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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Women’s basketball leans on traditions heading into the postseason

Photo by Alex DeBuhr
Marquette women’s basketball celebrates from the bench in its win over Xavier Jan. 25.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — All season long the Marquette women’s basketball team has been building and leaning on habits in hopes of returning to the NCAA Tournament.

“Everybody knows the moment of March Madness and the NCAA Tournament, so we’re excited,” head coach Megan Duffy said. “We want to have fun and also have that balance of business and preparation. We’ll try and be ourselves off the court and then when we step in those lines we’re focused, we’re energized and we’re tough.”

Not all habits happen on the court.

The Golden Eagles have a long standing tradition of getting ice cream after wins away from the Al McGuire Center.

“I started that tradition a long time ago mostly because I love ice cream,” Duffy said. “A little bit of bribery maybe back in the day, but if we get a good road win or neutral tournament win, we celebrate.”

Duffy said the fun part is everyone deciding where to go.

“The fun part in the different cities we’re at is the debate of what ice cream place you go to,” Duffy said. “Is it a Dairy Queen type place or a Culvers? Is it something that’s more local? So we try to have fun with that.”

Another tradition the team has is making a half-court shot in practice on game days.

Junior forward Liza Karlen said it’s a tradition that’s older than her college career.

“I still remember, I took the half court shot in March Madness my freshman year,” Karlen said. “That’s been a thing. I don’t know when it started (but) it’s been obviously here for three years. It’s a long tradition.”

Duffy said the moment of the NCAA tournament won’t stop the team’s tradition.

“We’re gonna still shoot half court shots when we get down there,” Duffy said.

Karlen said consistency has been a feature of the team’s preparation and it won’t change this month.

“Preparation is huge on our team, we always keep the same routine regardless of who we’re playing,” Karlen said. “We had the same routine versus Butler, same routine versus Texas. It doesn’t matter what team we’re playing.”

Junior guard Rose Nkumu said sticking with the team’s routine heading into the NCAA Tournament is important.

“As coach has always told us, it comes back to our discipline, our defense and our IQ,” Nkumu said. “When we’re on top of our game we’re really connected with one another, we can put stuff together and we can make it difficult for teams.”

Enjoying the moment, Karlen said is important to keeping the right headspace for games.

“It’s really important to keep a one day at a time, one game at a time mentality,” Karlen said “Also just enjoy the moment. This is a huge, huge deal for us. Only a very small handful of girls on our team have been to the tournament.”

Nkumu said that having energy coming from senior guard Claire Kaifes, Advisor for Scouting and Analytics Jonathan Tsipis and the rest of the bench has been a huge help all season long.

“We come to timeouts they’re always in my ear and our teammate ears giving us that confidence,” Nkumu said. “And that energy that we need to step back out on the court to get a defensive stop.”

Duffy said giving energy is a responsibility shared by all in the program and there’s many ways that someone can contribute.

“Everybody is trying to give any kind of energy they can,” Duffy said. “Whether that’s a celebration on the bench, whether that’s in practice, whether it’s a kind word or motivational word to somebody. That’s some of the behind the scenes things that people don’t always see, just how much goes in to the preparation.”

And who knows, those traveling to Columbia might see those familiar floor slaps that men’s basketball team has been accustomed to give.

“You’ll be seeing a few,” Nkumu said.

This story was written by John Gunville. He can be reached at j[email protected] or on Twitter @GunvilleJohn.

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About the Contributor
John Gunville, Sports Reporter
John is a Sports Reporter at the Wire. He is a senior from Hartland, WI studying international affairs and Spanish and minoring in economics. In his free time, John enjoys playing on the Birdhouse ultimate frisbee team and has been to over 200 Marquette men's basketball games. This year John is looking forward to growing as a writer and share his passion for Marquette sports.

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