Senior Abi Scheid had a breakout year, as her historic three-point shooting was a key factor in the Wildcats’ dominant 26-4 season. While Scheid, like the rest of us, is quarantined at her home in Minnesota, she is preparing to enter the WNBA Draft held virtually on April 17 and is also considering a playing career overseas. Inside NU caught up with Scheid to talk about how she is handling quarantine, what she is doing to prepare for the draft and her hopes for her basketball career ahead.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Inside NU: While you were the 66th ranked player in your high school class, which of course is very impressive, you’ve come a long way to be on the verge of becoming a WNBA athlete. How much do you think you have improved since then, and what drove that improvement?
Scheid: I feel like they [ESPN] were rating me only as a center. Then, going into college, I really developed my shooting game and just being able to play off on the side rather than being a five. Gaining that versatility really propelled me to the top. As for what motivated me, it was probably my teammates and my coaches. They always pushed me and were the ones that wanted me to be the best player I could be. That really had an impact. Playing for a team that really helped me but also just wanting to win and doing everything that I could to win. Whether that was getting better at my inside post moves, getting better at shooting the three ball, just all these little things that I developed, I think it was all just out of my will to get better and my will to win.
Inside NU: Was there a moment during this past season when it occurred to you that you might have a real shot at playing in the pros?
Scheid: There wasn’t one specific moment, but as I saw more success for myself personally, it definitely came into my head. When our season ended the way it did, I told myself that I can’t let my basketball career end this way. I think it’s what it’s going to drive me for this next season.
Inside NU: Draftsite projected you to get picked at the end of the second round, and it listed you as a center. Do you see yourself more as a center or a stretch four at the next level?
Scheid: I would definitely say I see myself more as a stretch four than a five, getting both inside and outside touches. But whatever a team needs me to be, I’ll be that and try my best at it. It’s just up to what their vision is for me.
Inside NU: What do you think you can bring to a team at the next level?
Scheid: I think the versatility of my game will really help me perform at the next level. Being able to shoot and post up on the block can open more opportunity for me to fit within a team’s offense.
Inside NU: What’s the one thing you think you need to improve on the most in order to succeed at the next level?
Scheid: Ball handling, definitely. Just being able to add that to my game. I think that will definitely make me a more multi-dimensional player. With opponents running out to me when I spot up from three, I want to be able to dribble out of that and just do all the little things that make me hard to defend. That’s mainly what I’ve been working on outside in my driveway.
Scheid: I have family and friends in both those places, so that would definitely be really cool to play for either of those teams. But I also think it would be good to experience something new, and I’m honestly up to any opportunity that comes my way.
Inside NU: Who’s your favorite current player in the WNBA?
Scheid: Of course, it has to be Nia Coffey. I’ve always looked up to her, and being able to play with her, it taught me a lot about work ethic and what it takes to be a player at the next level. As for players I don’t have that personal relationship with, I think it’s Elena Delle-Donne, and I would have said Maya Moore, but she took a step back from playing basketball.
Inside NU: Can you just take me through your emotional reaction to having your senior season end the way it did?
Scheid: At first I didn’t really believe it. I was just shocked, and I’m still kind of shocked that it all happened, but I think it has kind of sunk in a little bit more. It’s really unfortunate because I had never been to the NCAA Tournament, and neither have any of my teammates, so to have had that opportunity would have been cool, but I don’t think it takes away from how good this team was. We know we would have gone far in that tournament, so just knowing that gives us a sort of a peace of mind.
Inside NU: How have you spent your quarantine?
Scheid: Well, one thing is I’ve done like 20 puzzles, but what I’ve been doing is kind of like the same routine every day. I workout in the morning, then do a puzzle and just hang out with my family. This has actually given me a lot of time to be with my family, which being a college athlete, you don’t get a lot of. As for shows I’ve been watching, I had been told I should watch “Ozark,” so I started that. I’ve also watched “Grey’s Anatomy,” “This Is Us” and “A Million Little Things.” I like the drama shows.
Inside NU: How have you kept up with your workouts during this time?
Scheid: Basketball wise, I have a hoop in my driveway. I don’t know how much it resembles an actual college court or a professional court, but I’m just making do with it. You can still do ball handling drills and all that kind of stuff, but for working out, I sometimes run around my neighborhood or on the treadmill. I’ve also been really focusing on — not basketball — but more just staying in shape and keeping up my nutrition. I mean, I don’t have a lot of options, don’t have a home gym or anything. I just have to make do with it, but I feel like it’s working.
Inside NU: Lastly, how do you think your Northwestern teammates are going to next year?
Scheid: They’re going to do just as well. They put so much work into every little thing, whether it’s a 6 a.m. lift or a three-hour practice, and they’re going to get everything they deserve. I hope they have an even better season than we did this year. I want them to keep going up, make Northwestern a big name along with all the great programs like Oregon, UConn, South Carolina, Baylor and all of those teams.