Detroit Mercy women’s hoops a confident, winning program

Detroit Mercy women’s basketball is off to its best regular season start since the beginning of the century and is on course to post the highest number of wins across a single season since 2012–2013, when the Titans won the national WBI tournament. 

The team, forwarded by Spanish Louisiana Tech transfer-turned-Detroit-star Irene Murua, is finally finding itsfooting on the court after a three-season long drought from 2019–2021 in which it was held to just five wins from 69 games 

Kate Achter, currently serving in her second season as head coach, is once again proving her capability of bringing teams back to competitiveness. Under Coach Achter’s lead, the Titans equaled their previous three-season win total in 2022 alone, and this season the team is in realistic contention for a thirdplace finish in the Horizon League with a double-digit win record. 

Achter had much to praise about her players’ work ethic.  

“Our competitiveness in everyday drills, in everything that we do, whether it’s on the floor or in the weight room, has been extraordinary,” she said, attesting to the overall environment improvement that has allowed the Titans to consistently fight for wins again. “Then we just experience coming back, and experience brings confidence.” 

With regards to experience, Murua is one of the only upperclassmen who is eligible to return for next year – a loss for the roster which will not go unfelt.  

When asked about how losing a handful of players, some of which have had crucial contributions to the team, will affect going into next season, Achter said,We’ve planned.”  

Achter is confident in the development of her younger players and their preparation to fill the shoes of the current on-court leaders, the same ones who will soon be leaving.  

“The best thing that we can do is develop our younger players every single day here in practice to ensure that they're ready to step into the moment,” she said. “If we continue to prepare humbly, like we're the worst team in the league and we've got this mountain to climb, but we perform arrogantly and we're confident in all the things that we're going to do, we're going to continue to find success.” 

Achter told The VN that she is eyeing a few of her players in the coming seasons, both in terms of development and taking over leadership roles on the court. Freshman guard Paris Gilmore and sophomore point guard Myonna Hooper, respectively, are two who Achter highlighted.  

“Myonna has been in that position [to lead] for the last year and a half here, … and now she's earned that starting job,” Achter said.  

As for Gilmore, who has been a key to success in several ames this season, Coach Achter believes that she will eventually “find her voice.”  

The VN spoke to Gilmore and Hooper, both of whom shared insight on their transition from high school to collegiate play, and overall reflected optimistically and positively during their time here at Detroit Mercy. Gilmore, who had a very successful high school career that spanned several states and saw her receive multiple Division I offers as early as her freshman year, said she chose Detroit Mercy because “the coaches were very honest about how they were going to rebuild the program,” and that she didn’t feel like it was a risk coming into a team that has struggled the prior few seasons 

“Coming to a new program and making a name for ourselves is something that you can never forget. So I just want to be a part of [that],” she added.  

As of Jan. 31, Gilmore currently leads her fellow freshmen across the stat board in ppg (6.0), in 3-pts made (13), in total assists (29), and in total steals (12).. Still, the achievements haven’t come without challenges.  

“There's been plenty of struggles mentally [and] physically,” Gilmore said when asked if she’s adjusted smoothly to collegiate level competition. “But … my teammates and my coaches, we trust each other and we're all just getting through [together].”  

As for Hooper, after a year-and-a-half of learning from her upperclassmen teammates, she is preparing to carry the torch and leadership role that will eventually be passed down onto her from the likes of Murua. She also reaffirmed the togetherness of the Titans.  

“I think collectively, we work very well together,” Hoope said. And then with my role as being a point guard, I just have to make sure everybody's on the same page, and we just get whatever we need to get done.”  

Statistically, she’s averaging an impressive 8.0 ppg and is leading the team in total assists (56), as of Jan. 31. 

Both players told The VN that basketball remains their priority beyond college. Gilmore confirmed that her degree (in health services) is something she wants to take seriously after college, although she prefers to see where basketball can take her first. Hooper, on the other, is also majoring in health services but is a little more indecisive on her future plans – and is even considering overseas opportunities in basketball.  

“I’m just focusing on playing basketball and getting my degree,” she said, in true Jesuit tradition, “then seeing where God takes me from there.”