We’re getting closer to actual basketball to talk about!
Until then, though, we’ll have to just keep on chugging with season previews. Have you seen our rundown of the returning players on Megan Duffy’s Marquette women’s basketball roster? If not, you should probably do that pronto, it’ll make this article make much more sense.
Here we’re talking about the new faces on the roster for the 2023-24 season. There are six new women at Marquette this fall: Four transfers and two freshmen. We’ll go through the transfers in order of how much eligibility they have remaining before wrapping up with the freshmen. After all, they have the most eligibility left to go, right??
Graduate Student - #20 - Guard/Forward - 6’1” - Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota
Hottinger comes to Marquette after four years at Lehigh. After playing a bit part as a freshman in 2019-20, Hottinger started in 60 of 65 appearances over the past three seasons, averaging at least 20.9 minutes per game in each campaign. As a senior for the Mountain Hawks, the Minnesotan averaged 20.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. That was enough to get her Patriot League Player of the Year honors last March.
Given how Megan Duffy coaches and the loss of Chloe Marotta from the lineup, Hottinger’s ability to rebound may be the thing that’s most important for Marquette in her one year in Milwaukee. Hottinger finished last season ranked #349 in the country in offensive rebounding rate according to Her Hoop Stats and #269 on the defensive end.
In terms of scoring the ball, Hottinger has been comfortable as a high usage player in the past, ranking #91 and #32 in the country in usage rate as a junior and senior respectively. With Jordan King merely existing, I highly doubt Duffy and her staff are intending on using Hottinger in that manner. With that in mind, I am curious as to whether being more selective about her shot selection will lead to better shooting. Nowhere is this more obvious than behind the three-point line, where Hottinger has averaged at least 4.9 attempts per game in each of the last three seasons. However, she peaked on her conversion rate as a sophomore at 34.5%, and that number has just fallen from there, landing at just 26.8% last season. If she’s not the focal point, maybe that means more open looks and more makes. If she can hit the three reliably, that will be a big component that Marquette can take advantage of this season.
Junior - #4 - Forward - 5’11” - Avoca Beach, Australia
I don’t know how much we’re going to see Cracknell on the floor for Marquette this season. She was only announced as joining the roster for this fall in early August, and generally speaking, that’s a bad sign for “she was always part of our plans for the upcoming season” type of things. With that said, Cracknell has already played two years of junior college hoops at Gulf Coast State College, so her Division 1 experience is only going to be two more seasons. I don’t think she would have signed on to go somewhere that wouldn’t get her on the court.... but again, that August thing keeps rearing its head.
She averaged 11.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.6 steals for the Commodores last season while starting all 30 games. That’s all well and good, but Cracknell also averaged more than five long range attempts per game last year.... but only hit 31.6%. That’s not good, but that made her the second most accurate shooter on the team. Much like with Hottinger, if we tuck Cracknell into a lineup that has more options around her, does that lead to better shooting? If she can hit more than 33%, that will help earn her playing time.
Junior - #1 - Guard - 5’11” - Purcellville, Virginia
The good news on adding Lee Volker to the roster is that she has 39 games worth of experience playing on a team at a high level since she spent the past two campaigns at Duke. Right out of the gate, Volker was getting quality minutes for the Blue Devils, averaging 15.1 minutes as a freshman and then 14.6 as a sophomore.
We’re not going to call this bad news, but we do have to note that Volker hasn’t played more than a full minute of basketball since December 11th, 2022. She left the Blue Devils program after appearing for just 39 seconds on December 21st, and so when Marquette tips off on November 6th, it’s coming up on 11 months since she participated in an organized Division 1 game. I don’t know the details of why or how Volker chose to leave Duke, but we do know for sure that she was a role player during her time in Durham, averaging 2.9 points and 2.5 rebounds. With Jordan King and Rose Nkumu expected to play a big role in the Marquette backcourt in 2023-24, MU isn’t going to need Volker to do more than she’s done in the past, but I also don’t know if she’s going to get a chance to spread her wings if that’s what she’s looking to do.
Sophomore - #2 - Guard - 5’7” - Canton, Georgia
As a long term prospect for the Marquette program, I can see where Utberg fits in for the Golden Eagles. She averaged 12.5 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game for Central Michigan last season, and she did that as a freshman in Mount Pleasant. She’s not going to need to step in and repeat that for MU this fall, but as a junior and a senior, once she’s gotten her feet wet in the Big East? That’s an intriguing proposition.
It keeps coming up so we have to keep mentioning it: Utberg was a decent three-point shooter last season, firing off more than six attempts per game and making nearly 35% of them. Long range shooting was a huge problem for Marquette last season, and there’s a variation of this coming MU season where Utberg’s ability to knock down an open jumper pays off in a big way. Same as with Hottinger, perhaps not needing to rely on Utberg — she was #2 in attempts and #2 in scoring on a CMU team that went 6-23 — will give her a little better shot selection and a higher success rate.
Freshman - #11 - Forward - 6’1” - Markham, Ontario, Canada
Forbes comes to Marquette after a final year of prep hoops in Canada where she averaged 17.5 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, two blocks, and two steals per game. She also got a chance to play with Canada’s U18 team at the Americas Championship in 2022 where she averaged 5.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, and an assist per game. It’s worth noting that after being a quality part of that Canadian team, she did not make the U19 World Cup roster for this past summer in Spain. That’s probably a bigger comment about the depth of talent with Canadian heritage than anything else.
With Chloe Marotta gone from the lineup, there’s minutes to be taken up for Marquette. Forbes seems to be the kind of player who could fit into at least the dirty work aspect of Marotta’s game, particularly if Liza Karlen and Frannie Hottinger take up the two primary front court roles for the Golden Eagles. Marquette did not really have a lot of depth at the forward positions last season, at least not in terms of people who got regular rotation minutes. If Forbes can be relied upon to take up 10 or 15 minutes a game, give Karlen and Hottinger a chance to catch their breath and grab a drink of water, and MU doesn’t experience much of a drop off going from starter to reserve? That’s a good place to spend a freshman year.
Freshman - #22 - Forward - 6’1” - Bettendorf, Iowa
Do you like players who win a state title in their final game of their high school career? Do you like two-time All-State Tournament performers? Do you like it when Marquette recruits women who broke their high school’s career, single season, and single game scoring records?
Well, then you like Halle Vice.
Is Marquette going to need her to step in and drop 40 like she did to set Pleasant Valley’s single game record? No, absolutely not. Is there space in MU’s rotation for someone with that kind of ability this season? Maybe, yeah. Marquette returns just five players who played rotation minutes last season, and you have to go at least seven, maybe eight deep to just get through a season. If Vice can get buckets, then there’s space for her on the floor as the Golden Eagles look to improve on finishing 2022-23 as Her Hoop Stats’ #81 offense.