Marquette Hosts Southwest Baptist in Sunday Exhibition
Nov. 6, 2015
MILWAUKEE- The Marquette University women's basketball team will open its 2015-16 season Sunday, Nov. 8 with an exhibition matchup against Southwest Baptist at the Al McGuire Center at 3:30 p.m. CT.
In her second year at the helm of the Golden Eagles, head coach Carolyn Kieger will run with a roster that features nine newcomers, eight of which are freshmen, and just two returning players from last season's squad that compiled a 9-22 record.
The Golden Eagles will look upon returnees, junior guard McKayla Yentz and sophomore center Shantelle Valentine, for experience on a roster that includes just three players with previous regular season NCAA appearances.
Last season, Valentine appeared in 31 games, averaging 2.6 points and 3.4 rebounds in just under 13.5 minutes per game. Yentz played in 27 games in 2014-15 for the Golden Eagles, putting up 2.6 points and 1.3 rebounds in 9.7 minutes per game.
The Marquette youth movement will be led by guard Natisha Heideman, who compiled 1,773 points throughout her high school career and averaged 25.6 points per game her senior season. The Green Bay, Wis., native garnered First team All-State honors, FRCC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors, and was ranked No. 74 overall for her class by the All Star Girls Basketball Report. Guard Danielle King also features to be an important part of MU's game plan this season. The 5-5 freshman was ranked as the sixth best prospect in Illinois for her class, and averaged 28.4 points, 6.3 assists, 6.2 rebounds, and an impressive 5.4 steals during her senior campaign at Bloom Township high school.
Other key freshman for the Golden Eagles will include guard Allazia Blockton, who was tabbed No. 91 overall in her class by Prospects Nation and No. 16 at her position by ESPN HoopGurlz. The Dominican High School product notched over 2,000 points during her high school campaign and collected AP All-State First Team honors. Another Milwaukee native, Amani Wilborn will look to contribute for the Golden Eagles in 2015-16. A 5-9 guard, Wilborn ranked No. 84 in her class by Prospects Nation and No. 16 among guards by ESPN HoopGurlz. She was also recognized as an AP Second Team All-State performer, and won a state championship her sophomore season at Riverside.
Not only did she sign a handful of in-state players, but Coach Kieger also recruited well on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, bringing in three European players for her roster. Swedish forward Sandra Dahling, Finnish guard Olivia Moskari, and Spanish forward Ines Mata all come to Marquette. While the team is young, the nationally ranked recruiting class should prove to be well up to the task in the challenging BIG EAST Conference.
MU will open up play in the BIG EAST on December 29th, against DePaul. The Blue Demons were picked to finish first by the conference coaches this season. The Golden Eagles will look to surprise the conference after being picked to finish ninth in conference play.
After its exhibition battle with Southwest Baptist, Marquette will kick-off its regular season when they travel north for a matchup against in-state foe Green Bay on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. Central time. Marquette's homeopener will be on Nov. 16 at noon against IUPUI, which will be part of MPS day, an annual event hosted by MU.
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