Madden emerges as standout defender in junior season

Junior guard Quinn Madden proves to be a threat on the defensive side of the court. She leads the team with more than 30 minutes per game against conference opponents.

Madden—who grew up in Mokena, Illinois—totaled three steals and two blocks in the Lions’ triple-overtime win over Springfield College on Feb. 6.

In an interview after the game, Madden said defense represents a key component in most of the team’s practices.

“We’re all ecstatic right now because what we kept saying in the huddle was that this defense is what we’ve worked so hard on in practice to make it pay off,” Madden said. “We kept saying, ‘Have heart, have heart,’ every play.”

Head coach Bill Gould commended Madden on her ability to fill any role needed on the court.

“Quinn’s a very smart defensive player, and she’s an aggressive player, and she’s got size for a guard,” Gould said. “She’s strong, so depending on what we need defensively, we can have her do a lot of different roles. We have times when we tell her she needs to guard the posts, and she nods her head and says, ‘Okay,’ and does it.”

Madden received the Defensive Athlete of the Week accolade for the week of Feb. 4 after victories over Babson College on Jan. 30 and the United States Coast Guard Academy on Feb. 2. She totaled 20 points and 19 rebounds in those two games, while sitting on the bench for only one minute in each game.

“Whenever we need to give her a break, we really can’t,” Gould. “She’s a hard [player] to get off the court.”

Junior guard Natalie Clydesdale said she praises Madden for her physicality and her ability to be a team player.

“She’s a strong defensive player and very physical,” Clydesdale said. “When she gets the ball, it gives us more opportunity to score on offense.”

Madden began playing basketball in the third grade, with her dad as her coach. She grew to love the game by watching her two older sisters play. Madden said the Lions’ new assistant coach, Shannon Norton, helped her improve defensively.

“I’ve always loved defense, but this year, our new assistant coach put in a new defense, and it’s really changed my game,” Madden said. “Before we were just trying to keep the ball on the outside, and we didn’t rely on help as much as we do now.”

Madden said her passion to push the rest of the team to do their best and have fun in the process is the most important part about being on the team.

“One of the most important things I try to do is to keep positive energy and help my teammates believe in themselves,” Madden said. “At the beginning of the season, we had so many close games that we lost, and now we’re starting to win those games. I think we are a viable competition for any team in our conference. I’m really confident we can win the championship.”

The Lions rank fifth in the NEWMAC with a record of 9-5. The top eight teams in the conference move on to the playoffs later this month.

While fighting tears, Madden said the end of her junior season will be bittersweet and emotional.

“I’m really excited to make it through, because I remember last year at the last game I was so sad because I love this team so much, and I love seeing them at practice every day, and I didn’t want it to be over,” Madden said. “I’m just really excited to finish this journey with them because we’ve worked really hard.”

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