Updates with Mel Daley and her Northwestern Basketball Career


Julia Rotiroti and Tess Iosepovici, contributing writers

After failing to realize that Melanie Daily, a freshman guard for Northwestern University’s Women’s basketball team, is on Central Time, we accidentally called her an hour early as she was getting back to her dorm from practice. We had a good laugh about this mix-up and proceeded to catch up on her recent times at Northwestern. Since she balances both basketball and academics, we asked her about her experience at the rigorous school

“It’s definitely hard,” said Mel. “This school is very very challenging, I think college as a whole is. You kinda get used to it, and I have people on my team that help to tell us how to make a schedule, time management, all of that.” She also mentioned that Hastings helped prepare her for this adjustment, adding, “I learned a lot of that in high school because our varsity games were late, so I’d come home and be doing homework till 11 or 12.”

The well-rounded Northwestern team, with its 13-8 overall record and two game winning streak to start off February, has a strong dynamic. Mel said, “We’re all super, super close. I mean we hang out all the time, we’re always together, because once the season starts, you’re almost always in the locker room; you’re never really at your dorm or at your apartment. It’s either school or locker room, and most of the time you’re at the locker room, which builds a lot of bonds.” This closeness greatly affects their playing;  as Mel emphasized, “Definitely having the chemistry off the court helps on the court.” 

After getting sidetracked updating Mel on the Hastings news, we wanted to hear some of Mel’s goals. She is continuously pushing herself to be better both academically and on the court.

In thinking about her growth as a player, Mel said, “I think basketball IQ is a big thing, having intelligence on the court, knowing when to pass, when to shoot, when to score.” This is something that Mel has had to adjust to, as she transitions from playing in a small division at Hastings to a Division 1, Big 10 school.

“It’s a really big jump from playing in a school like Hastings to a Big 10 school like this,” Mel said, “so you learn a lot about how the game changes. The girls here in college are faster, stronger, so some of the passes you could make in high school you can’t really make now; some of the shots you could take in high school you can’t take now. Knowing when to do certain things is something that I think I have gotten better at.” 

Even though it’s early in the season, Melanie has already made some incredible memories. Her most memorable moment was the game Northwestern University played against the University of Iowa. She said, “We hadn’t practiced for like 12 days…and then when we came back and only practiced for 2 days or something like that and then we went to go play them, they were ranked #22, and we dropped them off of the rankings.” She mentioned that she and her teammates had just come back from all having Covid-19, so winning that game was a big deal and it was really fun. 

In making the transition to college, Melanie continues to rely on her parents to motivate and support her.  She said, “They’ve always motivated me to go for anything I can go for and to dream and achieve and all of that.” She said that they push her to be the best version of herself and that she goes to them about everything. 

When asked what advice she would give her high school self, Melanie laughed and told us not only what she would tell herself if she could, but she also gave us some advice. Melanie said she would have told herself to enjoy it and that “the crap that parents or adults say that it goes by so fast is so true.” She misses high school and the memories she made with some of her best friends. She acknowledges that college is fun, and being away from home is nice, but college is a lot and it can be challenging to adapt. She then told us, “So enjoy being in high school, being with best friends, enjoy growing up. Because the second you get outside, as much fun as it is, it’s a huge change. Just, like, enjoy it.” Melanie added that once you go to college you’re going to realize how easy you had it, and you’re going to miss high school. She ended by reiterating, “So the crap that the parents and the adults say is right.”

We cannot wait to see Mel prosper and do amazing things in her basketball and college career! It was so fun to interview her and we are extremely thankful that she was able to answer these questions!