We have our second Marquette women’s basketball outgoing transfer of the offseason to discuss. On Tuesday night, sophomore guard Taylor Valladay announced that she will be entering the transfer portal via her Instagram.
Her statement reads as follows:
First I’d like to thank God and Marquette University for giving me a great learning experience. I also would like to thank the coaches and teammates that helped me over the last 2 years. With that being said I have decided to put my name into the transfer portal. Can’t wait to see what the future has for me! Nothing but love!
After a freshman season where she appeared in 20 of Marquette’s 32 games and averaged just 4.4 minutes per game, Valladay made a big impact on MU’s performance in her sophomore season. She was usually the first person off the bench for head coach Megan Duffy, getting 19.8 minutes of burn per outing while appearing in all 26 games for the Golden Eagles. She averaged 5.2 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game while operating as either a backup to Jordan King and Selena Lott or as a third guard on the floor with them. She was never asked to do a lot, but on the flip side, when you’re being asked to play nearly half the game as a primary ball handler, you are being asked to do quite a bit.
It’s reasonable to ask how much of Valladay’s playing time as a sophomore had to do with Nirel Lougbo sitting out the 2020-21 campaign. It’s still unclear exactly why Lougbo sat out, but we do know that she played in all 32 games and averaged 14 minutes per game as a freshman. Remove her from the equation and there’s all of a sudden a lot of minutes that need to be filled by someone, and Valladay was that someone. If we presume that Lougbo is returning to the floor next season, then it’s also reasonable to wonder how that impacts Valladay’s playing time going forward for the Golden Eagles.
Then again, if I were picking between Lougbo’s freshman season and Valladay’s sophomore season, I’d take the latter over the former. Then again again, that’s not necessarily how things work, both for Megan Duffy and her staff as well as for Valladay herself.
It’s possible that what we’re seeing right now with Valladay electing to transfer as well as the previous announcement of the same from Camryn Taylor is actually an aftershock of the COVID pandemic ending the 2019-20 season early. After all, both Valladay and Taylor were recruited and signed to play at Marquette by Carolyn Kieger before she left for Penn State. When she departed, Duffy retained most of Kieger’s recruiting class. If you told me that these two transfers are happening now because the two women actually wanted to leave a year ago but didn’t feel comfortable going through the transfer process when they didn’t know what was going on at the start of the pandemic, I’d believe you. That’s without even getting into the issue of Kieger assistants Vernette Skeete and Scott Merritt sticking around for one year of Duffy before leaving for Illinois.
Anyway, enough spitballing and random guessing about what’s happening here. Let’s head to the scholarship table to see where this leaves Marquette going forward.
In the immediate sense, it leaves Marquette with two possible scholarship spots open for the 2021-22 season. However, that’s presuming that Megan Duffy takes advantage of the NCAA’s leeway for Lauren Van Kleunen returning for her COVID bonus season. If MU is counting LVK as one of the 15 scholarships that they have budgeted for next season, then there’s just one spot available.
Since it’s been a minute since there was an announcement of another transfer coming in, I wouldn’t expect one. On the other side, Marquette hasn’t officially announced the additions of Karissa McLaughlin or Kennedi Myles yet, which sounds an awful lot like “we’re expecting to make an announcement with more than just those two names” to me. Who knows??
The most likely outcome is the two scholarship spots roll themselves over to the 2022-23 season. That would give Duffy and her staff three available spots along side 2022 commitment Emily La Chapell. MU still projects to have 12 women on the roster even without adding anyone for that signing class, so it’s not exactly a crucial situation to fill all three spots unless the coaches think that the player in question is a perfect fit for the roster and the system that they want to run.
Could mean a lot of news between now and the fall signing period, could mean only a little.
At least it won’t be dull!