Northwestern is the youngest college within the Massive Ten, and it isn’t 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 college within the convention. When folks look to the Northwest from exterior, they’re prone to see a mid-sized educational college within the Midwest the place sports activities—albeit Massive Ten sports activities—should not a precedence. Nevertheless, those that comply with Northwestern College with fondness know this isn’t the case, particularly given the varsity’s girls’s packages.
With basketball being one of many few girls’s sports activities to have an expert league, Northwestern girls’s hoops have loved a form 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 finest. Impression within the WNBA, and this occurs after they storm school by storm.
Burton, one of many school’s high 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 gained the WBCA (Ladies’s Basketball Coaches Affiliation) Defensive Participant of the Yr throughout the 2021-2022 season, displaying 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 Massive Ten Defensive Participant of the Yr 3 times, 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 obtained quite a few first-team All-Massive 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 a complete. She was the most effective gamers on the present ever and made the Northwestern group know her identify from day one.
Within the midst of her rookie marketing campaign for the wings, Burton has nearly by no means seen the time she’s seen in Evanston but – averaging simply 12 minutes per sport – however it’s clear the wings have long-term plans for her to slot in on the following leg to Arike Ogunbowale and Marina Mabrey.
Northwestern followers hope Burton might be an influential WNBA participant for years to return, they usually 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 decide ever to interrupt out of Evanston in fifth general. Her 2021 season was her finest thus far, 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 irrespective 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 turned 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 college not identified for his or her basketball prowess previously and locked themselves into one of many few skilled women. leagues within the nation.
Burton and Coffey are actually on the large screens, and if Northwestern followers need to see some purple within the execs, the WNBA is the place to be.