#23 Northwestern Women's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Northwestern Wildcats

Overall Rank: #23
Conference Rank: #4 Big Ten
#23 Northwestern Women's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview
Northwestern Team Page


Northwestern surprised many by finishing 12-6 in Big Ten play and 23-9 overall. The Wildcats were slighted a bit by the selection committee, earning just a seven seed, but they did lose to Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, so it is hard to argue too much. Regardless, it was a huge year for Northwestern and this year should be even better with the return of four starters.

2014-15 Record: 23-9, 12-6
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Joe McKeown
Coach Record: 111-110 at Northwestern, 621- 284 overall

Nia Coffey is a legitimate Big Ten Player of the Year candidate. The 6-1 junior averaged a team high 15.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. Coffey is consistent in the paint and she can step outside and hit a few three-pointers on occasion. But it is her rebounding, defense and versatility that make Coffey so difficult to deal with. The other returning starters are in the backcourt with Maggie Lyon, Ashley Deary and Christen Inman. Lyon is a big guard who hit an impressive 41.1 percent of her 202 three-point attempts as a sophomore. She is more than just a shooter though. Lyon will use her 6-1 size to attack the basket effectively. Deary is the point guard. The junior averaged 10.0 points, 4.8 assists and 3.1 steals. That is a lot of steals. Inman can force some turnovers too. She is not a shooter like Lyon, but is a solid defender and a capable slasher.

The only starter lost is Alex Cohen. The Wildcats will certainly miss the 6-5 center. She averaged 8.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. Her presence in the paint on the defensive end could be a concern, but Northwestern can replace much of her production with Lauren Douglas. Douglas, a 6-2 senior, averaged 10.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game despite never starting and averaging just 20.7 minutes per game. She will be even more productive now that she will likely play a few more minutes per game and step into the starting lineup.

Final Projection:
On paper this is a Northwestern team that should be better than they were last year. But a lot of things went right last year too. The Wildcats were able to win close games. This time around maybe the ball won’t bounce the right way quite as often. Even if everything goes right, competing with top tier teams like Maryland and Ohio State will be asking too much. The Wildcats were 0-3 against the Terps and Buckeyes last year, losing by an average of nearly 14 points per game. Regardless, this is a team that will beat most of the teams they should beat and that is good enough to get back to the NCAA Tournament and win at least a game.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Ashley Deary, Junior, Guard, 10.0 points per game
Christen Inman, Junior, Guard, 9.3 points per game
Maggie Lyon, Senior, Guard, 13.8 points per game
Nia Coffey, Junior, Forward, 15.8 points per game
Lauren Douglas, Senior, Forward, 10.1 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.8 (42nd in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.7 (143, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.7 (33, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 37.3 (52, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.8 (119, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.5 (60, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.5 (126, 10)
Rebound Margin: -3.5 (278, 11)
Assists Per Game: 17.3 (10, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.0 (112, 5)


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