WNBA Northwest: Veronica Burton and Nia Coffey

Northwestern is the youngest faculty within the Huge 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 be the one non-public faculty within the convention. When individuals look to the Northwest from exterior, they’re more likely to see a mid-sized tutorial faculty within the Midwest the place sports activities—albeit Huge Ten sports activities—usually are not a precedence. Nonetheless, those that comply with Northwestern College with fondness know this isn’t the case, particularly given the college’s girls’s applications.

With basketball being one of many few girls’s sports activities to have an expert league, Northwestern girls’s hoops have loved some type of next-level success over the previous decade, and little was anticipated earlier than coach Joe McKeown arrived in 2008. Veronica Burton performs Nia Covey is making an impression within the WNBA, and this occurs after they break into school.

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 (Girls’s Basketball Coaches Affiliation) Defensive Participant of the Yr in the course of the 2021-2022 season, exhibiting how coaches have acknowledged her expertise on the nationwide degree. She led the nation in steals per sport (4.03) and was the second individual ever to win the Huge Ten Defensive Participant of the Yr thrice, solely after Penn State’s Tanisha Wright.

This was solely the start of her homage. In addition to the aforementioned accolades from each the convention and the WBCA, Burton has acquired quite a few first-team All-Huge Ten awards and was a finalist for the Naismith Nationwide Defensive Participant of the Yr, Nancy Lieberman Award (Finest Goalkeeper within the Nation) and the Daybreak Staley Award ( Guardian of the State. She was additionally the primary Wildcat ever to be assigned to an AP All-America workforce.

Placing all awards and nominations apart, Burton was essential to the ladies’s basketball program and Northwestern College as a complete. She was top-of-the-line gamers on the present ever and made the Northwestern group 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 – 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 can be an influential WNBA participant for years to return, they usually do not need to look far to see the comparability. Not solely has Nia Coffey been a star in purple and white, she’s additionally organising 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 finest but, averaging 8.3 factors per sport with the Los Angeles Sparks, and in her 2022 season with the Atlanta Dream, she led the workforce in rebounds. One among her most up-to-date information appearances was a double in opposition to the Indiana Fever, the place she scored 16 factors and 10 rebounds.

Though Kofi has performed for 4 groups in her six seasons on the skilled degree, she exhibits that regardless of the scene, she is a dynamic participant. Over the previous two years, she’s achieved profession highs in factors (8.3), rebounds (5.5), and assists (0.9) in each sport, together with begins (17).

Burton and Covey each got here to the Northwest with out spotlighting them. However each turned superstars in purple and have been in a position to achieve nationwide consideration by advantage of their very own skills, 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 women. leagues within the nation.

Burton and Coffey at the moment are on the massive screens, and if Northwestern followers wish to see some purple within the execs, the WNBA is the place to be.