UM Lady Griz Basketball Signs Former Big Sky Freshman of the Year
Competing for a player also being recruited by at least one of women's college basketball's big-name programs? Hey, no problem!
That's part of what it took for the University of Montana Lady Griz basketball program to sign former University of Idaho point guard Gina Marxen, who dipped into the transfer portal waters and came out a beautiful shade of maroon.
UM Women's Sports Information Director Joel Carlson tells us that Marxen, a two-time All-Big Sky Conference standout, has signed a scholarship offer to play basketball at Montana and will join the Lady Griz next month. Gina will have two years of eligibility remaining.
She was voted the Big Sky Freshman of the Year in 2018-19, first-team all-conference as a sophomore and second-team as a junior. She then sat out the 2021-22 season, saying she felt she "needed to work on myself and take some space. About a month ago, I decided to enter the NCAA Transfer Portal)just to see if I could rediscover that love for the game."
And there were a lot of elite suitors who wanted her newfound love. That's what happens when you are a great shooting point guard who can really handle the ball.
Maybe most notably, Gina was in the process of arranging a visit to North Carolina State of the Atlantic Coast Conference when she committed to Montana. The Wolfpack went 32-4 last season and got as far as the Elite 8 in the NCAA tourney, before losing in double-overtime to Connecticut.
And North Carolina State was not the only Power 5 Conference team who was showing lots of interest. But there was an allure to staying in the Big Sky, and playing at least reasonably close to home and family (Sammamish, Washington). Oh, and getting to reunite with a couple high school teammates? That was pretty appealing, too.
When Marxen was a senior at Eastlake High in 2017-18, Keeli Burton-Oliver was a sophomore and Haley Huard was a freshman. Now they are all Lady Griz. Gina also has a connection Lady Griz standout Sammy Fatkin, who was granted a one-year extension by the NCAA this spring, giving her one more year to play for Montana.
What looks like a team that was already going to be very good in 2022-23 just got even better. Congratulations to head coach Brian Holsinger and his staff and welcome the newest Lady Griz, Gina Marxen.
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