#20 Northwestern Women's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Northwestern Wildcats
Overall Rank: #20
Conference Rank: #4 Big Ten
 Northwestern Logo
Northwestern was well on their way to their first NCAA Tournament since 2015. It would have been just their second appearance under Coach Joe McKeown, who took over the program in 2008. Of course the tournament never happened, but the Wildcats still won a share of the Big Ten title for the first time ever and the 2019-2020 campaign will be remembered in Evanston for a long time. The lack of experience in the frontcourt with the departures of Abi Scheid and Abbie Wolf may keep Northwestern from winning another Big Ten title, but the backcourt should carry them to the NCAA Tournament.
2019-20 Record: 26-4, 16-2
Coach: Joe McKeown
Coach Record: 175-160 at Northwestern, 684-334 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Abi Scheid, Forward/Center, 11.5 ppg
Abbie Wolf, Forward/Center, 11.3 ppg
Byrdy Galernik, Guard, 2.8 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Lindsey Pulliam, Senior, Guard, 18.8 ppg
Veronica Burton, Junior, Guard, 11.6 ppg
Sydney Wood, Junior, Guard, 5.1 ppg
Jordan Hamilton, Senior, Guard, 5.0 ppg
Courtney Shaw, Junior, Forward. 3.9 ppg
Laya Hartman, Sophomore, Guard, 0.8 ppg
Key New Players
Jasmine McWilliams, Freshman, Guard
Anna Morris, Freshman, Forward
Paige Mott, Freshman, Forward
Lindsey Pulliam has led the team in scoring for three years. She will make it four in 2020-2021. Last year the senior guard averaged 18.8 points and added 2.3 assists and 4.7 rebounds. She can score from anywhere on the floor and the opposition has had three years to figure out how to contain Pulliam with very little success. Juniors Veronica Burton and Sydney Wood will again join Pulliam in the starting backcourt. Burton is the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year after totaling an impressive 100 steals last season. But Burton is not just about defense; she also was second on the team with 11.6 points per game and led the Wildcats with 5.1 assists. Wood is also a very good ballhandler and ranked third in the conference with a 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio. Wood will not put up big numbers, but she is a key piece to the backcourt. The frontcourt returns just one contributor in junior Courtney Shaw. She averaged fewer than a dozen minutes per game, but was relatively productive in that time. Northwestern will rely heavily on incoming freshmen Anna Morris and Paige Mott. Morris is one of the best recruits Northwestern has had in the last decade. If that leads to immediate frontcourt productivity, this is a team that will stay right in the mix for a Big Ten title.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.9 (60th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 57.1 (31, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.9 (38, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 37,5 (64, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.9 (165, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.0 (26, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 60.3 (205, 10)
Rebound Margin: 0.6 (168, 10)
Assists Per Game: 18.2 (9, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.0 (12, 1)
Madness 2020 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#59 Anna Morris
#122 Jasmine McWilliams