Jordan King saw career-high’s in junior season but remains working towards a piece of hardware

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Photo by Collin Nawrocki

Junior guard Jordan King (23) goes in for a layup in Marquette women’s basketball’s 76-48 win over Xavier Dec.3.

It’s been 903 days since Jordan King put on the blue and gold for the first time in her career. And since then, all King has wanted to do was compete for BIG EAST titles and make an impact on Marquette’s program. 

A lot has happened since Nov. 5, 2019 for the junior guard, but one thing has remained the same: bringing the hardware back to Milwaukee.

Despite making it to five-straight BIG EAST Tournament title games from 2017-2021, the Golden Eagles have not cut down the nets since 2017.

“It hasn’t happened in a couple years,” King said. “Just to be able to bring that home would be an amazing experience and to have that trophy sitting up in our offices would be awesome to see every day.”

King, who hails from Rockton, Illinois, came into Marquette with high hopes and expectations. Along with being named the BIG EAST Preseason Freshman of the Year in 2019, King was thrown right into the fire as she started every game at the point guard position after the graduation of Danielle King.

As for many first-years, their first season at the collegiate level comes with ups and downs and King’s was no different. She was held scoreless in the BIG EAST Tournament championship game against DePaul and missed out on the NCAA Tournament due to COVID-19. However, she still put up 8.1 points and 3.2 assists per game that year.

Her sophomore season saw a little more inconsistency, compared to normal, as she shot just 23% from beyond the arc and 38% from the field. Heading into this past off-season, King said she worked on becoming that consistent scorer for the Golden Eagles as the team lost its leading scorer in Selena Lott.

“We challenged her at the end of last season, with losing Selena Lott,” head coach Megan Duffy said. “She (King) was just going to have to step up in a lot of different ways.”

King told the Marquette Wire in October that she spent the summer working on her shooting while trying to become a more steady scorer from both the mid-range and beyond the arc.

“One of the things we try to encourage her as a staff is just to take a few more shots and be a little bit more aggressive for her own shot,” Duffy said. “I thought she found different games throughout the year to really push that envelope a little bit more.”

Taking more shots is exactly what King did.

King attempted a total of 393 shots from the field this season, with 57 coming from 3-point range. Both her field goal percentage (41%) and 3-pointer percentage (33.3%) finished being career-highs.

Although she did not take as many 3-point field goals this season as she did just a year ago, King said the quality of the shot was really what mattered to her.

“With the three-point percentage, it was just being more mindful of how many threes I was taking and when I was taking them. Obviously, over the course of the first two years, my percentage was not that high,” King said.

Along with her shooting percentages being all-time highs, King also put up career-high averages in points (11.5), rebounds (4.4) and assists (4.0) per game. King scored in double-figure margins in 22 of Marquette’s 34 games this season.

King, who has an iron-woman streak of 91 consecutive starts, saw an increase on the defensive side as well as she recorded 47 steals and 24 blocks on the season.

But who does King give credit to for her defensive success? That would be Lott, who earned BIG EAST Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2021.

“Defensively, I was kind of just watching her movements and her IQ with things,” King said. “And of course, being able to play with her, you kind of learn a little bit of how she operates on the defensive end. I just felt like being able to watch her over the course of two years and learning from her was really helpful.”

Over the course of the two seasons King played with Lott, the two formed a close relationship. Building that team chemistry was something Duffy knew was important, but this year when King had to fly solo, Duffy said she knew King could rise to the occasion.

“I thought she was fine,” Duffy said. “With the addition of (Karissa) McLaughlin, I think it helped with having another veteran leader in the backcourt with her (King), which gave us a good balance.”

King said with the addition of McLaughlin, a veteran guard and 3-point shooting specialist, made her job at the point a little bit easier during the season.

“The relationship that we were able to develop off the court was something special. She’s a great shooter, and as a point guard, you got to find your scorers on the floor,” King said, “It was really fun all year of being able to always know where my shooter was.”

Along with McLaughlin, King said working with first-year assistant coach Kelly Komara, who has proved herself as a specialist in guard play and development, helped in her own growth.

“Working with her (Komara) has been one of the best experiences that I’ve had this whole time at Marquette,” King said. “Honestly just the way that she’s believed in me, has been really impactful and has contributed to my success.”

As a whole, King said she was happy with her production in her junior year, but as her senior year looms, all she wants is another chance to prove her game is growing.

“This season I know that there’s going to be a couple bigger roles that I’ll have to take on, I know that already,” King said. “But I’m ready for that challenge and I’m excited to see what it brings.”

This story was written by Kristin Parisi. She can be reached at kristin.parisi@marquette.edu or on Twitter @kristinparisimu.