On Wednesday, we posted an update regarding the verbal commitment of 2016 forward Lauren Van Kleunen to play for Marquette and head coach Carolyn Kieger.
In the comments section on that post, we got someone to sign up the username "Marquetteeagle" on that day just to post a comment to tell us about two more verbal commitments.
Awesome news! She is actually the third commit of the 2016 class! Meghan Mandel from Minnesota was actually the first, committing a few months ago and Altia Anderson from Delaware was the second committing a few weeks ago! Again great news but just wanted to clarify!
Well, alrighty then. Let's fire up the Google Machine and see what we can see.
We can confirm the commitment of Meghan Mandel via a second source:
Mandel verbals: Orono/MN Stars Martin's Megan Mandel commits to Marquette. The 6'3" P 2016 helped lead Orono to State. @meghan_mandel— Gary Knox (@gPrep) April 19, 2015
Mandel averaged 11.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 3.2 blocks per game in 2014-15 as her Orono team went 30-2 overall and 10-0 in conference play. That left her ranked #3 on her team in scoring and the team leader in rebounds. She accomplished all of this after missing the early part of the season with influenza that caused her to lose 25 pounds along the way. Orono reached the Minnesota Class AAA semifinal game before getting knocked out of the tournament.
Altia Anderson is a different story. I can't find anything that even indicates any kind of college recruiting for her, but I can confirm that she does exist and attends Woodbridge High School in Greenwood, Delaware. I can't track down any information about her play over the course of this season or anything where a local reporter of some kind mentioned the commitment. Obviously, given Marquetteeagles' accurate insight on Mandel, I'm inclined to believe this. If anyone has anything where they can confirm any of this, drop it in the comments section, email us - email@example.com - or hit us up on Twitter, which is @AnonymousEagle, of course.
The previous paragraph was written on Thursday, May 14, and scheduled to post on Friday, May 15. In the meantime, Bret McCormick of All-Star Girls Report tweeted this to confirm the commitment of Anderson:
HC Carolyn Kieger Marquette receives 2016 verbal from Altia Anderson 6-3 F Woodbridge HS DE. Plays AAU for MESB Wolfpack.— Bret McCormick (@ASGR1995) May 14, 2015
With Mandel and Anderson in the fold, that would move Marquette's expected roster to 14 for the 2016-17 season, one short of the NCAA limit. It's been several years since MU had even 13 players on the roster, so this would seem to indicate one of three things. Either Kieger is more willing to have a larger roster than Terri Mitchell was, or Kieger is more willing to hit the recruiting trail to track down the players she wants, or Marquette has rededicated themselves to funding the women's basketball team. It's no secret that the Blue & Gold Fund is still short of being able to fully fund every single scholarship that the NCAA allows Marquette to offer, so the money had to be narrowed down from somewhere. Given Mitchell's lack of maxing out her roster, I always figured that women's hoops was one of the places that MU was saving a buck or two.
Given the influx of eight players in the freshman class of 2015, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Kieger and her staff will essentially shut down recruiting for 2016 with three players already committed in order to pocket the scholarship for 2017 to balance classes out a little bit more. Of course, none of these three players can even sign a national letter of intent for another six months, so we'll have to keep our eyes and ears open.