Northwestern is the youngest faculty within the Large Ten, and it is not even shut. It boasts lower than 9,000 undergraduate college students (Nebraska is the second youngest with simply over 20,000 college students) and can also be the one personal faculty within the convention. When folks look to the Northwest from exterior, they’re prone to see a mid-sized tutorial faculty within the Midwest the place sports activities—albeit Large Ten sports activities—are usually not a precedence. Nevertheless, those that observe Northwestern College with fondness know this isn’t the case, particularly given the college’s girls’s packages.
With basketball being one of many few girls’s sports activities to have knowledgeable league, Northwestern girls’s hoops have loved a kind of next-level success over the previous decade little-to-be earlier than the arrival of coach Joe McKeown in 2008. Veronica Burton and Nia Coffey do their greatest. Impression within the WNBA, and this occurs after they storm school by storm.
Burton, one of many school’s prime defensive gamers, was named seventh within the 2022 WNBA Draft by the Dallas Wings. Her defensive play at Northwestern has been exceptionally credited. Backcourt Burglar received the WBCA (Ladies’s Basketball Coaches Affiliation) Defensive Participant of the Yr throughout the 2021-2022 season, exhibiting how coaches have acknowledged her expertise on the nationwide stage. She led the nation in steals per sport (4.03) and was the second individual ever to win the Large Ten Defensive Participant of the Yr thrice, solely after Penn State’s Tanisha Wright.
This was solely the start of her homage. Apart from the aforementioned accolades from each the convention and the WBCA, Burton has acquired quite a few first-team All-Large Ten awards and was a finalist for the Naismith Nationwide Defensive Participant of the Yr, Nancy Lieberman Award (Nationwide Goalkeeper), and Daybreak Staley Award (Guardian of the State Supreme). She was additionally the primary Wildcat ever to be assigned to an AP All-America group.
All awards and nominations apart, Burton was essential to the ladies’s basketball program and Northwestern College as an entire. She was top-of-the-line gamers on the present ever and made the Northwestern neighborhood know her title from day one.
Within the midst of her rookie marketing campaign for the wings, Burton has virtually by no means seen the time she’s seen in Evanston but – averaging simply 12 minutes per sport – nevertheless it’s clear the wings have long-term plans for her to slot in on the subsequent leg to Arike Ogunbowale and Marina Mabrey.
Northwestern followers hope Burton might be an influential WNBA participant for years to come back, and so they do not should look far to see the comparability. Not solely has Nia Coffey been a star in purple and white, she’s additionally establishing numbers within the WNBA.
Kofi graduated from NU in 2017 because the highest-grossing WNBA choose ever to interrupt out of Evanston in fifth general. Her 2021 season was her greatest to this point, averaging 8.3 factors per sport with the Los Angeles Sparks, and within the 2022 season with the Atlanta Dream, she led the group within the rebound. One in every of her most up-to-date information appearances was her double in opposition to the Indiana Fever, with 16 factors and 10 rebounds.
Though Kofi has performed for 4 groups in her six seasons on the skilled stage, she exhibits that regardless of the scene, she is an lively participant. Over the previous two years, she has achieved profession highs in factors (8.3), rebounds (5.5), and assists (0.9) in each sport, together with matches began (17).
Burton and Covey each got here to the Northwest with out spotlighting them. However each grew to become superstars in purple and have been capable of achieve nationwide consideration by advantage of their very own talents, propelling them to the WNBA.
There are solely 144 spots on the WNBA roster, and the truth that the McKeown alumni maintain two exhibits defies all odds – they’ve gained visibility at a small faculty not identified for his or her basketball prowess previously and locked themselves into one of many few skilled girls. leagues within the nation.
Burton and Coffey are actually on the large screens, and if Northwestern followers need to see some purple within the professionals, the WNBA is the place to be.