PNW welcomes WNBA player as new women’s basketball assistant coach


Kahleah Copper

Chicago Sky guard Kahleah Copper has been named the newest assistant coach for the women’s basketball program.

Copper is a fifth-year WNBA pro and one of the stars on the Chicago Sky roster. This year she has been the team’s second-leading scorer – with 14.8 points per game – and finished among the WNBA leaders in several statistical categories. Her breakout performance helped the 12-10 Sky reach the first round of the playoffs in the COVID-19-abbreviated season. They lost to the Connecticut Sun.

“I’m super excited to join the PNW family,” Copper said. “I’ve had so many amazing assistant coaches who have been a big part of my life and now I want to be that for these young women.”

Copper played with Head Coach Courtney Locke at Rutgers University, where the two made a combined five trips to the NCAA Tournament. Copper led Rutgers to the 2015 NCAA Tournament and earned MVP in the 2014 WNIT title run.

“I’m thrilled to add Kahleah as an assistant coach,” Locke said. “We are cut from the same cloth, which makes this an easy transition. Kahleah’s experience in the WNBA gives her instant credibility and the ability to relate to our team.

“I’m excited for our student-athletes and the opportunity they will get to learn from one the best first-hand,” she said.

Their former Rutgers coach, C. Vivian Stringer, said Copper will make a great addition to the team.

“I am so proud of Kahleah for becoming an assistant coach at Purdue University Northwest,” she said. “She has proven herself to be a prolific basketball player at the highest level of the game, and her knowledge and experience as a player will certainly benefit the student athletes at Purdue University Northwest.”

Copper was selected seventh overall in the 2016 WNBA draft after finishing third on Rutgers’ all-time career scoring list with 1,872 points. She was drafted by the Washington Mystics in the 2016 WNBA draft and traded to Chicago the following year.

The PNW women’s basketball program recorded its highest win total in the NCAA Division II era during Locke’s first season as head coach in 2019-20.

PNW is slated to open the season at home against Michigan Tech on Jan. 8. The Pride will play an 18-game regular season schedule against Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opponents.