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Marquette Women’s Basketball Announces Class of 2019 Signings

Does this count as double-dipping? MAYBE, but there’s actual news in MU’s press release on the recruits.

Carolyn Kieger

The fall signing period for the Class of 2019 started back on November 14th, and by 8pm Central time that night, Marquette women’s basketball had finished up announcing all EIGHT of their signees.

This is the kind of thing that happens when you have two open scholarship spots and six departing seniors.

In any case, the athletic department was kind enough to put out a press release with a little bit of a bio on all eight young women and a quote from head coach Carolyn Kieger. In one particular instance, we actually got some news out of the whole deal, and said news is going to end up with us updating the scholarship chart to reflect it. Fun, huh?

Let’s dive in to what we learned from the press release, shall we?

Sharna Ayres

Conveniently, we start with the player that brings us the actual news here. Presumably somewhat related to Ayres hailing from Melbourne in Australia, she will be joining the team in time to be enrolled for the Spring 2019 semester. Officially, she’ll be a redshirt freshman by the time next fall rolls around.

I’m not going to drop in both sections for every player, but I do want to do that for Ayres, as I never put together an article on her commitment partially because I just couldn’t find enough information about her online to do more than say “yep, she’s committed.”

Here’s the bio:

Ayres is from Melbourne, Australia and was a member if the U18 Victorian Metro State Team and invited to the Australian Developmental Camp. She joined the U19 Australian Team Camp and is a two-time All-Australian State School Team selection playing for Box Hill High School. A 5’11 guard, in 2017 Ayres was named the State School Victoria Female Basketballer of the Year and played for the Diamond Valley Eagles state championship team.

And here’s the quotes from Kieger:

“Sharna is a natural scorer with unlimited range. She can score in a variety of ways and isn’t shy to let it fly from deep,” noted Kieger. “She has good size at the guard spot and has a confidence on offense that we will need immediately. She has a great feel for the game and makes her teammates better with her vision and ability to stretch the floor.”

Claire Kaifes

I’m a little confused about the MU press release for Kaifes. It says she’s ranked #177 by Blue Star, but this “commitments by school” search tool on their website says that she’s #300.

Here’s Kieger’s quotes:

“Claire is the most vocal guard I have ever seen at her age,” Kieger said. “She is an extension of the coach on the floor and has a very high basketball IQ. Her passion for the game is refreshing to watch and makes everyone around her better. She has great size for a guard and has a knack for rebounding the ball. She has deep range and vision to create for her teammates and it will be a joy to watch her grow over the next four years.”

Jordan King

Yet again, a difference in the press release and Blue Star’s website, although this time, the release says #111 and the search tool says #113. While her all-state recognitions are an impressive achievement, she’s also tough as nails, as evidenced by plowing through an overly physical defense in her prep team’s season opener.

Here’s Kieger:

“Jordan will be college ready when she steps foot on campus. She has a very high basketball IQ with a second to none work ethic,” Kieger said. “She is a triple threat as she can shoot, drive, and set her teammates up. She is also a relentless rebounder from the perimeter. Her best basketball is ahead of her and I know she will come in and make an immediate impact. We believe she is one of the most underrated players in this class and we look forward to her proving that over the next four years.”

Nirel Lougbo

Lougbo is one of Marquette’s newest commitments, and while I got a positive impression from her while reading news stories about her, I didn’t quite get a full picture. She’s ranked #128 in the country by Girls’ Basketball Report and #149 by Blue Star, and yes, this time the ranking matches the release. I knew she was athletic as hell and played behind a few top end Division 1 prospects whilst at Tabor Academy, but I missed the memo on the possibility of her being a top 150 prospect.

Here’s Kieger:

“Nirel is a match up nightmare,” Kieger commented. “She is an athletic guard that can play multiple positions and has great size. Her defensive presence will be felt the moment she sets foot on the court. She has the ability to beat you off the dribble or stop and pop from midrange. Her style of play will fit perfectly in our system and I know she will have an amazing career here. We look forward to her expanding her game here at Marquette.”

Destiny Strother

Strother was the first in the class to make her commitment to the Golden Eagles, locking up her spot over a year ago at this point. She’s been an all-conference and all-state performer from the moment she put on a Carman-Ainsworth High School uniform. Even with that in mind, she doesn’t seem to have all that much national attention, earning only a ranking of #207 according to Blue Star.

Let’s get Kieger’s perspective:

“Destiny is a knock down lefty shooter,” said Kieger. “Having her on the court will make everyone better as defenses will have to respect her range. She is a strong competitor who loves to work! It will be a natural transition for Destiny to play in our up-tempo system. Destiny is a great culture player who understands the tradition of Marquette and she is excited to help build the future. She is a great teammate and will help enhance chemistry among a big class.

Camryn Taylor

Well, we’re all Richwoods High School fans this season, as Taylor will be trying to lead her team to back-to-back Class 3A state championships. Girls Basketball Report rankings her #42 in the country, although Prospects Nation has her at #150 and Blue Star has her at #159. Kind of all over the place, but you can’t really go wrong with adding top 160 prospects.

From a few clips that I’ve seen of her, Taylor seems like an infectious enthusiasm type of person and player, and it seems that Kieger agrees:

“Camryn is a relentless competitor and her energy and passion is contagious,” said Kieger. “She will bring a strong physical presence on the inside but has the athleticism to stretch the floor and play on the perimeter. She rebounds extremely well and has potential to alter shots on the inside. Her game is tailor made for our system and we can’t wait to see how she develops over the next four years.”

Taylor Valladay

I always say that if you can get an Illinois High School state champion in the 4x200 meter relay on your basketball team when you’re a high tempo program, you should do it. What? You’ve never heard me say that before? Well, fine, but it applies to Valladay, who attends Rich South High School in Chicago.

It seems like Kieger is high on Valladay’s intangibles:

“Taylor is a natural born leader who is always striving to make her teammates better,” Kieger stated. ”She is a quick lead guard who pushes tempo, defends the ball 90 feet, and sets the tone for her team. She will never settle for anything less than 100 percent and we know she will continue to propel our team into the future.”

Shemera Williams

Boy, this alphabetical order thing really works out in terms of saving the best for last.

You can say whatever you want to say about who’s a good prospect and who can change a program and so on and so forth. When there’s a player who’s capable of scoring FORTY POINTS A GAME in high school literally down the street from campus, you get the job done, and that’s exactly when Carolyn Kieger and her staff did with Williams. The Milwaukee star has a top 70 ranking from every conceivable system, including #27 from ASGR, #41 from Blue Star, and #54 from ESPN. The 5’8” guard affects the game in multiple dimensions and should be a major piece of the puzzle for Kieger when it comes to figuring out how to replace her six woman senior class.

Here’s what she has to say about Williams:

“When the leading scorer in the nation is in your back yard, it is a blessing to keep her home,” said Kieger. “We are ecstatic that she has chosen to stay home and represent her family and the Milwaukee community. Shemera is a very gifted athlete who can score from anywhere on the floor; however, the most underrated part of her game is her play making ability. She has great court vision and we are excited to see how her game flourishes at the college level. She has unlimited potential and we are thrilled the Milwaukee fans will get to see her play for another four years, this time in blue and GOLD.”

With Ayres joining the team for spring semester, this is what the scholarship situation for Marquette looks like right now.

As you can see, Marquette’s already unbalanced class distribution will somehow actually get worse next year. With eight freshmen coming in, it wouldn’t be entirely surprising to see at least one of them end up redshirting. However, with three more scholarships coming open the following year, it’s not like that would end up being all that beneficial in terms of balancing things out. There’s also the issue of figuring out who occupies the roles on the roster currently played by this year’s seniors. It’s possible that the best solution to that is to just let fly with the full roster and play even faster than before but with more substitutions. Part of the mystery of figuring all of this out is Tori McCoy. She told the Marquette Wire that she is “determined” to 1) get a kidney transplant and 2) play this season, which seems totally bananas. It’s not as crazy to think that she could be ready to go by November 2019, but until she gets the aforementioned transplant, everything regarding her on-court future is completely up in the air.