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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

MUWBB needs to rebuild

After five seasons at the helm of the Marquette women’s basketball team, now former head coach Megan Duffy is out and moving on to the same role at Virginia Tech. Duffy led Marquette to three NCAA Tournaments and was the fastest coach to get to 100 wins.

The team is going through heavy changes and not just at the head coaching spot. Starters Mackenzie Hare and Lisa Karlen both entered the transfer portal after Hare averaged 14 points per game and Karlen 18 respectively. 

As a staple of the roster for years, Jordan King graduating only adds on to the growing rebuild job at Marquette.

The change might be beneficial for both Marquette and Virginia Tech, as they get a seasoned coach and Marquette gets the chance to start a new era with a new leader.

As Marquette announced the search for a new coach has already begun, I had some notes they should take on the details of the now open spot.

The team started out great but slowed heavily toward the end, and Duffy could never crack her 24 wins from her inaugural season in Milwaukee in 2019. Although they qualified for the NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid, a first-round matchup with Ole Miss sent them home faster than expected.

Next season was already going to be poised as one of Duffy’s toughest, with all five starters gone and only three new recruits coming in. 

Marquette should be aiming to find a coach with tournament experience, and the ability to recruit high-ranking recruits who will play, and also stay with the program. Marquette struggled to keep its recruits under Duffy and the offense was hard to watch for much of the year. The 67th ranked recruit in the class, Kayl Petersen from Waupun, Wisconsin, decommitted last week after Duffy’s departure. Having a new coach makes it much harder to get recruits to commit, so finding a coach with a specific plan in mind can make the rebuild faster than expected.

Watching teams like Iowa or Connecticut shows how important a system can be and how beneficial it is to design your sets around your players, a la Caitlin Clark or Paige Bueckers. Although the Golden Eagles don’t have their Clark or Bueckers yet, enforcing a system can inspire and motivate recruits and players alike to play and follow the direction of the new coach and system.

Carla Berube from Princeton is someone Marquette should be tracking. Winning the Ivy League Regular Season every year in charge of the Tigers, Berube has also qualified for the NCAA Tournament the last three seasons. The Tigers also lost key players to the portal and Berube has just the experience needed to not only lead a rejuvenated team, but also prepare for the future with Marquette.

With all five starters gone and only one returning player being a consistent member of the rotation – Skylar Forbes – a heavy rebuild is necessary no matter who is leading it.

The new coach should build the offense around one player who they can build the team around. Finding a system early will be key and it might take longer if they have to rely on their young recruits for scoring early in the year.

Although Marquette’s three new first-years will certainly get their opportunities next season, bringing in a player with a high usage rate might be key in order to keep up the scoring with all of the missing pieces. It might be harsh to hand off the reins to the team to the remaining players from last year who barely got any minutes. Bringing in a veteran guard can ease the transition from the old core to the young roster with a lot of potential.

This story was written by Conor McPherson. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on X at @ConorMcPherson_.

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