A new asset to NIU women’s basketball

By Jimmy Johnson

Kathi Bennett had to do some late recruiting for the NIU women’s basketball team this summer.

The Huskies’ first-year head coach started searching for players after freshman forward Jenna Thorp tore her ACL in late July.

“I was just asking anybody around the office that knew of anybody that played,” Bennett said.

Kim Davis’ name came up through the Huskies’ academic adviser, Gregory Isaac, so Bennett pursued the former Eastern Michigan forward.

Davis hadn’t played competitive basketball for almost a year. The only time she had grappled a basketball was during recreational shoot arounds.

From their first conversation over the phone, Bennett was excited about adding Davis to the roster.

“I could just tell the minute we talked on the phone that she had something,” Bennett said.

Initial meetings between the two laid the groundwork of what Bennett had wanted from Davis and the direction NIU was heading.

At first Davis was hesitant about suiting up again.

“She kept scaring me,” Bennett said. “She came in a couple times and said ‘I’m not sure [if I want to play]’ and I just wanted her to say ‘yes, yes I am all in.'”

Eventually, Bennett sold Davis on becoming a member of the Huskies.

Davis stated that receiving an academic scholarship and the opportunity to revitalize her basketball career were major selling points for her joining the team.

“After I came on campus and I met with [Coach Bennett] I knew she was a coach that I really wanted to play for,” Davis said. “She was giving me a chance so I jumped on.”

While all of the Huskies were in DeKalb training all summer, Davis arrived late.

It didn’t take long for the Evanston native to regain her basketball stamina.

“We had one of our hardest workouts in that first week,” Bennett said. “She gutted it out and made it and I knew we had something special that day.”

Now, Davis has cracked the Huskies starting lineup, lining up at power forward and providing a post scoring option early on this season.

Through three games, the redshirt sophomore is averaging 11.7 points and 4.7 rebounds.

“I attribute that kind of stuff to having a good chemistry on the team,” Davis said. “Knowing my role in what I need to help the team.”

Even though Davis was away from basketball for a year, Bennett can tell that she’s jovial to be back on the hardwood floor.

“She has a joy about her when she plays the game,” Bennett said. “You can tell how much she loves the game; it’s obvious.”