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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Karlen and Hottinger played together in high school — now they are reunited at Marquette

Photo by Keifer Russell
Frannie Hottinger (20) and Liza Karlen (32) started playing basketball together in high school for the same AAU Team. Now, the two are back together at Marquette.

Marquette women’s basketball had a two-point lead in the waning minutes against then-No. 23 Illinois Saturday afternoon and needed to keep its scoring alive. That’s when graduate student guard/forward Frannie Hottinger passed the ball to senior forward Liza Karlen, who extended the Golden Eagles lead with a seamless jumper from just inside the 3-point line.

On Marquette’s next possession, the roles were reversed, with Hottinger scoring off an assist from Karlen.

For those watching in Minnesota, it was nothing new, other than the different-colored jerseys they had on. Those in Karlen and Hottinger’s home state were used to the navy blue and gray of North Tartan — a local AAU team — rather than the blue and gold of Marquette.

Long before Karlen and Hottinger were well-versed college basketball players, they were two high schoolers playing for the same club team with dreams of becoming Division I athletes. Both achieved the dream, but while Karlen went to Wisconsin to become a Golden Eagle, Hottinger went to Pennsylvania and became a Lehigh Mountain Hawk.

Now, four years later, Hottinger has joined Karlen at Marquette for her fifth and final season.

“I’m so excited. I still look at Frannie sometimes and I can’t believe she’s here,” Karlen said. “It’s like a full circle moment for me almost. (It) started in high school, (when I) played with Frannie, was thinking about going to high school just to play with Frannie. And then we come back and have this opportunity where I get to play Frannie’s last year with her and it’s surreal.”

Karlen and Hottinger may not have been on the same team for the past four years, but they stayed connected, frequently checking in with each other. Even though they have maintained their off-the-court relationship, Hottinger said she is most looking forward to re-connecting on the court.

“Definitely getting that rust off from 2017,” Hottinger said. “It’s really fun to get back on the court together. We’ve stayed in touch throughout all these years, but to actually be together playing basketball is awesome.”

Hottinger arrived on campus after graduation, moving from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to Milwaukee. Even though she was familiar with the Midwest, Hottinger said having Karlen there to help her made the transition smoother.

“She’s been a great liaison in the city, showing me around new places to go, new things to see and eat,” Hottinger said.

While at Lehigh, Hottinger made a name for herself, earning Patriot League Player of the Year honors as a senior, the first Mountain Hawk to win the award since 2011. In the 31 games she played last year, she averaged 20.3 points per game — which ranked 19th in the nation — and finished the season ranked No. 16 in double-doubles with 16.

She comes with knowledge and experience, which can be of great value to a Marquette team comprised of six new faces, something she recognizes.

“Although I am new, I do have four years of college basketball under my belt,” Hottinger said. “The summer is important to help me lead some of those newcomers in the transition, and just being there for them.”

Head coach Megan Duffy said because Hottinger can relate to both the new players and the returning ones, she has helped mesh the team together.

“She’s been awesome from the leadership side, fitting in with our girls,” Duffy said. “She’s one of those players that said, ‘I’ll do whatever you need me to do, whether that’s score rebound, defend, make the assist.'”

Hottinger’s versatility will be key for the Golden Eagles this season as they lost two starters from last year in guard Emily La Chapell and forward Chloe Marotta. The 6-foot-1 graduate student can play both positions and has in Marquette’s first two games, subbing for Karlen at certain times while also staying on the floor with her.

But when they play together they link up — maybe for the first time against Illinois, but definitely not the last.

“It’s been cool to watch Liza and Frannie just develop their relationship differently. On the court, they’re constantly talking to each other, they have each other’s back,” Duffy said. “Really looking forward to seeing how their games will continue to progress, and really grateful that Frannie is a Golden Eagle for her last year.”

Her last year, spent reunited with someone from who was there at the start.

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

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About the Contributors
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.
Keifer Russell
Keifer Russell, Staff Photographer
Keifer Russell is a junior from Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin studying digital media and public relations and is a Staff Photographer of the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. Outside of the Wire he enjoys rock climbing, photography (figures), as well as finding and listening to new music. He is very excited to further refine his photographic content over the next year

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