Last week, in the wake of Shemera Williams announcing that she was headed to Virginia after receiving her release from Marquette, Ben Steele of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel got a chance to catch up with new women’s basketball head coach Megan Duffy. The chat’s purpose was two-fold: confirm that the remaining six signees under Carolyn Kieger — Claire Kaifes, Jordan King, Nirel Lougbo, Destiny Strother, Camryn Taylor, and Taylor Valladay — were all still on board with their plans to attend Marquette and then get Duffy’s first impressions of her inherited incoming class.
Run yourself over to the MJS website and read Duffy’s comments if you haven’t already. Obviously, as you’d expect a new head coach to be, Duffy is very positive minded about what she has in her six freshmen. With the departures via graduation that Marquette is experiencing, at least some of those freshmen are going to be asked to fill an important role for the Golden Eagles immediately upon starting their collegiate career.
And speaking of departures via graduation.....
We have one more of those departures to discuss. Marquette rebooted the roster page to the 2019-20 season version shortly after Duffy was hired. That’s not surprising. It would be inaccurate to drop Duffy’s bio onto the roster page for 2018-19, and you want to have the new coach’s bio linked on the site, so that’s how you solve those two issues. However, since the page was updated, there’s been some changes. We already mentioned Sharna Ayres moving on to LSU at some point here, but we can also add Amanda Maqueia to the departures list. Thanks to some detective work by loyal and dedicated reader Marquettefan, we can see that Maqueia is no longer listed on the MU roster page, and there’s also this picture from the WBB Twitter over commencement weekend:
That’s Maqueia over there on the far right.
Maqueia was only at Marquette for the 2018-19 season after finishing up her associates degree at New Mexico Junior College. She appeared in just 11 of 35 games for the Golden Eagles, and averaged just 3.5 minutes per appearance. If Maqueia has wrapped up her Marquette degree in just one year (or one year plus an extra summer session, perhaps), then good for her. If she’s opting to move on from college immediately because she has her degree, she doesn’t want to work on a master’s degree, and she doesn’t know how she’ll fit in under Duffy after not playing much under Kieger, well, more power to her, and we wish her the best in whatever comes next for her.
For the record: Yes, Allazia Blockton, Natisha Hiedeman, and Amani Wilborn are all missing from the picture in terms of graduates. I can’t tell you about Wilborn, but Blockton and Hiedeman were still out of town with their WNBA training camp responsibilities. Blockton wasn’t released until the day the picture was published on Twitter, and Hiedeman wasn’t released until three days later. Also, yes, that’s Lauren Van Kleunen over there on the left, but she is still listed as a redshirt junior on the roster page.
Maqueia’s departure from the roster isn’t the only change to note. The six freshmen are now all listed with the most basic of info: Names, heights, positions, and numbers. Let’s run through those quickly, shall we?
Claire Kaifes: 5’11”, guard, #10
Jordan King: 5’11”, guard, #23
Nirel Lougbo: 5’10”, guard, #1
Destiny Strother: 5’9”, guard, #13
Camryn Taylor: 6’2”, forward, #15
Taylor Valladay: 5’7”, guard, #5
We should address one more thing from the MJS article, as long as we’re talking about roster items. Duffy told Ben Steele that she was hoping to add to the roster by the end of the summer, but that’s all that’s in the article. It’s unclear as to where said additions would come from, but we’re already kind of late in the cycle for transfers as well as freshmen. In any case, it’s a hope, not an expectation, so we’ll see what happens.
There’s also the part where Steele says, two days after the cap & gown picture on Twitter, that Marquette has two scholarships available for the fall. Except..... without Maqueia, that means MU actually has three.
Now I can’t help but wonder if Maqueia’s departure from the roster is just a technical error. I’m leaning towards “official” myself, especially as everyone else made it through the update and none of the freshmen are wearing her #21, but I suppose weirder things have happened.
Marquette will have somewhere between two and five scholarships open for the 2020-21 season. Duffy and her assistants are out on the recruiting trails this summer to figure out who’s going to fill those spots, and perhaps we’ll get some commitments along the way to help figure all of this out.