Marquette women's basketball has announced a four player recruiting class. All four women will arrive on campus next summer and will have four years of eligibility for the Golden Eagles.
Through our highly connected network of spies, we were able to find out about three of the signees when they had committed to Marquette: Lauren Van Kleunen, Meghan Mandel, and Altia Anderson. When Marquette hadn't announced the recruiting class officially by Thursday afternoon, I began to wonder if head coach Carolyn Kieger had another recruit in her back pocket that hadn't come to light. That was the case when Kieger announced the signing of Isabelle Spingola on Friday morning.
Thrilled to welcome these four ladies to our Marquette family @spingizzy @meghan_mandel @LaurenVK_31 @SparkleTia pic.twitter.com/6Ex1ZhLZph— Carolyn Kieger (@ckieger) November 13, 2015
Here's what Kieger had to say about her entire recruiting class:
"We are extremely excited to welcome our four new student-athletes and their families to Marquette," Kieger said. "These four young women will be excellent additions to our program and University. This class gives us a lot of height and length to add to our current roster. I am confident everyone one of these ladies will leave their mark on our culture, team and community. Our family has gotten bigger and better and I couldn't be more thrilled."
Let's turn our attention to each player.
Bridgetown, Delaware - 6'2" - Forward
Anderson averaged 18 points a game for Woodbridge High School last season, and along the way earned First Team all-conference honors and Second Team all-state honors. She's also played field hockey, track, and soccer during her high school career, so she definitely has high quality athleticism.
Here's Kieger on Anderson:
"Altia gives us athleticism, length and versatility and she is an extremely hard worker whose best years are ahead of her," Kieger said. "She runs the floor hard, can attack inside and outside and is able to defend multiple positions. I look forward to helping her take her game to an elite level."
Plymouth, Minnesota - 6'4" - Center
Mandel is ranked as the 15th best center in the Class of 2016 by ESPN. Orono HS went 30-2 last season and finished third in the Minnesota state tournament with Mandel patrolling the middle of the court, and her AAU team has won the Minnesota state title two times. Mandel set a school record for double-doubles during her junior season, and recorded the second most triple-doubles in school history, too.
Kieger on Mandel:
"Meghan brings us a true low post presence with a ton of potential. She is a great shot blocker and is able to play an up tempo style," Kieger noted. "Her height is much needed and will allow us to play different schemes, both offensively and defensively."
Chicago, Illinois - 6'0" - Guard
An honors student at Whitney Young in Chicago, Spingola has also been a part of three straight Chicago City championship teams. She's rated as the 46th best guard in the recruiting class by ESPN and helped guide Whitney Young to a Class 4A state title in 2013.
Kieger on Spingola:
"Izzy comes to us from a very successful high school program," said Kieger. "She is a winner and a relentless competitor. Her shooting range will help stretch the floor, however it is her IQ and passing ability that really separates her. I am excited to add her winning mentality to our team."
Lauren Van Kleunen
Mason, Ohio - 6'2" - Guard
Van Kleunen has been a part of the varsity squad at Mason HS since arriving on campus, and has been an District 15 All-Conference honoree twice. At the end of the 2014-15 season, Van Kleunen was named the Ohio District 15 Underclassman of the Year and was included on the Greater Miami Conference First Team as well as earning high honors at MHS.
Kieger on Van Kleunen:
"Lauren is the complete package. She has a great skill set and is able to play inside or outside, while her work habits and court presence are what initially drew me to her," Kieger stated. "She will be an immediate contributor with great leadership qualities."
I have to admit I'm surprised to see Kieger add Spingola to the recruiting class just about a month ago. Here's why:
That's what the scholarship picture looks like for Marquette with this season on the left and next season on the right. With Chelsey Gibson sidelined for the year with an ACL tear, she'll still be a junior next season. That will leave Marquette with just one open scholarship to recruit on for 2017. Given the size of this year's freshman class, I would have expected Kieger to bank her 15th scholarship and use it to balance the classes out in 2017, and that was before Gibson got hurt.
It's also fascinating to see Marquette aiming at 15 scholarship players in 2016-17, as they haven't had 15 players on the roster since.... since as far back as I can tell through the archives on GoMarquette.com, and that takes us all the way back to when Carolyn Kieger was a junior playing for Terri Mitchell.