Sports


The Old College Try Northington, 29, Tries To Help Whitworth To Another Title

Why does Whitworth women’s basketball coach Helen Higgs like having Sherri Northington, her 29-year-old starting center, on her roster?

Well, Northington’s presence is appreciated because she provides mature leadership to her teammates that few college players can give.

And at the same time, Northington, like Higgs, 33, has the ability to provide comic relief in stressful situations.

But maybe more than anything else, Higgs loves having Northington because, compared to the rest of the young Bucs, Higgs and Northington are nothing but a couple of psychedelic relics.

“With Sherri here, I have someone around who listens to the same oldies tunes I listen to,” Higgs said. “Disco … the Eagles … I finished from high school in 1980, she finished in ‘83. We’ll hear a song on the radio and flash back to what we were doing the first time we ever heard it.”

Nothing but a couple of Super Freaks.

Northington, who had spent eight years in the Air Force Reserves, transferred from Spokane Falls CC before the 1994-95 season.

The 6-foot post player will be an integral part of a Whitworth team that is shooting for a second straight Northwest Conference of Independent Colleges title, as well as another trip to the NAIA Division II playoffs.

Last year, the Pirates advanced to the second round of the playoffs before losing to Mount Mercy 63-60.

Northington, the team captain, seems up to the task of helping the Pirates, with nine underclassmen and no seniors, make another run at the playoffs.

However, unlike most teams, Whitworth has a really wily veteran.

Having Northington on the court is almost like Higgs being on the floor herself. She even sounds like a coach.

“Our expectations haven’t changed from what they were at the end of last season. We want to win the league and return to the playoffs,” Northington said. “I feel real good about our team. We’re going to be good and competitive, but we have a lot of work to do.”

And, in her best coach-speak, she said: “This is probably the hardest-working group of people I’ve ever been around on the court.”

Northington’s quotes are a lot like her play on the basketball court - not flashy, not exciting, just consistent and diplomatic.

And at her age, the wear and tear of competition against players eight to 12 years her junior isn’t a factor. “I don’t really feel any different than any anybody else,” she said. “The only difference between me and the younger players is that it just takes me a little bit longer to warm up.”

Northington was born and raised in Spokane; however, she graduated from Rogers High School in Puyallup.

And it was her family that provided the blue-collar work ethic Northington takes onto the basketball court.

“My parents were real disciplined people,” she said. “The way I work is just second nature.”

But there is another side of Northington, according to Higgs. “She supplies a lot of the team’s goofiness, too.”

However, when it’s time to get down to work, Northington provides a physical and mental toughness which has a way of rubbing off on her teammates.

“She’s a true competitor,” Higgs said. “She can rise to the occasion and take the game to another level because she likes the challenge. That is at the core of her game.”

More often than not, the team leader in basketball is the point guard. The low post doesn’t dictate offensive continuity very much. But every now and then, Northington flat out wants the ball.

“She wants the ball in clutch situations,” Higgs said. “There were times last year when she just took over certain moments in games and established us with the kind of momentum we might have needed to get a win.”

Now it’s just a matter of Northington and the Pirates putting on their Boogie Shoes and getting down to business.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: WHITWORTH The roster and schedule of the Whitworth women’s basketball team, 19-12 overall last year, 10-2 in the Northwest Conference of Independent Conferences.

ROSTERS Name Ht Position Year Hometown Kolea Andreas-Feeny 5-3 Guard Freshman Kaneohe, Hawaii Courtney Carr 5-8 Guard Freshman Spokane Kristen Davis 5-5 Guard Sophomore Curlew, Wash. Malie Elliot 5-11 Center Sophomore Honolulu, Hawaii Rebecca Moore 5-5 Guard Junior Kalispell, Mont. Sherri Northington 6-0 Center Junior Puyallup, Wash. Lori Patterson 5-10 Forward Freshman Honolulu, Hawaii Rikki Peterson 5-7 Guard Junior Moscow, Idaho Jennifer Ratcliff 5-9 Forward Freshman Seattle Courtney Riddle 5-6 Forward Sophomore Deer Park Sabrina Sanowski 5-7 Forward Freshman Deary, Idaho Andrea Sherer 5-9 Forward Sophomore Payette, Idaho Jennifer Tissue 5-8 Guard Junior Spokane Kathryn Werner 5-11 Center Freshman Pullman

SCHEDULE Nov. 24-26 Sarsfield Classic (Montana Tech) TBA Nov. 30 at Seattle 7 p.m. Dec. 1 at Western Washington 6 p.m. Dec. 9 vs. Lewis-Clark State 7 p.m. Dec. 15 vs. Carroll College 6 p.m. Jan. 6 at Lewis-Clark State 7:30 p.m. Jan. 8 vs. Seattle Pacific 7 p.m. Jan. 12 vs. Willamette 6 p.m. Jan. 13 vs. Linfield 6 p.m. Jan. 16 vs. Whitman 6 p.m. Jan. 19 at Pacific 6 p.m. Jan. 20 at George Fox 6 p.m. Jan. 26 at Pacific Lutheran 6 p.m. Jan. 27 at Lewis and Clark 6 p.m. Feb. 2 vs. George Fox 6 p.m. Feb. 3 vs. Pacific 6 p.m. Feb. 6 at Whitman 6 p.m. Feb. 9 at Linfield 6 p.m. Feb. 10 at Willamette 6 p.m. Feb. 16 vs. Lewis and Clark 6 p.m. Feb. 17 vs. Pacific Lutheran 6 p.m. Feb. 21 NCIC Playoffs at highest seed TBA Feb. 24 NCIC Playoffs at highest seed TBA

This sidebar appeared with the story: WHITWORTH The roster and schedule of the Whitworth women’s basketball team, 19-12 overall last year, 10-2 in the Northwest Conference of Independent Conferences.

ROSTERS Name Ht Position Year Hometown Kolea Andreas-Feeny 5-3 Guard Freshman Kaneohe, Hawaii Courtney Carr 5-8 Guard Freshman Spokane Kristen Davis 5-5 Guard Sophomore Curlew, Wash. Malie Elliot 5-11 Center Sophomore Honolulu, Hawaii Rebecca Moore 5-5 Guard Junior Kalispell, Mont. Sherri Northington 6-0 Center Junior Puyallup, Wash. Lori Patterson 5-10 Forward Freshman Honolulu, Hawaii Rikki Peterson 5-7 Guard Junior Moscow, Idaho Jennifer Ratcliff 5-9 Forward Freshman Seattle Courtney Riddle 5-6 Forward Sophomore Deer Park Sabrina Sanowski 5-7 Forward Freshman Deary, Idaho Andrea Sherer 5-9 Forward Sophomore Payette, Idaho Jennifer Tissue 5-8 Guard Junior Spokane Kathryn Werner 5-11 Center Freshman Pullman

SCHEDULE Nov. 24-26 Sarsfield Classic (Montana Tech) TBA Nov. 30 at Seattle 7 p.m. Dec. 1 at Western Washington 6 p.m. Dec. 9 vs. Lewis-Clark State 7 p.m. Dec. 15 vs. Carroll College 6 p.m. Jan. 6 at Lewis-Clark State 7:30 p.m. Jan. 8 vs. Seattle Pacific 7 p.m. Jan. 12 vs. Willamette 6 p.m. Jan. 13 vs. Linfield 6 p.m. Jan. 16 vs. Whitman 6 p.m. Jan. 19 at Pacific 6 p.m. Jan. 20 at George Fox 6 p.m. Jan. 26 at Pacific Lutheran 6 p.m. Jan. 27 at Lewis and Clark 6 p.m. Feb. 2 vs. George Fox 6 p.m. Feb. 3 vs. Pacific 6 p.m. Feb. 6 at Whitman 6 p.m. Feb. 9 at Linfield 6 p.m. Feb. 10 at Willamette 6 p.m. Feb. 16 vs. Lewis and Clark 6 p.m. Feb. 17 vs. Pacific Lutheran 6 p.m. Feb. 21 NCIC Playoffs at highest seed TBA Feb. 24 NCIC Playoffs at highest seed TBA



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