#19 Marquette Women's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview

Marquette Golden Eagles
Overall Rank: #19
Conference Rank: #1 Big East
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Last season Marquette returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011. The Golden Eagles have steadily improved under head coach Carolyn Kieger.  The 2016-17 season also was highlighted by a Big East Conference Tournament championship victory over DePaul. Four starters are back, led by Allazia Blockton heading into the 2017-18 season and they are primed to overtake DePaul as the top team in the Big East Conference this season.
2016-17 Record: 25-8, 13-5
2016-17 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Carolyn Kieger
Coach Record: 48-46 at Marquette, 48-46 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
McKayla Yentz, Forward, 8.1 points per game
Chelsey Gibson, Guard, 1.2 points per game
Meghan Mandel, Center, 0.7 points per game
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Allazia Blockton, Junior, Guard, 17.1 points per game
Natisha Hiedeman, Junior, Guard, 13.9 points per game
Erika Davenport, Junior, Forward, 13.2 points per game
Danielle King, Junior, Guard, 11.1 points per game
Amani Wilborn, Junior, Guard, 9.8 points per game
Shantelle Valentine, Senior, Center, 2.5 points per game
Isabelle Spingola, Sophomore, Guard, 2.4 points per game
Altia Anderson, Sophomore, Forward, 1.2 points per game
Olivia Moskari, Junior, Guard, 0.9 points per game
Sandra Dahling, Junior, Forward, 0.5 points per game
Lauren Van Kleunen, Redshirt Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Key New Players
Selena Lott, Freshman, Guard
Myriama Smith Traore, Freshman, Forward
Tori McCoy, Sophomore, Forward, Transfer from Ohio State
Blockton and Natisha Hiedeman are going to set the tone offensively for Marquette as they combined for 31 points per game last season. Erika Davenport is back in the frontcourt and will be looking to build off her All-Big East Second Team effort last season. Davenport is an efficient shooter and can be dominant rebounding the basketball. Danielle King is back and she came up with some clutch performances during the Big East Tournament. King scored 14 points over DePaul in the title game. Opposing coaches are going to have matchup problems all season long in trying to defend the explosiveness and versatility of the Golden Eagles. A very road heavy non-conference schedule will test Marquette as they will play teams like Tennessee, Michigan, and Notre Dame. The ability to get a couple signature wins out of these three games will help set up the Golden Eagles to contend for a top 16 seed nationally. In Big East play, the games with Creighton and DePaul will decide the conference title as all their teams are going to battle each other to the bitter end this season. Look for Marquette to win another 25 or so games this season and be a Sweet 16 type of team.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 78.8 (14th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 70.2 (293, 9)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.0 (14, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.7 (276, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.8 (87, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.2 (66, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.3 (74, 4)
Rebound Margin: 5.2 (46, 1)
Assists Per Game: 16.6 (16, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.0 (12, 3)