Conference victories, a district championship, a state title. For Kristin Heidloff and Kieraah Marlow, winning was a habit in high school. When Heidloff, from Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Ill., and Marlow, out of Coatesville High School (Pa.), came to Georgetown, they were ready to bring their success to a team that was just under .500 and had lost in the first round of the Big East tournament the previous season.

After three years of mediocre records – a combined 35-49 and a 13-35 mark in the Big East – the Hoyas’ co-captains are eager to get back to their winning ways.

“When I committed to Georgetown, I was aware of the program; it wasn’t as strong,” Marlow says. “I thought coming into this program [that] I would be able to help them, along with Kristin.”

A coaching change and an eight-woman roster have made competing in the Big East tough for the Hoyas, but the two seniors remain optimistic and have set lofty goals in their last go-round.

“We want to leave the program better than how we got here, and now we only have one year left to do that,” Heidloff says. “It’s important to have a good year so that the program is headed in the right direction. I think this is the year where we have to take the big step in getting us there and getting to the Big East tournament.”

As a four-year starter for Fenwick, Heidloff won four Chicago Catholic League crowns and took home first, second and third place finishes in three state tournament appearances. In three years at Georgetown, the 5-foot-5 guard has only played in one Big East tournament game – a 65-58 loss to Syracuse in the first-round of the 2005 tournament.

Marlow, who holds the record for both points and rebounds at her small-town high school in southeastern Pennsylvania, says playing in the Big East tournament is her best memory on the basketball floor. She scored five points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds as a freshman against the Orange.

Although the Big East recently voted to include all 16 teams in the postseason tournament, the change will not go into effect until 2009, one year too late for Heidloff and Marlow. The Hoyas will have to be one of the top 12 teams in the league to earn a bid this season, a task that will not be easy for a squad picked by the coaches to finish dead last in the conference. But Marlow and Heidloff already see an improved team.

“I think we have better players now,” Marlow says. “We probably only went seven deep before, but I think now we have a lot of players who can come in and step up, especially our sophomore class.”

“There has been a definite change in attitude from last year to this year,” Heidloff adds. “Everyone on our team can feel that change, and it’s a much more positive atmosphere and everyone is upbeat and excited about this season. What we [seniors] need to do is make sure that we maintain that energy level.”

As the only players with more than one year of playing experience at Georgetown, Marlow and Heidloff will have to lead the way for a deep but inexperienced squad.

“What we need to do everyday as seniors is lead the way by how we work,” Heidloff says. “As the season drags on, we’re the ones who have been through it before and know what it takes to get through an entire season.”

By all accounts, the two co-captains are doing well so far.

“They’re encouraging, they lift us up, they keep us going, they correct us when we’re wrong. That’s all part of being a great leader,” freshman forward Monica McNutt says.

Just as Heidloff’s guard-play compliments Marlow’s play in the post, their leadership qualities fit together.

“They’re very different,” Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy says of the duo’s style. “Kristin Heidloff definitely leads by example – she’s the hardest working player on our team. Ki also works hard, but she talks as well.”

While their goal of leaving Georgetown better off than when they came may involve reaching the Big East tournament, the Hoyas’ two leaders will leave a mark on Georgetown regardless. Both are primed to move into the top 10 of numerous statistical categories in Georgetown’s all-time record books.

Marlow is currently 13th in career points, 12th in rebounds and 15th in blocked shots. If she puts up numbers like last season, she will finish in the top three in points, top five in boards and top 10 in blocks.

Heidloff is currently on pace to finish in the top five all-time in scoring, top five in assists and top 10 in steals.

But the records don’t stop there for the two seniors. If Heidloff plays in all 29 of the Hoyas’ regular season games this year, she will be tied for second on the all-time games-played list. For Marlow, who has played three fewer games than Heidloff, playing in all 29 games would leave her one game shy of the top 10. But if all goes according to plan for the two seniors who care more about winning than personal stats, Marlow will have games to play after the regular season ends.

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