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2019-20 Marquette Women’s Basketball Preview: The Returning Players

The Golden Eagles have five players back from last season, but there’s questions to be asked about how much they can contribute this year.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 06 Big East Women’s Tournament - DePaul v Marquette
What will we get from Lauren Van Kleunen et. al. this season?
Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If you missed it, we’ve already talked about the freshmen on the 2019-20 Marquette women’s basketball roster. Here, we’re going to talk about the five players back from last year’s team. We’ll go in order of total minutes played in 2018-19, most to least, just to give us some organizational flow.

Ready? Let’s go!

Selena Lott

Junior - #24 - Guard - 5’11” - Troy, NY

After a perfectly respectable freshman campaign, Lott stepped up her game as a sophomore. She was playing a quality role off the bench for the first half of the season, and then when Allazia Blockton went down with an injury, Lott moved into the starting lineup. She ended up averaging 7.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.4 assists while knocking down a team best 44% of her long range attempts, which helped her rank #12 in the country in effective field goal percentage last year according to HerHoopStats.com. Even though she’s only a junior, she’s easily Marquette’s most experienced player in terms of high major minutes played at this point, and has earned a reputation as a high quality defender from the moment she stepped on campus. Look no further than her #143 ranking last year in steal rate for evidence of that.

That experience is going to play a major factor this season, as Lott is going to have to anchor a backcourt situation lacking in experience. Most of Marquette’s freshmen are guards, and with just five veteran players on the roster, they’re going to have contribute one way or another as the season goes along. Lott is going to have to be a steadying influence on the team and her backcourt running mates.

The good news is that she’s already a defensive stalwart. That’s going to take a lot of pressure off the freshmen, as Lott can draw the toughest assignment every night. The thing is, though, that might mean that her offensive numbers could take a dip. If she’s going to have to expend a lot of energy on defense, MU might be best served by letting the freshmen get comfortable on offense and let them carry that end of the floor. Still, if Lott can still knock down threes like she did last year, that’s an invaluable trait that the coaching staff has to use to their fullest advantage.

Lauren Van Kleunen

Redshirt Junior - #42 - Guard - 6’2” - Mason, OH

Van Kleunen’s collegiate career has been all over the place to this point. She ended up sitting out the 2016-17 season after she was discovered to have blood clots in her lungs, which was a potentially career threatening issue. Since then, though, she’s appeared in 68 games, averaging 15.5 minutes in both seasons. Her stat contributions have been somewhat limited: 4.6 career points per game, along with 3.6 rebounds. She’s been willing to shoot from long range, but it hasn’t been a reliable shot for her at just 24%.

While she’s listed on the roster as a guard, it appears that LVK will continue on in the post presence role that she played after Erika Davenport’s season ending injury a year ago. She’s one of just four players on the active roster listed as taller than six feet, and with all of the freshman guards on the team, then Van Kleunen is going to need to take advantage of her size as much as possible for Marquette. At least based on what we’ve seen from MU’s returning players so far, Van Kleunen appears to be the most mobile on the floor with the ball out of the group. That ability to move with the ball at her size (or at least relative size on the roster) has the potential to create favorable mismatches for the Golden Eagles. As is the case with Lott, Van Kleunen will have to end up being a shining light of experience for her younger or less experienced teammates this season.

Isabelle Spingola

Senior - #30 - Guard - 6’0” - Chicago, IL

Odds are that most of the contributions that we’re going to see from Spingola in her final year at Marquette will be similar to the ones we’ve seen already. It’s not a coincidence that 98 of her career 130 baskets have come from behind the three point line, as she’s a career 38% long range shooter that has never shot less than 37.5% in her three years.

I think Spingola is probably the closest thing that Marquette has to a reliable commodity on the roster. We don’t know what we’ll get from the freshmen, we don’t know if the other returning players will be able to step into new roles with the departure of last year’s superstar senior class, and we don’t know what kind of tactics that new head coach Megan Duffy will favor.

But we know that Spingola can hit threes. Sometimes, she can hit a whole hell of a lot of them, recording six games last season with at least four makes. The most notable one was she went 8-for-10 from long range against Binghamton, and that was come directly behind a 5-for-9 performance against Green Bay the previous game.

If Spingola can maintain her effectiveness from long range while ratcheting up her minutes — she had a career best 14.7 per game last year, and that will probably need to increase this year — and then also her attempts, then her firepower will create a stabilizing influence on the team. The question is whether she can do a little bit more, as she’s only averaging 1.2 rebounds per game through her 96 career appearances, and she’s never been asked to do anything in the distribution department.

Altia Anderson

Senior - #20 - Forward - 6’2” - Bridgeville, DE

The following are Altia Anderson’s career totals. Not averages, totals.

76 appearances, 420 minutes played, 31 field goals made, 122 rebounds, 13 assists, 23 blocks, 24 steals, 80 points.

I type all of this out to make a point, and it’s not “Altia Anderson is not good.” During the exhibition game against Winona State, I watched Anderson grab a rebound, realize she didn’t have an immediately open outlet pass, take off dribbling down the court, realize she was booming past everyone trying to play defense, and went straight to the rim with it.

This exact sequence was essentially impossible for Anderson over the past three seasons as she played a barely there back up role to the now departed superstar senior class. It was a combination of “well, why wouldn’t you play those five as much as possible,” along with a dash of “Anderson had a shoulder injury along the way there as well” and “that wasn’t her role in the slightest when she was on the court.”

The point of the story here is that I have no idea what to expect from Anderson in 2019-20, other that it’s very clear that Duffy has completely ripped the lid off of Anderson’s role on the court. Obviously, she’s going to play an interior role for Marquette to some extent merely because of her height relative to everyone else, but she might not be limited to that. If she can move in transition like that against D1 opponents (sorry, Winona State, but you get my point), then Anderson could cause some real problems.

There’s also a Very Small Sample Size Theater item here as well, as Anderson is a 33% three-point shooter in her career. She has made two of her six attempts, including one of her two a year ago. If that’s a remotely real thing that she can add to the scheme, it might be incredibly invaluable.

Chloe Marotta

Sophomore - #52 - Forward - 6’1” - Mequon, WI

Here’s what we know about Chloe Marotta’s freshman year for sure: it was her first live organized action since shredding her knee in July 2017. Between working her way back to full health and being the only freshman on the roster, she wasn’t asked to do a lot on a Big East title contender, and as a result, she didn’t do a whole lot.

It’s a relatively respectable freshman year stat line: 7.4 minutes per outing in 25 appearances, 50% shooting from the floor, 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. Cool, neat, sounds good. The underlying numbers are pretty good as well. Per Her Hoop Stats, Marotta had double digit rebounding rates on both ends of the floor. While her minutes didn’t qualify her for national rankings, she would have been #336 on the offensive end and #70 on the defensive end if she did.

That’s a good place to start from going into her sophomore year. As we’ve talked about a million times, Marquette has a big load of freshman guards. That means, to a certain extent, Marquette also has a lot of not tall freshmen. Rebounding may be at a premium for the Golden Eagles, and if Marotta can translate those freshman year rates into sophomore year national rankings, then that’s going to have a big impact on the team’s success.

It’s also imperative for Marquette’s future that Marotta come up big for MU this season. With Anderson and Spingola done after this year and Van Kleunen apparently already with her degree in hand, things have the potential to get verrrrrry interesting verrrrrrrry quickly in terms of size on the roster. While MU has two bigs already on board for next year’s recruiting class, depending on freshmen to step right in isn’t the best way to go about your life. Marquette will most likely need Marotta to have a high quality junior and senior season to be successful as a team, and that starts with a big jump in production in her sophomore campaign.