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Lady Wildcats ready to bounce back
The Northwestern University Wildcats women’s basketball team’s 2011-2012 season was a “let down,” according to senior forward Dannielle Diamant.
This season, she expects her team’s newfound chemistry to provide the boost it needs to contend for a Big Ten championship. During this past summer, Northwestern travelled across the globe for their Italian Tour.
Head coach Joe McKeown and Diamant agreed that the trip was very beneficial for the team on and off the court, and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“The culture part of it and the team bonding part, you just can’t replace,” McKeown said.
The NCAA allows teams to travel and play outside the country once every four years. While in Italy, the Wildcats won all four of their games. During the tour, sophomore guard Alex Cohen and junior guard Meghan McKeown impressed the Wildcats’ head coach.
“[They are] coming off tough years with injuries,” McKeown said of the two guards. “They really played well in Italy.”
He also said Cohen could play multiple positions and both players are capable of shooting for a high percentage. Last year, the Wildcats shot only 39 percent from the field, but McKeown expects that to improve over the course of the upcoming season.
The Wildcats’ familiarity with one another will also help the team improve. Karly Roser is back at point guard for her sophomore year. Her freshman year she averaged nearly 35 minutes a game, which McKeown described as “sink or swim.”
McKeown said he has been impressed with the leadership role she has assumed at practice so far this offseason.
“[Roser is] shooting the ball a lot better, and she’s running our team a lot better,” McKeown said. “She’s kind of taking control of practice, which you want to see as a coach.”
Roser will also benefit from having two seniors, forward Kendall Hackney and Diamant, returning to the team. Last season, Hackney averaged 13 points and 7 rebounds and Diamant averaged 15 points and 6 rebounds per game.
Diamant, who is 6’4”, has a presence in the paint and can sink outside shots, is confident that the Wildcats will be much more successful this season because of the team’s relationship.
“We’re all hungry,” Diamant said. “We all want to have a postseason, and we all want a Big Ten championship.”