Well, the potential for Marquette women’s basketball in 2018-19 just keeps taking a beating, doesn’t it?
On Wednesday night, freshman forward Myriama Smith-Traore took to Twitter and announced that she will be leaving Marquette following the conclusion of the spring semester.
In her tweet, Smith-Traore says that she is “extremely thankful for all of the individuals who supported me through a difficult year.” While she leaves that somewhat vague, at least part of the difficulty can be attributed to her time on the court for Marquette. She played in just 11 games for MU as a freshman, averaging 1.7 points and 1.5 rebounds per game in 7.6 minutes per appearance. Smith-Traore also didn’t dress to play for most of Big East play, presumably due to injury. She was back in uniform by the time Marquette got to the NCAA tournament, but did not appear in either of MU’s two games, even though both contests were blowouts by the end.
Smith-Traore earned a reputation as a rebounder and shot blocker in her prep career at Whitewater, which easily led to the idea that the 6’2” forward could contribute to Marquette’s playing style at least a little bit right away. At worst, it seemed that she would be a major component in Marquette’s depth for the 2018-19 season when the Allazia Blockton-led core group would be in their senior year and primed to make a major postseason run.
Instead, that depth, which head coach Carolyn Kieger has shown that she doesn’t quite trust for the past two seasons, for the most part is now severely compromised. Things looked amazingly bright for Marquette’s future when Tori McCoy announced that she would be transferring to MU last May. Since then, McCoy has been diagnosed with a major kidney disorder that requires dialysis three times a week until she gets a transplant and calls into question what the former top 10 recruit might be able to contribute. In addition to that, Chloe Marotta, Marquette’s lone signed recruit for the fall and one of the best prep prospects in Wisconsin, tore her ACL in July. Sure, by the time practice kicks up in October, it will have been over 14 months since the injury, but it remains be seen how Marotta’s abilities will be affected by the injury and recovery. And now, Smith-Traore departs.
It’s not great.
With Smith-Traore no longer on the roster, Marquette projects to have two open scholarships in the fall. There’s been no noise about any high school recruits expected to sign any day now as the spring signing period is open, so it’s possible, perhaps likely that Kieger and the coaching staff will have their sights set on transfers that could make a major impact on the 2019-20 team. We may have to wait a while before we hear anything about that, as it took until mid-May for McCoy to land at Marquette last year.
Here’s what the scholarship situation looks like going forward without Smith-Traore.
(h/t @JSteppe1 for noticing the tweet first)