Northwestern women’s basketball will be looking to reload after Nia Coffey, Ashley Deary and Christen Inman all graduated after the 2016-17 season. The Wildcats will be looking for its next core of young players to take the team back to the NCAA Tournament.
So far, Joe McKeown’s Class of 2017 is very guard-heavy, which makes sense after Deary and Inman’s departures. According to ESPN’s rankings, Northwestern has two top 100 recruits and another three-star guard. This is good enough for ESPN to rank Northwestern as having the 17th-best class in the country.
Lindsey Pulliam, a four-star guard from Maryland, is the best recruit in the class. She’s a deceptively quick, 5-foot-10 combo guard who could definitely see time at small forward depending on the situation. She has a great shooting stroke and can create off the dribble and in the lane, as you can see in her highlight video from the 2017 season. She has a good midrange game and could become deadly if she develops a three-point shot.
Pulliam will be in the mix as heiress apparent to Coffey in terms of scoring burden. She played against very tough competition in Maryland and impressed there. Northwestern desperately needs Pulliam to pan out as an offensive and defensive force.
Northwestern also landed Jordan Hamilton, a 5-foot-7 lead-guard from Frisco, Texas. In high school, she excelled at distributing and scoring. Her stock has been rising since Northwestern recruited her, and she has the ability to both score and run the floor as a point guard. With Northwestern stocked with guards in this class, we shall she if the four-star recruit fits in at point guard or shooting guard, but she should get some playing time regardless.
Lauryn Satterwhite is a 5-foot-7 true point guard from Arizona. She is probably just outside the Top 100 in ESPN’s rankings, and can hold her own with Northwestern’s other two recruits if healthy. She scored at will in high school, but tore her ACL in June 2015 and hasn’t been quite the same since. Her brother, Cameron Satterwhite, plays at Loyola and also had to recover from a serious knee injury.
Lastly, Northwestern added Veronica Burton, another guard from Boston. She has an impressive Northwestern lineage: her father Steve Burton played quarterback in the 1980s for Northwestern and she is the granddaughter of legendary running back Ron Burton, who is in the Northwestern Sports Hall of Fame. Burton averaged 20.5 points and 5.7 assists for Newton South high school.
Again, this is going to be Joe McKeown’s most important class since landing Coffey, Deary and Inman. Northwestern will have an almost entirely revamped starting lineup next year, and the Class of 2017 will have a shot to make an impact almost immediately. The only returning point guard on the roster is Byrdy Galernik, who backed up Ashley Deary last year in brief stretches and averaged 6.3 minutes per game. That spot is wide open, presumably.