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Your 2011-12 Marquette Women's Basketball Preview

You may be wondering why we've waited until now to give you, our loyal readers, a preview of the women's basketball team, given that they're coming off of an appearance in the 2nd round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Well, the long and short of it that Marquette returns just 5 players from last year's team. Only 2 of them played any significant minutes in that hard fought loss to Tennessee that closed out last year, and only Sarina Simmons scored in that game.

So, when you combine a team that returns just 25.2% of its scoring, 34.6% of its rebounding and 26.4% of its assists with hard to track down information about women's basketball recruits, there wasn't much to say other than "Oh, man, Sarina Simmons and Katherine Plouffe are going to have to carry a heavy load this year." With Saturday night's 64-38 exhibition win against Carthage, we finally have an idea where Terri Mitchell's recruits will fit into the picture.

What We Learned:

  • Sophomore Gabi Minix has locked up the point guard position. After averaging 14 minutes last year and just under 11 in Big East play, Minix tied Sarina Simmons for the team high in minutes played with 33. She was one of three Golden Eagles in double digits for points with 10 and chipped in 5 assists as well.
  • Freshmen Arlesia Morse and Apiew Ojulu currently lead the class of 6 newcomers. Morse, a 5'10" guard, and Ojulu, a 6'3" center, earned the remaining two starting spots next to Minix, Simmons and Plouffe. They finished with fairly similar stats - 10 points, 4 rebounds for Ojulu, 9 points, 4 rebounds and an assist for Morse - and both played more than 10 minutes more than any other of the newcomers.
  • Cristina Bigica and Margeaux Dupuy have to learn to defend without fouling. Someone has to sub in for Minix & Morse, and with sophomore Katie Young recovered enough from the knee injury that ended last season to dress but not play in this game, Bigica & Dupuy are the reserve guards on the roster tasked with that job. Racking up 4 fouls in 17 minutes for Bigica & just 8 for Dupuy, particularly against a Division III opponent, is just not going to be beneficial to anyone.
  • Lauren Tibbs has to do better than 2-10 from the field. She was the first reserve off the bench at 16:10 left in the first half and at 6'4", she has to find a way to be more efficient at putting the ball through the net.
  • Sophomore forward Courtney Thomas is starting the year on crutches. Not the best thing for her or for a team desperately in need of anyone with Division 1 experience.
  • This team is now very tall. If you compare the combined height of last year's seniors and this year's freshmen, you get a combined height increase of 17 inches.

And that's about it. It's an exhibition game, and even though Carthage is picked to win their DIII conference, it's hard to take anything else away from this. In any case, things get started for real on Saturday night against Mississippi Valley State at the Al McGuire Center.