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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

How Liza Karlen is having her best year yet

Liza Karlen leads Marquette in scoring this season with an average of 17.5 points per game. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Liza Karlen starts each game day the same way, with a bottle of Pedialyte and the five-star drill — where the senior forward takes five consecutive shots at each baseline, wing and the middle of the floor.

It’s the same drill she’s done since high school.

“When I stick to the same routine, it makes me feel good,” Karlen said. “Offense is so much about confidence, so when I feel good in my routine, I feel confident on the court.”

Karlen’s confidence has helped drive her senior season in the blue and gold, which already features a tied-conference-most three Big East Player of the Week honors, an AP National Player of the Week honor and a new career-high in points. 

On offense, Karlen has increased her points-per-game by six this season — 17.5 up from 11.4 — and also has career-highs in field-goal percentage (53%) and three-point percentage (41.4%).

Yet the only thing she’s changed is the addition of a turn-around jumper.

“I worked on my turn-around jump shot when I was injured last season,” Karlen said. “It’s a hard shot to block because I tend to fadeaway on it, and it’s opened up looks because people are a little more concerned about my inside game.”

The injury, which kept Karlen out for more than a month during the heat of conference play, made it hard for her to find her confidence in the back end of the season.

“I had to find my role again,” Karlen said. “I knew I was a shot taker still, but I had to find my way back into the flow of the offense and it was challenging for me to fully get back.”

Having that confidence this season and staying healthy has helped in the number jump, which Karlen said starts from merely reassuring herself she should take the shot.

“Previously, when I had chances to shoot threes, I would convince myself there are better options, but this season, I know I am taking a good shot,” Karlen said. “If I miss it, I have great rebounders that have my back down low or I can swing it next time to Kenzie (Hare), Rose (Nkumu) or Jordan (King).”

Marquette has an ‘Anyone can score’ offense, which has helped Karlen become a better scorer herself.

“It takes pressure off me and gives me confidence,” Karlen said. “If my teammates feel that confidence and step up and hit shots, then it becomes easier for me too because opponents have to respect everyone on the floor.”

Head coach Megan Duffy said Karlen’s confidence has shown through her trust of her skills.

She has a versatility about herself that she honestly doesn’t have to try and do too much,” Duffy said after Marquette’s home win over DePaul, in which Karlen finished with 19 points. “She can shoot her shot, she’s a good rebounder and she continues to show her poise and confidence.”

Karlen said her team’s offense has improved due to added team chemistry, something that was built during their summer European trip.

“Having played overseas, we were able to get more full practices in over the summer and build our offensive versatility,” Karlen said. “It allowed some girls to get extremely comfortable come preseason.”

Marquette’s improved offense has opened things up for Karlen and her teammates even when facing a double-team, a common combatant to forwards in the Big East.

“Teams can’t double us because everyone can shoot the ball,” Karlen said. “I can’t do my job as a scorer if other people don’t hit their shots too.”

Whether it’s a double team, 3-2 zone or any other defense facing the Golden Eagles, senior guard Rose Nkumu said Karlen is a steady force offensively.

“Liza is efficient in the paint, and being able to get her paint touches helps to break defensive pressure,” Nkumu said after the DePaul win. “While they were trying to get steals and deflections, she got some easy looks for us.”

The St. Paul, Minnesota native has not only become a better scorer, but has helped develop two first-year forwards Halle Vice and Skylar Forbes, which Duffy said has been more impressive than her numbers.

“She’s helped Skylar and Halle navigate through their own things as student-athletes,” Duffy said. “She and the rest of the seniors have helped to keep the program going in the right direction.”

Duffy said while Karlen has taught her teammates, she continues to grow as a player.

“She gets more experienced every year,” Duffy said. “She’s an extremely hard worker and she needs to continue to stay in the moment and keep her confidence.”

This story was written by Trevor Hilson. He can be reached at [email protected] or @hilsontrevor on Twitter/X. 

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About the Contributor
Trevor Hilson
Trevor Hilson, Sports Audio Producer
Trevor Hilson is from Muskegon, Michigan and he is a journalism major. He is the Sports Audio Producer for the 2023-24 school year. In his free time, he plays a lot of golf and gives lessons to his friends. He is excited for the national championship banner going into the Fiserv rafters for men's hoops at the start of next season.

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