In a situation that you just don't see all that often in men's basketball, new head coach Carolyn Kieger retained all four recruits that had signed a letter of intent for Terri Mitchell. That's an incredibly good thing, as Marquette lost two guards - Brooklyn Pumroy and Ashley Santos - to transfer in the offseason and three of the incoming freshmen are guards.
We'll give you a bit of background of each of the players, and layer that with some quick impressions from the exhibition loss to Lewis University as well.
Bell was the most dynamic of the four freshman, and one of two to get the start in the game. The Twin Cities native showed lots of energy, but still kept her play under control. She was 8-15 from the field, including 3-4 behind the arc. Bell had five steals against Lewis and two assists against just two turnovers. Kennedy (MN) High School won four straight conference championships with Bell on the roster, culminating with a state championship game appearance in her senior year.
Coach Kieger has spoken about wanting to play a quick, up-tempo style, saying that she wants to see Arlesia Morse turn into a more attacking guard. That style of play was evident in Bell's attitude on the court, and if she can play like this on a regular basis, it will definitely take some of the backcourt scoring pressure off of Morse.
While Bell evoked memories of Angel Robinson, Elbert showed that she has a long way to go to become a valuable member of the rotation. Given the starting nod, the Tartan (MN) High School product went 4-21 from the floor, including 2-8 from long range. She did finish the game with an assist to turnover ration of 2.33:1 after recording seven helpers and three turnovers. She was productive on the glass, snaring seven rebounds. Based on the exhibition results, I would wager that Bell will be the starter along side Arlesia Morse, but Elbert definitely showed that she deserves solid minutes as long as she gets the shooting under control. Odds are that she can do that, as she averaged 36.4 points per game her senior year en route to setting the Tartan record for most points ever scored by anyone, male or female, with 3,501 points.
Her last name was apt when it came to her shooting performance against Lewis. The 5'8" chemistry major went 2-12, which was somehow actually worse than Elbert's output. She looked like she was giving it her best, but 2-9 from three point land isn't going to get it done when you're in a neck-and-neck game against a Division 2 opponent... or anyone else for that matter. Like Elbert, Grim set her school's all-time scoring record, but it only took 1,793 points to eclipse everyone else who had ever put on a uniform for Rosemount. Grim came off the bench for 25 minutes, but I would have to guess that between the health of Morse and McKayla Yentz and the possible eventual return of JeTaun Rouse, we won't see that kind of run for her the rest of the season.
Valentine didn't show much against Lewis, other than a proclivity for fouls. She racked up four in just 17 minutes, and that's actually a problem. While Apiew Ojulu, Chelsie Butler, and Lauren Tibbs provide a solid front court, they can't play every minute of every game. Valentine, who stands at an athletic looking 6'3", could easily find minutes for the Golden Eagles if any of those three women find themselves in foul trouble. With that said, if she sees a decent amount of action to protect Butler or Tibbs, Valentine can't be giving up fouls herself. She did find time to snare five rebounds, and she ended up missing the one shot that she actually attempted. Valentine was team MVP all four years at St. Roch Catholic Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, but she'll get a chance to work her way into the lineup on a regular basis as the season goes on.