Monday, October 31, 2016

Northwestern's Coffey looks to rewrite the script in the 2016-17 season

                          Photo Credit: Steven Herrera/Northwestern Athletics

Everywhere you look in the previous three seasons for Northwestern women’s basketball, the name Nia Coffey is imprinted into most statistical sheets.

The senior produced 19 20-plus point games in the 2015-16 season and has scored in double figures in the last 50 games (third longest in NU history).

No matter the individual statistics, Coffey wants to put a 4-14 mark in Big Ten conference play, after being ranked as high as No. 12 and a 12-1 record in the non-conference season in the rear view mirror.

“I am definitely excited to have one more chance to turn things around from last season,” Coffey said. “Our team definitely has all the pieces necessary to be successful and it is a matter of putting things together.”

Despite the setbacks, Coffey enjoys creativity off the court. In early October, the Northwestern athletic marketing department took a smooth twist from Ice-T's "Lemonade" ad for Geico and created a campaign centered around "Coffee". 

“I never thought I would have a campaign for myself, so I thought it was really cool,” Coffey said. “I love our marketing people and are really creative with a nice vision.”

In her second go-around as a captain, Coffey, along with fellow senior classmates and captains Ashley Deary and Christen Inman lead the Wildcats into a challenging non-conference slate against 2015-16 NCAA Tournament teams Missouri State, DePaul and Florida.

Enter Sides, exit Green:

After one season as an assistant coach to Joe McKeown, Shauna Green was named as the women's basketball coach at Dayton on Sept. 12.

The Wildcats filled the vacancy on Oct. 6 with Christie Sides tabbed as the replacement for Green. Sides served as an assistant coach for the WNBA's Chicago Sky over the last six seasons and McKeown sarcastically hoped Elena Delle Donne would be a part of the package.

“She was supposed to bring Elena Delle Donne with her and that was the first thing that didn’t go well,” McKeown said in a joking manner.

In the three-plus weeks on the job, Sides' work ethic has stood out for McKeown.

“[Christie] has done a great job so far and brings tremendous energy to our program. Coming out of the WNBA, where training and schedules are different, Sides has a relentless approach to basketball and is a great individual teacher for our players.”

Northwestern projected starting lineup:

G Ashley Deary (5-4, SR)
G Jordan Hankins (5-8, SO)
G Christen Inman (5-10, SR)
Nia Coffey (6-1, SR)
F Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah (6-2, SO)

Northwestern schedule highlights:

Nov. 19 at No. 21 DePaul

Nov. 25 vs No. 24 Florida

Dec. 1 vs Virginia (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)

Jan. 3 vs No. 6 Ohio State

Jan. 5 at No. 5 Maryland

Jan. 17 vs No. 22 Michigan State

Social Media:

Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.