Women’s Basketball: Cats come in at No. 24 in preseason rankings


Daily file photo by Luke Vogelzang

Junior guard Ashley Deary breaks down a defender. Deary is one of four returning starters for the Cats, who start this year at No. 24 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

Khadrice Rollins, Sports Editor

Women’s Basketball

Northwestern came out of nowhere last year to take the Big Ten by storm and finish tied for fourth in the conference en route to earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament. This year, the Wildcats will be taking nobody by surprise.

NU earned the No. 24 spot in the USA Today Coaches Poll preseason rankings, which came out on Thursday. Last season, the Cats didn’t crack the Top 25 in the Coaches Poll until the last week of the regular season, although they did gain recognition in the AP Poll two weeks prior.

NU started and finished its season strong last year. It won 11-straight contests to start the season and won eight consecutive games to go undefeated in February before falling to Maryland in its regular season finale.

The team is returning four of its starters from the 2014-2015 campaign in junior guards Ashley Deary and Christen Inman, junior forward Nia Coffey and senior guard Maggie Lyon. Senior forward Lauren Douglas, who was a key contributor off the bench last year, is also returning, meaning the team brings back its top five scorers from the previous season.

The Cats have already made it known that the success from last year was not enough, and they are hungry for more.

NU was recently projected the third best team in the Big Ten by media rankings, and was pegged No. 12 in the country in Athlon Sports Magazine’s preseason rankings.

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Twitter: @KhadriceRollins