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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 working with a lot of new pieces

Marquette women’s basketball has six new players and two new assistant coaches this season. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Marquette women’s basketball has a lot of new pieces at its disposal this season. 

With six new players and two new assistant coaches, the Golden Eagles look to build off last season, which saw them play in the NCAA Tournament.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled about the women we have brought into this program,” head coach Megan Duffy said.

Players Departed

Marquette had eight players leave the program from last season’s team with six of them having graduated and two left via entering the transfer portal.

  • Guard Emily La Chapell transferred to Belmont after her first season as a Golden Eagle. She averaged 5.3 points and three rebounds per game and was a unanimous selection to last year’s All-Big East Freshman Team. 
  • Sophomore forward Makiyah Williams transferred to the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) after averaging 2.6 points per game last season. 
  • Forward Juliana Okosun graduated in three years but elected to not use her fourth year of eligibility. The Copenhagen, Denmark native returned to her hometown, and now plays professionally for Falcon Basketball in Denmark’s Kvindebasketligaen as a center.
  • Former forward Chloe Marotta was one of five seniors to graduate, finishing last year as the team’s leading rebounder averaging nine boards per game.
  • Guards Nia Clark and Nirel Lougbo, and forward Kennedi Myles round out the departures.

With all the players that have left the program, Marquette has looked to the transfer portal and recruiting to fill the gaps and continue the program’s winning tradition.

Transfer Portal Acquisitions

Although the Golden Eagles lost two players by way of the transfer portal, they also gained four players through it in the offseason.

  • Junior guard Lee Volker comes from Duke, averaging 4.3 points and three rebounds per game for the Blue Devils last season.
  • Sophomore guard Bridget Utberg transferred to Marquette from Central Michigan, where she averaged 12.5 points per game and was named to the All-MAC Freshman Team.
  • Junior forward Abbey Cracknell transfers to Marquette after spending her last two seasons at Gulf Coast State College in Florida.
  • Graduate student Frannie Hottinger offers an immediate impact for Marquette, being able to play both the guard and forward positions. With Lehigh last year, the Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota native was named Patriot League Player of the Year, earning a spot in Lehigh’s thousand-point club while averaging 20.3 points per game.

Incoming First-Years

Marquette signed two first-year players in addition to its four transfer portal additions.

  • Guard Halle Vice comes to the Golden Eagles from Bettendorf, Iowa where she played for Pleasant Valley High School, guiding the team to a state championship last year, as well being as the school’s all-time leading scorer and earning the single-season point record with 533 points in her senior season at Pleasant Valley.
  • Forward Skylar Forbes comes from Ontario, Canada and attended Scarborough Prep. Forbes averaged 17.8 points per game, eight rebounds and two blocks per game in her senior season. She was also a member of the U18 Canadian national team in 2022.

Fresh Coaching Perspective

New assistant coach Kayla Kleifgen comes to Marquette after spending six years as a recruiting coordinator and last year was promoted to associate head coach for Northern Kentucky, said she has bought into Duffy’s philosophy.

“When you come into a new program and get implemented with all the new players and all the new staff, you hope that they’re just amazing, great and wonderful people, and that’s what’s here at Marquette,” Kleifgen said. “Coach Duffy has done a great job of putting a staff and team together that is truly enjoyable to be around every day and work extremely hard, and have had success on the court, so it’s fantastic to be here.”

Assistant coaches Kelly Komara and Tasha Taylor left the program after the 2022-23 season, with Komara returning to Purdue as associate head coach after previously playing and coaching there. As for Taylor, she joined the University of Central Florida (UCF) Knights’ program as an assistant coach.

In addition to adding Kleifgen, Marquette brought in Khadijah Rushdan, who spent the last five seasons at North Florida as an assistant coach. Prior to coaching, Rushdan played professional basketball in the WNBA and overseas. Justine Raterman, who served as an assistant coach since joining Duffy’s staff in 2019, was promoted to associate head coach for Marquette this past offseason.

Gelling together

With all the roster turnover, the Golden Eagles needed to build team chemistry fast, which they did on their international trip to Europe in August.

“I grew relationships with people that I didn’t have before, as well as the scrimmages; that went really well,” Utberg said. 

Senior guard Claire Kaifes said she feels good about the team cohesion.

“Especially all of our newcomers, they’re just sponges absorbing as much knowledge as they can, and they’re doing a great job of adapting on the fly and learning new things every day,” Kaifes said.

Kleifgen said that the newcomers have made a huge impact in embracing the team-first mentality to help the whole team as they gear up for the start of the season, in addition to the overall program’s attitude and work ethic. 

This article was written by Mikey Severson. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @MikeySeversonMU.

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About the Contributor
Mikey Severson
Mikey Severson, Sports Reporter
Mikey Severson is a first year from Saint Charles, Illinois studying journalism and minoring in sports management. He is a Sports Reporter for the Marquette Wire for the 2023-24 school year. At St. Charles East High School, he played football, tennis and managed the boys' basketball team. Outside of the Wire, he enjoys professional football, playing tennis, trying new foods and meeting new people. He is excited to cover Marquette athletics, go to games and interview players & coaches post-game.

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