GARY | Nicki Monahan is one of seven freshmen on the IU-Northwest women's basketball team, but the impact the Portage grad has made this season isn't typical of what most first-year college players bring to the court.
“The team has been really good to me, and there's great senior leadership,” Monahan said. “They just kind of took me under their wing.”
Monahan is the only freshman in IUN's regular starting lineup and came into Tuesday's game against Calumet College as the team's second-leading scorer at 15 points per game.
Monahan's 1-for-8 shooting effort with two points showed anyone can have a bad half offensively, but her five first half rebounds and two steals helped keep the RedHawks afloat en route to a 58-46 win over the Crimson Wave.
Monahan ended her day with nine points after a much stronger offensive second half. Megan Holland led IUN with 21 points, while Boone Grove grad Brittany DeWell added 12 points.
RedHawks coach Ryan Shelton said his team is more balanced this season, and the emergence of offensive threats such as Monahan to complement Holland has been essential. He added that the defense has also improved greatly.
“She can attack the basket, she has a mid-range game and she can shoot the three,” Shelton said of Monahan. “She's really a great player and she's made our offense more versatile.”
IUN (6-3) jumped out to a 6-0 lead to open the game and held the Crimson Wave scoreless for almost the first five minutes, but the RedHawks were unable to complement their defensive efforts with an effective offensive attack, going just 8-for-27 from the field in the first half with a 23-22 lead at the break.
The RedHawks caught fire in the second half, shooting 14-for-23 from the field.
“We just weren't after it in the first half,” Shelton said. “We got very stagnant on offense and took bad shots. We found some open people inside (in the second half), and that was the difference in the game.”
Crystal Daniels led Calumet College with 16 points, while Highland grad Rebecca Arredondo added 11.