Who’s ready for Year Three of The Megan Duffy Experience?
The first two years of Duffy in charge of Marquette women’s basketball have gone pretty well. MU overachieved their ninth place predicted finish in Year One and would have made the NCAA tournament if not for the pandemic. Year Two saw the Golden Eagles once again overachieve their preseason positioning, just much mildly as MU finished second to Connecticut in the Big East instead of the projected third place spot.
This year probably finishes second to Year One in terms of questions for Duffy and her crew. First of all, Selena Lott is gone, as she rightfully opted for a pro career after her fourth year of college hoops. Solving the riddle of how to replace everything that Lott gave the team — scoring, distributing, shooting, defense — will go a long way towards figuring out what this season looks like when March rolls around. Lott isn’t the only starter that Marquette has lost from last season, though. Camryn Taylor started all 26 games as a sophomore last season, but she elected to transfer to Virginia in between school years. Taylor is actually joined out on the east coast by fellow former Golden Eagle Taylor Valladay, who played the “first guard off the bench” role for Marquette last season.
In short, there’s a lot of roles that need to be filled this season.
Marquette adds two transfers for this season that will go a long way towards filling in some of the space left empty. Karissa McLaughlin is on her bonus year of eligibility after breaking Purdue’s career record for three-pointers made, while Kennedi Myles was inching towards being a double-double threat every night while starting every game she played for Illinois the past two years.
How is it all going to fit together for Duffy, who is also working with two new assistant coaches this season? Well, we’re not really going to be able to tell for sure until after Tuesday night, so let’s reconvene tomorrow for a recap to see what we saw?
A NOTE ON WATCHING THIS GAME FOR YOU: The Big East has signed a deal with FloSports for carriage of the Big East Digital Network for at least the 2021-22 season. As such, most if not actually all Marquette contests are moving from the historically expected free streaming on GoMarquette.com to the paid streaming service. HOWEVER, you do NOT need to pay the full $30 a month or $150 for a full year. Marquette’s announcement of the deal with FloSports says to Follow This Link for a discounted price of $12.50 a month or $95.88 ($7.99 a month) for a whole year. FloSports is carrying Marquette soccer, volleyball, and lacrosse in addition to women’s basketball just like last season. Is it ideal, particularly since MU streamed tons of things for free for years and years? No, but after last year’s women’s basketball deal for Big East games, you can’t be surprised about the expansion this year.
Game #1: vs Alcorn State Braves (0-0)
Marquette is 1-0 all time against Alcorn State. The lone meeting came in Milwaukee back in November of 2010, and the Golden Eagles got the 93-54 victory.
The Braves went 7-13 last season, which means they went 0-4 in non-conference games and 7-9 in SWAC contests, including their loss as the #6 seed to #3 seed Southern in the conference tournament. Alcorn State was a middle of the pack team in terms of pace a year ago according to HerHoopStats.com, but they still only had one player averaging more than nine points a game. That was Kirdis Clark at 13.8 a night, but she’s gone now. However, head coach Nate Kilbert returns every other woman who averaged at least four points a game for him. That’s pretty good. Mixed in there is the top three rebounders on the squad, including 6’0” forward Deja Mitchell who went for 6.4 per night. Cayla Obillo is the leading returning scorer at 8.7 points per game, but she also led the team with 2.5 assists per contest last year.
Alcorn State didn’t play any exhibition games, so we’re running kind of short on preseason information on the Braves. We can note that they were picked to finish seventh in the 12 team SWAC this year, and Jackson State is the runaway favorite in the league. None of the Braves earned preseason all-conference honors, but that’s not terribly surprising given the overall record last year and the stats on the women who are returning this year.