Remember when we talked about Rose Nkumu’s commitment to Marquette women’s basketball and we mentioned that sometimes women’s basketball news slips through the cracks very easily and there’s nothing we can do about it?
That happened again, as on Friday, I discovered that new women’s basketball head coach Megan Duffy now has two commitments for the Class of 2020. In addition to Nkumu, the Golden Eagles now have a commitment from Liza Karlen out of Minnesota.
#BBWSUSA Prep ️— BBWSUSA (@BBallWallSt) June 14, 2019
Liza Karlen 6-foot-3 (F) 2020 Stillwater HS (MN) makes a verbal commitment to sign a NLI to attend Marquette University as a student-athlete as per
Club: @MnMetroStars @ponygb @MarquetteWBB @BIGEASTWBB @sara_scalia14 pic.twitter.com/x3sM0gB8pa
As you can see from the tweet, Karlen is a 6’3” forward out of Minnesota, where she attends Stillwater High School. That’s technically in Oak Park Heights, but it’s part of the Stillwater school district. Yes, this is very confusing, and when I say that Oak Park Heights/Stillwater counts as a suburb of Minneapolis/St. Paul if you squint a bit, that doesn’t make it less complicated.
Karlen recently transferred to Stillwater from St. Paul Central, and at least from a basketball perspective, that seems to have paid off immediately. Stillwater went 28-3 this past season according to Max Preps, including a 16-0 run in conference play. They advanced all the way to the state title game before getting cracked by nearly 30 points by Hopkins. Minnesota Basketball Hub shows Karlen averaging 12.3 points per game. She probably averaged a double-double as well, as in the 26 games that they have rebounding numbers for her, Karlen averaged 10.4 rebounds per game. In 27 games of stat gathering for assists and steals, she averaged 1.5 and 1.1 respectively.
This all belies a multi-faceted player, and that appears to be exactly what Karlen is, even at 6’3”. You can check out the video in the “recently transferred” link for some highlights of her at Stillwater, or check out her Hudl page that has clips from her SPCHS days. For a 6’3” forward, Karlen can go and do pretty much anything she wants to do on the court. She can score inside and out, shooting nearly 43% from long range last year for Stillwater on about two attempts per game. She can rebound, and perhaps more importantly for what Megan Duffy says she wants to do at Marquette, Karlen can take off and go on her own after hauling in a missed shot.
Having a player with that size and that range of skills would be particularly useful in Duffy’s expected high pace system. Not only would Karlen create mismatches in the half court because of her game, but her ability to move with the ball in transition could create advantages for the Golden Eagles on the break.
Here’s a video interview with Karlen where she talks about her recruiting process, including leaning towards Marquette back when Carolyn Kieger was still in charge and why she stayed with the Golden Eagles instead of following Kieger to Penn State. It also includes a few highlights.
Speaking of highlights, here’s nine minutes worth of them from Karlen’s year at Stillwater.
After re-securing the commitment of six of Marquette’s signed 2019 prospects, Duffy told Ben Steele over at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that she was looking to add to the 2019-20 roster over the spring and summer. If you want to do the math this way, Karlen and Rose Nkumu will occupy the spaces opened up by Altia Anderson and Isabelle Spingola after the coming season, leaving Duffy with three scholarship spots in 2019-20 that will still be open in 2020-21. We’ll see what happens with this going forward, but I would have to imagine that the window to add anyone to the roster is rapidly closing here in late June, if it’s not closed already.
Here’s what the Marquette scholarship situation looks like right now.