environment helped her adjust to a new program and city as a whole.

“It’s very different being in a city environment when originally I was on a campus, campus. Just getting used to a city environment, seeing different people on campus is really cool and to see the diversity,” McLaughlin said. “My teammates are always kind of grabbing me along and saying ‘this is where we’re going tonight, we’re gonna go to the third ward’ or whatever it may be, but it’s super fun and a lot of stuff to do.”

With the Boilermakers, McLaughlin etched her name into the program’s record becoming its all-time 3-pointers made (844) and finishing as a 35% career 3-point shooter.

McLaughlin said she hopes to improve Marquette’s 3-point shooting this season after the team finished fifth in the BIG EAST in 3-point field goal percentage (32%) and ninth in 3-pointers made per game (4.2).

“Just embracing that role, we have a lot of great offensive sets, a lot of down screens and a lot of staggers,” McLaughlin said. “I’m excited to run off those and knockdown some threes for my teammates.”

Duffy compared McLaughlin’s 3-point shot as her speciality just as the hook-shot is teammate graduate student forward Lauren Van Kleunen’s speciality.

“She definitely stretches the floor for us and as soon as she gets in that spot she has the green light,” Duffy said. “So whenever she has opportunities to let it fly she’s definitely going to be able to do that.”

Outside of McLaughlin’s ability to shoot the long ball, Duffy said she is excited about what her versatility will bring to both the guard position and the team.

“The other thing is that she can play both guard positions, she can play point (guard), she can play off the ball, she has a poise about her, I think the big thing for her is getting her to learn our system, getting her confident with the ball in her hands,” Duffy said.

McLaughlin is not the lone player heading to Marquette from the Big Ten this season, as redshirt sophomore forward Kennedi Myles transferred to the Brew City from the University of Illinois.

Myles said McLaughlin’s 3-point shooting was something that stood out and made an impression on her when the Boilermakers and Fighting Illini would square off.

“That’s my shooter, she’s on fire,” Myles said. “Every single time that shot goes up I have confidence that it’s going in. She brings a lot of energy (and) a lot of grit. Defensively she’s active, she makes sure we’re engaged with what is going on and she’s always just being a great teammate.”

Assistant coach Kelly Komara said McLaughlin made an impression on her way far back when she was recruiting her while Komara was at Vanderbilt University as an assistant coach.

“I knew that she would impact our program significantly,” Komara said. “She does that not just with her scoring, but her effort, her energy everyday at practice, she comes ready to compete and that’s one of the things about her, she’s a competitor and (she) wants to win.”

Komara, a fellow Purdue alum and member of the Boilermakers 1999 NCAA National Championship Team, said that when she found out McLaughlin was transferring to Marquette she was excited about the opportunity to coach and help her grow.

Redshirt sophomore guard Claire Kaifes said she has already taken note of McLaughlin’s leadership on the team.

“She is a very experienced player from Purdue and the leadership she brings to our program and to all of us as teammates is something I think we can all benefit from,” Kaifes said.

Even with the short time McLaughlin has been here, Kaifes said that she already loves having McLaughlin as a teammate.

“She’s been a great teammate and great friend,” Kaifes said. “She’s someone that we can always go to with anything, she’s very open with all of us.”

Part of that is to due to McLaughlin’s personality off the court as well as on it.

“She’s goofy, she’s fun, we go up to her room all time to watch games (and) play games,” Kaifes said. “She’s just a great person to be around all the time.”

As McLaughlin’s first season with Marquette begins to get underway, she said she is focused on being a good teammate and staying in the moment every day.

“Just to compete every single day, and be a great leader, be a great presence on the floor, point guard, shooting guard, whatever my role may be and just be present in the moment,” McLaughlin said.

This story was written by Jackson Gross. You can reach him at or on Twitter at JacksonGrossMU.