Last Friday, I returned to Marquette for my first actual game at Al McGuire Center. Previously, I had been at Marquette for Media Day. That is where I met the team and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Bill Scholl.
A graduate of Notre Dame University, Scholl spent 23 years working there in various roles. He then worked for Ball State for 3 years, before joining Marquette in 2015.
On Media Day I thanked Scholl and Assistant Director of Communications Megan O'Shea for the opportunity to cover Marquette. It is a privilege and an honor and I appreciate it greatly.
On Friday, I watched from courtside as the Marquette Golden Eagles defeated the Steon Hall Pirates 96-60. The Golden Eagles got off to an 8-0 start and never looked back. The game was never really close, but it was still an exciting game. I wrote more about the day at Big East Women's Basketball for Global Traveler and Marquette Women's Basketball Is On A Mission for the Patch.
Marquette is currently 16-3, with a perfect 7-0 conference record. Although it is early in the season, they are separating themselves from the pack. Even more impressive, they are doing this without Allazia Blockton, last season's Big East Player of the Year, who has been sidelined for several games with an injury.
On Media Day, Coach Carolyn Kieger stressed the high expectations of this team. She stated that the seniors would have to lead the way and the reserves would need to start stepping up. Every player was expected to continue to improve.
Coach Kieger's statements are being fulfilled. In Blockton's absence, Natisha Hiedeman really stepped up and was named Big East Player of the Week for her efforts. Others have also helped fill the void. This is a team effort.
The is an exciting team. They are on a mission. Having lost to DePaul in the Big East championship game, Marquette came into the season with something to prove and they are proving it. Marquette (at least right now) is definitely the team to beat.
I continue to be so impressed with the athleticism of the players. These young women are elite athletes. I have seen them practice and in play. They are also mature and classy. I cannot speak highly enough of the players.
Aside from the actual game action, the day at Marquette was a lot of fun. It was Milwaukee Public School Day and young students were most of the capacity crowd of 3,700. They were energetic and loud all game.
The students' excitement was assisted by in-game host Stephaine Crosley. A Milwaukee-native and former collegiate player at Cleveland State, Stephaine is a Program Manager for SecureFutures, a non-profit, empowering teens through financial education. She has mentored hundreds of young girls along the way. She is an asset to the community and Marquette games.
Marquette is an easy 90 minute drive from Chicago. In addition to Marquette, Milwaukee has so much to offer. It is a great way to spend a day or a weekend. I definitely will be back this season.
Once again, I thank Marquette and Megan for the hospitality and access. Although I am a DePaul alum, I will have torn loyalties if DePaul meets Marquette in the Big East tournament again, but that will be a great problem to have. I look forward to more exciting action as the season unfolds.
Bill Scholl and me in Milwaukee, WI-November 2018.