Coming off their inaugural season in the Big East conference where the lady Eagles finished as runner-up of the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT), expectations were not very high for Marquette's women's basketball team. The pre-season poll of Big East coaches and media picked them to finish 8th in the conference.
Thus far, the Marquette Women's basketball team has consistently proven the prognosticators wrong, going 19-2 overall and 7-1 in Big East play. The Golden Eagles began their season with wins over a nationally ranked Washington Huskies squad, at a very tough South Dakota State team, and against local rival UWM. They had one early season setback at Virginia at the hands of the Cavaliers and Brenna McGuire, the granddaughter of legendary Marquette Coach Al McGuire and daughter of former Marquette player Allie McGuire.
Marquette began the conference season on a roll, extending their winning streak to 14 straight games before incurring a crushing overtime loss at nationally ranked Pittsburgh on 1/9/07. They have rebounded from that setback nicely, defeating rival Notre Dame for the first time since 1992 and recording a convincing 17 point victory at Cincinnati.
The toughest part of the schedule lies ahead for Terri Mitchell's team with a tough match-up Tuesday night at Rutgers. Later this week, Marquette has their biggest home game of the season: a sold out contest on February 3, 2007, against perennial national power and current #5/6 UConn on Terri Mitchell Bobblehead Night.
The Golden Eagles are led by a talented group of seniors along with talented sophomore guard and Racine native Krystal Ellis. Ellis leads the Eagles in averaging 19.0 points and 4.1 assists per game per game. She is shooting 46.4% from the field and an impressive 38.0% from beyond the arc.
Ellis complements Marquette's strong frontcourt play, led by 6'1" senior Christina Quaye. Quaye averages 15.6 points and a team leading 6.5 rebounds per game, shooting 50% from the field. A solid perimeter shot complements her strong post play as she shoots a respectable 33% from beyond the arc.
Another catalyst for Marquette's success this season has been 6'2" guard/forward Danielle Kamm. A versatile threat for the Golden Eagles, she averages 10.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game on 42.0% shooting from the field and 32.8% from beyond the arc.
This season the Marquette women's basketball team has achieved their highest ever ranking in the history of the program. On the week of January 8, 2007, they were voted to the 16th position in the top 25. Marquette has also been highly ranked in many prognosticators "bracketologies" and appeared on the national radar with articles appearing in USA Today as well as on ESPN.com.
While the Marquette women's basketball team has already had plenty of success this season, one can only imagine what the rest of the season holds in store for the team that dominates the Al McGuire Center. So, the next time you're looking to get your fix of Marquette basketball, stop on by the AL and see what Coach Mitchell has done with her team. I guarantee you'll come away impressed.
**Update, after the article was written the Marquette Women did suffer their third loss of the season on the road at #23 ranked Rutgers, 66-56.
**Andrew Phillips is a senior majoring in Political Science and is also the President of the Marquette Band!!