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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Duffy instills shooting confidence in team

Photo by Alex DeBuhr
Senior guard Jordan King scored a career-high 30 points in Marquette women’s basketball’s win over Loyola Chicago Dec. 10.

On a chilly fall day, as the leaves blew and the wind whistled outside the Al McGuire Center, Marquette Head Coach Megan Duffy was inside running practice. Duffy blew her whistle to stop a play after junior forward Liza Karlen reversed the ball back to senior guard Jordan King instead of shooting a 3-pointer.

“Coach Duffy will stop it (the play) and she’ll blow the whistle on practice and say ‘You have to shoot those,'” assistant coach Kelly Komara said. “When your head coach is pouring that much confidence in you to stop in the middle of the play and say ‘Hey, you got to shoot,’ that confidence then appears in the game.”

In her four years at the helm of the Golden Eagles team, Duffy has instilled a culture that emphasizes shooting the ball without hesitation.

“If the ball is moving and we’re changing sides of the floor, we have a lot of players who can have that green light to shoot it,” Duffy said. “As a staff, we want to give our players, regardless of position, confidence to shoot that basketball.”

Through the first 10 games this season, the Golden Eagles are 60-for-182 from beyond the arc, shooting at 33%.

Compare that to this time last season, where they were 33-for-111 and shooting 29.7% from three. Marquette is also averaging six 3-pointers per game, almost double the 3.3 it had 10 games into last season.

Duffy said the team’s personnel and importance of deep-ball shooting have influenced the increase in 3-pointers made.

“We put an emphasis that we need to shoot a few more but also we’re trying to recruit to it as well,” Duffy said. “We just have more options for people to shoot.”

First-year guard Mackenzie Hare has quickly made an impact as she is the joint-leading 3-point shooter for Marquette with 19 while averaging 1.9 per game.

“Kenzie’s got a lot of swagger and fight to her, and I think she’s as good of a shooter as I’ve seen,” Duffy said. “She has the green light to shoot that three and as we get farther into season too, we’re going to see her playmaking abilities where she can get to the basket as well and make other people better.”

Before Hare, Duffy acquired graduate student guard Karissa McLaughlin in the transfer portal to help with 3-point shooting.

She graduated this year, leaving Marquette without the Fort Wayne, Indiana native or her scoring capacity.

In 34 games for the Golden Eagles last season, McLaughlin made 87 of the team’s 120 3-pointers and shot 41.6% from deep on the year. The second-highest teammate was senior guard Jordan King who had 19 triples on 57 attempts, a number she matched 10 games into this season during Marquette’s game against Loyola Chicago Sunday.

In Big East play, McLaughlin recorded 52 of Marquette’s 71 threes and averaged 45.2% from deep.

“Losing Karissa (McLaughlin), obviously, there’s a huge void in what she brought to us last year with her capability to take over a game,” Komara said. “She wasn’t just a good shooter, but she did a really good job of reading the defense to be able to get her shot off.”

Without McLaughlin, Komara said Marquette had to find a way to get their players to improve from deep.

“With her graduating, it was a void that we knew we needed to fill. And not just from the freshman class or transfers,” Komara said. “Jordan King, Rose Nkumu, with Liza Karlen being able to step out (and) Chloe Marotta. Even a percentage or two better for each one of those guys would really help us from the outside.”

Along with their higher 3-point shooting percentage, the Golden Eagles have spread out their offense from beyond the arc.

Every player who’s attempted a 3-pointer this season has made one. Leading the way has been Hare and King with 19. They’re the only players on the team with 15 or more makes from range.

“That’s huge for us as a group to be able to rely on each other for that inside-out game and not just rely on one person to space the court for us,” Karlen said. “That’s been huge on our offense because now it pulls all the defenders out. It doesn’t just make the defense worry about one person shooting threes, they have to be concerned about a lot of us.”

In addition to the people with five 3-pointers, five players are shooting over 30% from deep and King is shooting 45.5%.

“They’re (Marquette players) taking more of those shots because they’re confident and the offense lends itself to those opportunities,” Komara said. “They’ve worked really hard on their outside game, through the course of the summer (and) through the preseason. Now, they’re having opportunities to showcase what they work so hard on.”

During the offseason, Karlen and her teammates worked on shooting repeatedly.

“In the summer, I, with a lot of my teammates, did this specific shooting drill every single day, and we would record our numbers on it,” Karlen said. “All of us really locked in on getting our shots up, specifically the three ball.”

The work Karlen did over the summer helped her shooting a lot as it took her 10 games to drain a 3-pointer last season compared to the two quarters it took her this season. 

“Liza (Karlen), in the year and a half that I’ve been here, has been one of the most improved players that we have on our roster,” Komara said. “Watching how far she’s developed in the year and a half I’ve been here and (seeing) her confidence grow, and to know that her head coach has confidence in her, that has not just expanded her three-point shooting ability, but her overall game.” 

Komara said that during conference play, the other 10 Big East teams know how Marquette plays in the paint, so the Golden Eagles need to rely on their players to shoot well from deep to score baskets as the season progresses.

“What we’re finding real quickly is that if you’re not going to have the confidence to shoot the ball, it really hurts us and disrupts in a way that we’re going to have to make you a better shooter,” Komara said.

This article was written by Jack Albright. He can be reached [email protected] or on Twitter @JackAlbrightMU.  

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About the Contributor
Jack Albright
Jack Albright, Executive Sports Editor
Jack Albright is a sophomore from Charlton, Massachusetts studying journalism. He is the Executive Sports Editor of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-24 school year. In his free time, Jack likes to hang out with friends and watch Formula 1. He is excited to write fun stories about all things Marquette athletics and oversee new types of digital content.

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