Last week, Marquette women’s basketball turned to the Twitter machine to let us all know what uniform the four freshman and one transfer will be wearing this fall. MU went in numerical order, which is useful in more ways than one, as it gives us some other news to talk about right out of the gate.
Nia Clark — #1
I believe this is the first time that the entire athletic department has acknowledged that Clark has transferred to Marquette from Xavier, even though it appeared to be done waaaaaay back in the middle of April, so there’s that.
That’s not the news I was talking about, though. If you were paying close attention, then you realized that Nirel Lougbo has been wearing #1 over the past three seasons. Lougbo played in 32 games with two starts as a freshman in the 2019-20 season, but missed all of the 2020-21 campaign with a knee injury..... that we didn’t actually know about until towards the start of the 2021-22 season. That same knee injury ended up limiting Lougbo to just 19 minutes across six games in the 2021-22 season, and now she’s actually done playing. It’s right there on Lougbo’s official MU biography page:
2022-23: (Jr.): Has been medically disqualified from playing, but will remain on the team.
So that explains that. Super exciting that I had to do detective work to figure it out, too.
Back to Clark and wearing #1.
She will be just the fourth player in Marquette history to wear #1. Angel Robinson set the bar pretty damn high for the banner of “best MU #1,” but Danielle King did an admirable job of trying to reach that. Lougbo was only the third, and now the number belongs to Clark.
Aizhanique Mayo — #2
The graphic identifies her as Nique, so we’ll start going in that direction as well. She’s picking up an even more less used number than Clark is, as only two Golden Eagles have ever worn #2. One is Hannah Grim, who was at MU for just the 2014-15 season, and the other is current Penn State head coach Carolyn Kieger. Holding the program’s all-time assists record and being one of just two players north of 600 career assists is a pretty strong case for “Best MU #2 ever,” so Mayo is going to have to just do her best to be the best #2 that she can be.
Charia Smith — #5
Here’s a fun question to ask: Is Charia Smith wearing #5 because it was Natisha Hiedeman’s number or not? It’s already been three years since Hiedeman was named Big East Player of the Year at the end of her senior campaign, so that happened when Smith was 15 years old. It’s probably not, what with Smith hailing from Ohio and all, but it’s at least worth wondering about.
Hiedeman is the clear answer to the question as to who is the best #5 in MU program history, because that’s the kind of thing that happens when you win one of the team’s only two POY trophies ever, no matter what conference. You could have a solid debate about whether it was Bridget Inman (currently #9 all time in blocks) or Erin Monfre (currently T-6 in games played, held the single game record for threes until this past season) before her, though.
Kenzie Hare — #12
Much like Nique Mayo, we’ll be going with Kenzie since that’s what’s in the graphic. Heck, I didn’t realize that Hare’s first name was actually Mackenzie until I saw her name on the roster as she had always been written up elsewheres as Kenzie.
I think there’s a clear favorite for the best #12 that Marquette has ever seen, and that’s Erika Davenport. #14 in scoring, #4 in rebounding, #1 all time in field goal percentage, and the advantage of being part of three straight conference title teams. There are a lot of contenders to round out a top five, too. Jessica Pachko earned Big East All-Freshman honors in 2009 and led the team in rebounding the next year, while Becky Kinzer led the 1983-84 team in points, assists, and steals. Rachel Klug and Kiesha Oliver both land in the conversation for the top five for MU players to ever wear #12, but they didn’t wear it for their whole careers and MU’s record book doesn’t make it clear as to what they accomplished wearing what numbers.
Emily La Chapell — #21
If your instant reaction is “well, La Chapell is going to have to go a long way to beat out Katherine Plouffe as the best #21 in program history,” you are wrong.
It’s not that Plouffe wasn’t great, because she was. It’s because #21 is hanging up on the wall at the McGuire Center for Kathy Andrykowski. Her jersey was retired during the 2004-05 season, so La Chapell picking it up nearly a decade after Plouffe wore it isn’t a problem. This is clearly a “we’re honoring a jersey, not retiring a number” situation.
In any case, Andrykowski is still, even now, over 40 years later, #19 all time in scoring and #6 in rebounding. She was the first player in program history to average more than 14 points per game for her career, and her mark of 19.0 per contest stood for 14 years until Kristen Maskala just barely got past her at 19.6/game. She is the program’s single season rebounding record holder and the top three rebounding averages for a season belong to Andrykowski as well.
Katherine Plouffe (#12 in scoring, #5 in rebounding, #10 in free throws made, #8 in blocks) isn’t the only other great #21 in program history. Heidi Ach (#18 in scoring, #4 in blocks) has her name all over the Marquette record book, including as the first MU player to ever earn First Team All-Conference honors back in 1990, and at least some of Rachel Klug’s accomplishments alluded to earlier (#3 in FG%, #10 in blocks) happened while she was wearing #21. We should probably mention Svetlana Kovalenko as well, after she led the team in rebounding and blocks in 2008 and finished her career with what was at the time the MU record for games played.