Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
MU women net three basketball transfers
It can be hard to keep up with all the roster changes each offseason in college basketball.
The Marquette women’s basketball team will have a different look next season, and not just because Chloe Marotta no longer has any eligibility after five seasons. The Golden Eagles have added three players in the NCAA transfer portal since their season ended in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and it’s possible that head coach Megan Duffy isn’t done finding new faces.
The Golden Eagles also signed two incoming freshmen in November. Halle Vice committed to MU last May, and the 6-foot-1 forward finished at Pleasant Valley (Iowa) High School with 1,399 points. Skyler Forbes, also a 6-1 forward, played on Canada’s U18 team at the 2022 FIBA Americas Championship, and Duffy likes Forbes’ inside-out game.
Duffy’s coaching staff also has been tweaked. Khadijah Rushdan was hired as assistant coach from North Florida to replace Kelly Komara, who returned to her alma mater Purdue as associate head coach.
Here is a deeper look at MU’s three transfers:
The 5-11 Volker will have two seasons of eligibility after playing two seasons at Duke.
Volker appeared in 27 games as a freshman, starting one, and averaged 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds. She started six games as a sophomore but stepped away from the team in December for personal reasons.
Volker was a three-time all-state player at Paul VI High School in Virginia, where Duffy had recruited her briefly.
“We had talked a little before, which is obviously helpful in this second-chance process that we got to go through,” Volker said Wednesday.
After entering the transfer portal, Volker made an official visit to MU – her first time in Wisconsin – and committed just after that in late April.
“Obviously school is important, so I was excited that Marquette has a good school,” Volker said. “I think Coach Duffy and everything she’s got going on as far as her culture and coaching style and everything like that lined up. Playing style.”
After Volker signed at MU, Duffy lauded her toughness and IQ.
“I think they see me fitting in well,” Volker said. “Obviously with their style of play. They like to get up and down and defense is important to them.”
After four productive seasons at Lehigh, the 6-1 Hottinger put her name in the transfer portal to assess her options for her extra season of eligibility.
There was plenty of interest in the Patriot League player of the year, who led the conference in scoring at 20.4 points per game, but MU immediately stood out.
“I’m really looking forward to competing in the Big East,” Hottinger said. “I think it’s a really cool step-up from the Patriot League and it’s a super-competitive league.
“I’m really excited to get better under Coach Duffy and the other coaching staff. I think they’re really good at helping players develop. I’ll just grow in ways that I didn’t grow in undergrad. I’m excited to be part of a team that has winning culture and teammates that want to win for each other and compete with each other.”
It helped MU’s case that Hottinger’s former AAU teammate Liza Karlen is a key player for the Golden Eagles.
“It’s definitely nice to have a friend that’s already on the team,” said Hottinger, a Minnesota native. “And I think it’s just helpful with logistical stuff. And I loved playing with her in AAU.
“But I also think all the other teammates, it seemed like I would really click well with them, too. Which was attractive to me because you spend so much time with your teammates.”
Hottinger should also be a seamless fit on the court. Her face-up game in the post and ability to knock down midrange shots could help fill Marotta’s role.
“During my recruiting visit I got to watch film of my games at Lehigh, like stuff they watched and how they would implement here to the game at Marquette,” Hottinger said. “Kind of like side-by-side clips.
“And I watched some film of Chloe and some other posts they’ve had, which showed me that the game could translate there.”
Utberg, a 5-7 guard, will have three years of eligibility after playing her freshman season at Central Michigan. She entered the transfer portal after the Chippewas made a coaching change.
Utberg made the Mid-American Conference all-freshman team after averaging 12.5 points per game. Her biggest value for the Golden Eagles probably will be from behind the three-point line, where Utberg connected on 34.8% of her 164 attempts with the Chippewas.
“Her ability to break down defenses and stretch the floor from three will bring huge value to our program,” Duffy said in a statement.