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Danyel Middleton Will Transfer

The Golden Eagles lose a bench option that showed plenty of potential this past season.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 23 Womens - Marquette at Butler Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The end of the season always means the start of transfer season, and this time around, it’s Marquette women’s basketball’s turn in the barrel. On Friday, sophomore guard Danyel Middleton announced that she will be entering the transfer portal and leaving MU.

The text, in case it’s not displaying properly for you:

Thank you.

First and foremost, I would like to thank the coaching staff at Marquette University for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime.

Also, I would like to thank Marquette and the basketball team for the love they have given me. I will forever be grateful for being a part of the program.

However things have to end for something new to start. With that being said, I will be entering the transfer portal.

Respectfully, Danyel Middleton

After a freshman season at Marquette where she essentially did not play at all, I thought Middleton had a productive sophomore campaign that showed signs of promise for what her remaining time with the Golden Eagles could be. She played in all of MU’s first 20 games, and while the minutes were kind of all over the place — 21 minutes on opening night against Alcorn State, less than six minutes combined against Colorado and Middle Tennessee, you get the idea — Middleton provided a different kind of energy and a change of pace playing style that the Golden Eagles weren’t getting from anyone else on the roster.

She missed a stretch of six games in early February due to what was called an illness at the time, and her playing time kind of never bounced back from there. It looked like she might be getting back into the swing of things with a 14 minute outing in the regular season finale against St. John’s, where she scored seven points and chipped in a rebound, an assist, a steal, and a block.... but that didn’t happen. She barely got on the floor against DePaul in the Big East tournament, essentially didn’t get in the game against UConn until that one was long since decided, and then closed out her year with 13 minutes against Ball State where she only connected on a free throw, but added two rebounds and an assist.

That was the end of Middleton’s season even though Marquette played two more games as she was clearly wearing a metal brace on one of her fingers against Purdue. That indicates that she suffered some kind of hand injury, which ultimately brought her MU career to an end.

I think it would have been interesting to see where Marquette’s season could have gone if not for Middleton’s missed time towards the end of the year, which is not to say that MU missed the NCAA tournament because she wasn’t available. If anything, I think Middleton could have been used if not better but at least more by Megan Duffy and her coaching staff in both of the last two seasons. Generally speaking, Marquette just did not have another guard with the size and physicality that Middleton brought to the court, nor the ability to attack the rim partly due to said size and physicality.

It is what it is, I guess. I suppose my opinion of “Middleton could be doing so much more” might be shared by her as well, and maybe that’s why she’s looking for new options now.

And now, the new scholarship chart.

In terms of purely moving parts on the roster, losing Middleton isn’t the worst thing in the world for Megan Duffy. She was going to be part of what is now a five woman junior class, and Middleton opting to leave does help the Golden Eagles mitigate the 2024-25 problem of trying to replace over a third of the potential available scholarships all at once. Now it’s merely five of the 15 available spots, which is easier to do, although it’s still not a picnic.

Middleton’s departure also gives Duffy three available scholarships for next fall instead of the two that were expected. Given how the roster rotations and minutes distributions went this past season, I could see the Golden Eagles both standing pat with the roster they have and also possibly adding players through the transfer portal. A lot of that might come down to the health of both Claire Kaifes and Nirel Lougbo with the former sitting out 2021-22 due to a knee injury and the latter playing in just six games for a total of 19 minutes due to a different type of knee injury.