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Women’s Basketball: Northwestern honors Jordan Hankins in win over Indiana

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Amber Jamison joins her teammates in a huddle. The sophomore wore Jordan Hankins' No. 5 jersey in Saturday's win over Indiana.

Amber Jamison joins her teammates in a huddle. The sophomore wore Jordan Hankins' No. 5 jersey in Saturday's win over Indiana.

Allie Goulding/The Daily Northwestern

Allie Goulding/The Daily Northwestern

Amber Jamison joins her teammates in a huddle. The sophomore wore Jordan Hankins' No. 5 jersey in Saturday's win over Indiana.

Max Gelman, Reporter

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Women’s Basketball


In the wake of Jordan Hankins’ death Monday, coach Joe McKeown said he shared a story with the team about recruiting Hankins out of high school.

“I was walking down the hallways of her high school in Indianapolis. Everyone’s talking to her,” McKeown said. “There’s this group aside, and they all said, ‘Jordan, Jordan, Jordan,’ and it was the special needs class she worked with. I said, ‘J, who are those guys?’ She said, ‘Coach, those are my friends. They’re my friends.’ I’ll never forget that moment with her.”

Northwestern captured an emotional 80-67 win over Indiana on Saturday in its first game following Hankins’ death, which was ruled a suicide by the Cook County Medical examiner. The team’s warm-up shirts had Hankins’ name on the back, and every player wore a “JH” patch on their jersey.

Sophomore guard Amber Jamison, whom McKeown described as “unbelievably close” with Hankins, donned Hankins’ No. 5 jersey in her first career start.

Senior guard Christen Inman said the decision to play Saturday after postponing a Wednesday matchup with Minnesota was about making Hankins proud.

“We knew that Jordan just loved the game,” Inman said. “At the end of the game after winning, we just felt like we won this game for her.”

Over the past week, Inman said the team has vowed to stay together to support each other and cope with Monday’s tragedy. She said that the team’s three captains — senior guard Ashley Deary, senior forward Nia Coffey and herself — have kept their doors open to their teammates.

“If anybody didn’t want to stay in their dorm or alone, they were welcome at our houses. Even if we were doing nothing together, we were just together,” Inman said. “Just simple stuff — you know, watching movies — and as long as we were one collective body it didn’t matter what we were doing or saying, even if it was silent. I just think us being in a room together was our support system.”

The student body also came out in support of the team. Members of the NU community — including a large contingent of student-athletes and coaches — nearly filled both student sections at Welsh-Ryan Arena, a rarity for women’s games.

Deary said it was good to see the students in the crowd given the circumstances.

“It’s been a hard week for our team and the Northwestern family, and we were all there for her today,” Deary said. “That’s what this game was about.”

Deary, who led all scorers with 18 points, energized the crowd throughout Saturday’s game. Even though the Hoosiers crept back into the contest, tying the score at 42 in the third quarter, the Wildcats came together to overcome yet another challenge.

“When you’re in a game, you have ups and downs, just like in life you have ups and downs,” Deary said. “It’s about overcoming those downs together, and that’s what we did as a team. We pulled together, we withstood the storm and we came out on top.”

Email: maxgelman2018@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @MaxGelman

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