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Women's basketball

Bridgette Mitchell brings energetic approach to Northeastern women’s basketball

Women's basketball coach Bridgette Mitchell comes to Northeastern after two years as an assistant at Pitt, where she built a reputation as one of the nation’s best recruiters.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

One thing stands out about Bridgette Mitchell: energy.

Northeastern’s women’s basketball coach, who was named to the post in April, hopes that bringing her high enthusiasm and positivity to the Huskies will help them rebound from a 7-13 season last winter.

“The team takes on the head coach’s energy, and we are excited,” said Mitchell, whose players refer to as “Coach B.” “We see this as an opportunity to really take this program to new heights.”

Mitchell takes over from Kelly Cole, whose contract was not renewed after seven years on Huntington Avenue with a 53-71 Colonial Athletic Association record. For the last two years, Mitchell was an assistant at Pittsburgh, where she built a reputation as one of the nation’s best recruiters, getting the Panthers some of their best-ranked recruits in a decade. Before that, she spent three years at James Madison, where her team made the WNIT every year.

As a player, Mitchell helped lead Duke to an ACC championship and the Elite Eight in 2010, playing 131 games in her college career. She also played overseas professionally for a few seasons before changing course toward a coaching career.


With all of that experience, Mitchell earns respect from her players. She has been in their shoes, and she has also seen what it takes to build successful teams: a love of the game and an attitude to match.

“Coach B brings energy and passion for the game to every practice,” said Pittsburgh coach Lance White in an email. “She is a great teacher of the game and that shows in her presence on the court.”

“Change is hard, but honestly it was kind of a smooth transition,” said senior guard Kendall Currence. “Coach B pushes everyone. We have a standard and I feel like we know what it is now. It’s going to continue to be met.”


It will be a rebuilding year for Northeastern, which lost last year’s leading scorers Stella Clark, who graduated after racking up 1,069 career points, and Mide Oriyomi, who transferred to Purdue after a season that saw her average 11.6 points a game.

A key piece to make up for those scoring losses will be Currence, a senior guard who averaged 10.7 points per game in the COVID-19 shortened 2020-21 season. The Falmouth Academy graduate’s 11 double-digit scoring performances were a highlight in a tough season for the Huskies.

“We did lose a ton of scoring,” admitted Mitchell. “It’s in the paperwork. But we have Kendall returning and the addition of other pieces that did not contribute last year. Some were injured last year, and they have high expectations. They came out like the rest of the team and hit the ground running.”

One of those comeback players is Katie May, a senior guard who only saw action in one game last year. May had two solid seasons, especially in rebounding, and has been putting in the work with her new coach. Northeastern also added two transfers: Donna Ntambue, a guard from Utah, and forward Emily Calabrese from St. Bonaventure. They will also seek further contributions from sophomore Maddie Vizza, who set the program’s single-season record in 3-point field goal percentage last year at 44 percent and was a three-time CAA Rookie of the Week.

Those are the pieces that are coming together for Mitchell, who has told her team that it will take not only an effort from every player, but a concentration on defense as well.


“Our defense is going to generate a lot of our offense, so we’re going to get after it,” said Mitchell. “The team has bought into that.”

The Huskies have also bought into Mitchell’s energy.

“Before every practice we always have music playing and Coach is always dancing,” said Currence. “I feel like we’re just always hyper at practice all the time. Clapping and cheering for each other should always be a given, and that’s just our standard. It can only get better from there.”

Seniors Currence and May are not just getting an injection of positivity from their coach this season, but are receiving an extra point of advice from Mitchell: Leave a legacy. What can they do to ensure that they are leaving Northeastern women’s basketball better than they found it?

“I challenge the seniors,” said Mitchell. “We talk about leaving a legacy all the time. How do you want to be remembered? Every day is how you create that legacy. It’s not just on game day, you know, when it’s time to show up, it’s more of every day. How are you creating the legacy that you would like to leave?”