With the number of available scholarship spots on the Marquette women’s basketball roster, it felt like head coach Megan Duffy might not be done adding transfers after Frannie Hottinger made her commitment to the Golden Eagles earlier this week. That turned out to be correct, as Duke guard Lee Volker announced on Wednesday that she would be transferring to Marquette for the 2023-24 season.
Volker, listed by Duke as a 5’11” guard, hails from Purcellville, Virginia, although she was born in Michigan. She appeared in 27 games as a freshman in 2021-22 for Duke, starting once, and that was in the ACC tournament. Volker averaged 15 minutes a game on that squad that went 17-13, chipping in 2.3 points, 1.5 rebounds, and just under an assist per game. This past season, Volker appeared in 12 games, which included starting in the Blue Devils’ first six outings, averaging 4.3 points and 3.0 rebounds per contest in just under 15 minutes a night. She only appeared in 12 games as she took a leave of absence from the team for personal reasons starting in early January, which happened to coincide with Volker not playing at all for head coach Kara Lawson for three games and then disappearing from the official team roster.
I obviously don’t know what did or did not happen in Durham, but this is a quote about Volker from Lawson following a Duke win in November 2022:
“Lee is someone that I can count on every day; she’s like the sun—like, she’s gonna come up and she’s gonna set, and I know what I’m gonna get from her every single day,” Lawson said at the time. “I’ll say this a lot: I’m interested in players that impact winning. Lee impacts winning. … I think she’s just getting better. But she’s definitely a key part of our team.”
That certainly doesn’t sound like a situation where “personal reasons” is just code for “player/coach friction” five weeks later, but again: I don’t know and I wasn’t there, and only Volker and Lawson can tell you the truth.
Volker struggled to shoot the ball as a freshman, connecting on just 39% of her two-point attempts and just 10% of her 30 three-point attempts for the entire season. In the 12 games that she played as a sophomore for the Blue Devils, she fixed both items. Volker connected on over 53% of her two-pointers and just did not shoot any three-pointers at all to correct that 3-for-30 issue from the previous campaign. The year over year improvement inside the arc is great to see, the decision to just not shoot threes at all is not ideal, not for a player joining a Marquette team that at times was straight up allergic to shooting the long range shot at all this past season. We’ll have to wait to see what the MU offense looks like next year with Chloe Marotta no longer contributing, of course, but it is somewhat disappointing to see Duffy add a player who isn’t a tried and true sniper.
As you can tell from her per game averages, Volker didn’t do notable damage on the glass, but her rates on both ends were pretty good. According to Her Hoop Stats, she posted a 10.5% defensive rebounding rate as a freshman, then as a sophomore, she recorded a 10.0% rate on the offensive glass and a 12.6% rate on the defensive end. Not world breaking numbers, but that offensive number was better than what Chloe Marotta put up in 2022-23, and Marotta finished in the top 500 in the country. On the defensive end, she was a little bit better than what we just saw from Emily La Chapell this past season, and if Volker is going to play a backcourt/wing position like La Chapell, then that’s completely fine.
And now, the scholarship chart, which has not one, but two changes!
Obviously change #1 is the addition of Volker as the lone junior on the 2023-24 roster. The other change is the removal of Kennedi Myles. She has elected to make the grad transfer move to Eastern Michigan for her COVID bonus year of eligibility, and we wish her the best in Ypsilanti.
As you can see, Marquette still, even with Volker, has at least four scholarship spots available for next season. One of those scholarship spots could be taken up by Nia Clark, who I think has a COVID season of eligibility available for her because of her injury shortened freshman year at Miami (OH) and because she wasn’t honored on Senior Night. However, Myles wasn’t honored on Senior Night either and she’s obviously graduating and leaving Marquette, so it’s impossible to tell. If we wanted to be conspiratorial about it, there’s evidence that Clark is done at Marquette. Volker wore #13 at Duke, and #13 wasn’t worn last year so it’s theoretically available unless it was claimed by Skylar Forbes or Halle Vice already. In any case, Volker is clearly wearing #1 in the commitment graphic that Marquette made for her, and Nia Clark wore #1 this past season. Seems like that switch from #13 to #1 is a sign that Clark won’t be returning, but until we get an actual confirmation from the McGuire Center, we’ll leave Clark on the chart as a possibility.