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Portage hoops star Nicki Monahan to attend IU Northwest

Indians’ All-Time Scoring Leader joins RedHawks backcourt

Tuesday Apr 16, 2013

Portage High School standout basketball player Nicki Monahan has agreed to continue her education and collegiate basketball career at Indiana University Northwest beginning in the Fall of 2013. 

During her senior year, the 5’ 9” shooting guard grabbed headlines in Northwest Indiana as she approached the Portage Girls Basketball all-time scoring record, eventually surpassing the mark on senior night at Portage High School in January in front of a capacity crowd. Monahan has totaled 1,157 career points for the Indians.

During her senior campaign, Monahan led the Indians to the most wins over the past three seasons, as well as a 13-10 record and 7-7 mark in the rugged Duneland Athletic Conference, averaging 17 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.8 steals and converting on 85 percent of their field goal attempts en route to being named the Post-Tribune’s Player of the Year.

This past season Monahan set a career high when she poured in 32 points on January 31 in a close loss to Lake Central, including a sensational 28 points in the second half.  A week later she equaled that mark, torching state-ranked Merrillville for 32 of her team’s 43 points in a 56-43 defeat on February 7, including four treys in the game in which she also surpassed 1,000 career points.

Earlier in the season Monahan captured the Region Roundball’s 3-Point Shooting Championship on January 1 at the Hammond Civic Center, defeating several of the area’s top shooters. The post-season accolades and awards would follow as Monahan was selected First Team All-Duneland Conference, Times First Team All-Area and was the Indians’ Most Valuable Player for the second straight season.

Monahan participated in the Indiana Top-60 Workout in Indianapolis and will lead a North squad that also includes IU Northwest recruits Caitlin Leath (Hobart) and Bernadette Grabowski (Munster) at the Indiana North South All-Star Game at Lebanon High School on April 20.

At the conclusion of the 2011-12 season, Monahan was selected to the 2012 Indiana Junior North All-Star Team after averaging 15.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.1 steals as a junior. She was selected to the Times All-Area First Team and the Post-Tribune Third Team.

“We began watching Nicki during her sophomore season at Portage knowing that she was coming into her own as a great player and leader,” said IU Northwest Head Coach Ryan Shelton. “She is a very talented and intelligent player who is passionate about basketball and is a true student of the game. She’s also a tremendous student in the classroom and a great teammate and exactly the right person to continue our winning tradition in women’s basketball at IU Northwest.

“Nicki’s high school coach, Chris Siebert, also deserves a lot of credit,” Shelton said. “He has done a tremendous job helping her reach her full potential as a player and student. Despite all of her individual success, Nicki is a team-first player and only cares about what she can do to help her team win.”

Monahan joins a reputable list of previous standout players from Northwest Indiana, including Sharon Houston (Merrillville), Juliette Keller (Kouts),  Jenelle Kapelinski (Lake Central) and Ashley Michalski (Lake Central) and current players Annmarie Keller (Kouts) and Brittany DeWell (Boone Grove) that chose to continue their education and basketball careers close to home playing for their hometown RedHawks.

Monahan will also be reunited with former teammate and Portage standout Brianne Wischman in the RedHawks backcourt next season.

“During my freshman year and her senior year in high school, we were teammates,” said Monahan. “I am looking forward to playing with her again.”

Monahan said she chose IU Northwest largely because of the reputation of its health services programs. She plans to pursue a career in physical therapy, a discipline which will require her to maintain a high grade point average throughout her career in order to be accepted into a graduate program.

“It’s definitely going to be a lot of work,” she said, “and a lot of time management. That’s why going to school close to home will be good.”

Monahan said that attending class and playing basketball close to home, in an environment with smaller class sizes was an important factor in choosing IU Northwest.

“My family and friends can still watch me play,” she said.

Also an outstanding soccer player, Monahan earned four varsity letters in soccer while at Portage and was named the Indians’ Most Valuable Player in both her junior and senior seasons.  Additionally, Monahan was a member of the National Honor Society in both 2011 and 2012 and is active in her community, having participated in several community service initiatives including the Boys and Girls Club and a volunteer coach for YMCA Youth Basketball.

“IU Northwest is a great institution and we’re thrilled that after a competitive recruitment period that Nicki felt our university was the best place for her to continue her education and basketball career. Her friends and family will be able to closely follow her career and attend nearly all of her games over the next four years.  The support of our student-athletes’ families have been an integral part of our program’s success over the years,” added Shelton.

Monahan will study in the Pre-Professional Health Studies Program for Physical Therapy in IU Northwest’s College of Health and Human Services and will wear #22 next season for the RedHawks.

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