Women’s Basketball: Northwestern nabs No. 7 seed, will face Arkansas in NCAA Tournament


Daily file photo by Luke Vogelzang

Northwestern received the No. 7 seed in the Oklahoma City region on Monday. The Wildcats return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1997.

Kevin Casey, Sports Editor

Women’s Basketball

After a historic season, Northwestern has finally made it back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 18 years.

The Wildcats (23-8, 12-6 Big Ten) on Monday were named a No. 7 seed in the Oklahoma City region, marking their first appearance in the Big Dance since 1997. NU will face off against No. 10 seed Arkansas (17-13, 6-10 SEC) in the opening round on Friday in Waco, Texas.

The Cats will enter the NCAA Tournament coming off a campaign that set marks the team hasn’t reached in decades. NU captured 23 wins for the first time since the 1995-1996 season, with the 1978-79 school record of 25 victories still within reach.

The team also made it back into the Associated Press top-25 poll for the first time since 1996, and the Cats currently rank No. 22 there.

And NU had two prolonged winning streaks, a 10-game stretch to start the season and an eight-game one in conference play, the first time since 1979-1980 that the Cats had multiple eight-plus-game win streaks in the same season.

The Razorbacks played a difficult schedule in a conference that contains five of the top 21 teams in the nation. Arkansas lost four of its last six games, bowing out in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament.

Arkansas is led by sophomores forward Jessica Jackson and guard Kelsey Brooks, who each averaged more than 14 points per game.

The Cats have been known for their offensive balance and defensive prowess in the 2014-2015 season but are led by sophomore Nia Coffey, an All-Big Ten First Team selection, as well as sophomore guard Ashley Deary and junior forward Maggie Lyon, All-Big Ten honorable mention choices.

This will be coach Joe McKeown’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament with NU. McKeown previously took George Washington to the Big Dance seven times, and as far as the Elite Eight in 1997.

If the Cats beat Arkansas, they will likely play No. 2 seed Baylor in the next round.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @KevinCasey19