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Women’s Basketball: Coffey named preseason All-Big Ten

Women’s Basketball: Coffey named preseason All-Big Ten
(Daily file photo by Katie Pach)

Senior forward Nia Coffey was named to the preseason All-Big Ten team in both coaches and media panels, the conference announced Monday.

Coffey, who averaged a double-double for most of last season before finishing the season with 20.3 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per contest, was a first-team postseason selection each of the last two seasons by both coaches and media. She also received honorable mention AP All-American honors last year. This is the third consecutive year Coffey was named to the preseason all-conference team.

Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell was the Big Ten preseason Player of the Year for both coaches and the media, and Maryland was selected as the conference favorite.

The Cats will open their regular season Nov. 11 against Hampton. After starting last season 10-0 and reaching No. 12 in the AP poll, NU struggled mightily in Big Ten play and finished with an 18-17 record after losing in the first round of the WNIT. After the graduation of guard Maggie Lyon last year, the Cats are expected to be led this year by Coffey and senior guards Ashley Deary and Christen Inman.

Florida, DePaul highlight women’s basketball nonconference slate

Florida, DePaul highlight women’s basketball nonconference slate
(Daily file photo by Katie Pach)

Northwestern will play 2016 NCAA Tournament teams Florida and DePaul this season, the team announced Thursday as it released the full nonconference schedule.

The Wildcats will host another NCAA qualifier in Missouri State and meet Virginia in a previously-announced ACC/Big Ten Challenge game as part of the 13-game slate. NU will host nine of those games at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

The Gators, who will travel to Evanston for a Nov. 25 matchup, were a No. 5 seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament and was often ranked in the top 25. DePaul, who handed the Cats their first loss last season, reached the second round of the NCAAs as a No. 6 seed.

NU opens the regular season with three straight home games and will not leave the Chicagoland area before a Dec. 11 tilt at Milwaukee. The Cats’ only lengthy road trip is to the West Coast for games at Santa Clara and Gonzaga.

NU will host Illinois-Springfield in an exhibition Nov. 6. The official opener is Nov. 11 against Hampton.

The Cats’ Big Ten opponents have been released, but the full schedule has not. Last season, NU finished nonconference play with an 11-1 record but went just 4-14 in conference games.

Women’s basketball conference opponents announced

Women’s basketball conference opponents announced
(Daily file photo by Katie Pach)

The Big Ten released conference opponents for Northwestern today, and here’s how the program’s slate will look:

During the 2015-16 season, the Wildcats went 4-14 in the Big Ten but advanced all the way to semifinals of the conference tournament in March, winning games against Wisconsin, Minnesota and Indiana before falling to top-seeded Maryland. Then-junior forward Nia Coffey scored 100 total points over the course of the four games, setting a tournament record.

NU’s season ended in the first round of the WNIT in a loss to San Diego.

In 2016-17, the Cats will play only 16 conference games as opposed to 18 a season ago. The reduced number of Big Ten games may prove beneficial, as NU will only face off against powerhouses Maryland, Michigan State and Ohio State once each.

However, the team will also face potential bottom-feeders just once with only three games scheduled against Penn State, Wisconsin and Illinois. Two games against a Minnesota team sans No. 4 WNBA Draft pick Rachel Banham, who tied an NCAA record against the Cats with 60 points, would have been a good break for the team as well.

The teams NU will play twice — Indiana, Purdue and Rutgers — are all middle-of-the-pack programs.

Monday’s schedule announcement adds on to the previously announced Big Ten/ACC Challenge opponent from a few weeks ago. NU will face Virginia on Dec. 1.

Northwestern women’s basketball to face Virginia in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

Northwestern women’s basketball to face Virginia in ACC/Big Ten Challenge
(Daily file photo by Katie Pach)

The Wildcats will host Virginia on December 1 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the two conferences jointly announced Wednesday.

NU finished 18-17 overall, including a first-round loss in the WNIT, and just 4-14 in Big Ten play last season. The Cats return first-team all-Big Ten forward Nia Coffey, conference defensive player of the year Ashley Deary and several other letter winners.

The Cavaliers finished 18-16 and reached the WNIT Round of 16.

The ACC/Big Ten Challenge is an annual event matching schools from the two conferences for non-league games. NU won 85-72 at North Carolina last season.

The Cats and Cavaliers have played just twice. Virginia won the last meeting in 2004.

 

Maggie Lyon signs with WNBA’s Chicago Sky

Northwestern’s all-time leading 3-point shooter has found a home with the WNBA’s Chicago Sky. Lyon went unselected in last week’s WNBA Draft, even though the Sky had one of the last overall picks in the draft (34th out of 36). Instead, Chicago decided to take a flier on the New Trier graduate as a free agent.