Nia Coffey: Career Year Beyond The Numbers

Nia Coffey played on four WNBA teams before landing with the Los Angeles Sparks for the 2021 season. Since joining the Sparks, Coffey’s career has taken off on the court. As a sixth woman, who will often start in big games, the Northwestern Alumna is now averaging career-highs in points (8.3), rebounds (3.8), blocks (1.3), minutes per game (25), and 3-point shooting (41.3).

Coffey really came into her own on the Spark’s longest road trip of the season from Sunday, August 22 to Thursday, Sept. 2. The Sparks played six games competing roughly every other day while traveling to various cities across the east coast. Coffey put up big numbers for the shorthanded roster. She scored 71 points, while shooting 50% from the field and 56% from behind-the-arc. Statistically, this has been the best stretch of Coffey’s career, but she cares far more about helping her teammates, rather than individual success.

“I always try to do whatever is needed. When we were down players, I was moved to the starting lineup,” Coffey said. “Now that I’m back off coming off the bench, I don’t care about that. The goal is to win. I am trying to do what is best for the team.”

While she has improved offensively, Coffey has asserted herself as one of the strongest defenders in the league. She currently ranks top 15 in the league in blocks per game, and has recorded 35 blocks during the 2021 season. From 2017-2020, Coffey had 30 blocks total.

But statistics hardly ever tell the full story; Coffey’s being no different.

Beyond the blocks, steals, and flashy defensive stops is a player defined by sheer grit and hustle on court. Whether that be diving for loose balls, taking that extra charge, or guarding the opponent’s bigger front court player, Coffey is one of the most reliable defenders in the WNBA.

“Nia deserves the credit for the work that she put in, in the offseason,” Sparks Head Coach Derek Fisher says. “She came back really ready to prove that she has more to her game than what a lot of people originally thought she possessed.”

From her days playing at Hopkins High School in Minnetonka, MN, to starting for four years at Northwestern, to bouncing around four different WNBA franchises in just as many years, Coffey remained determined as ever to simply help whichever team she was on win basketball games.

Now, Coffey remains an anchor of the Spark’s dominant defense and integral part of the team’s 2021 season.