It’s that time of year again. Even with football season in full swing the women’s basketball season is right around the corner. To kick off our 2020-2021 coverage of the women’s team, we will preview each player on Northwestern’s roster. First up is senior guard Jordan Hamilton.
Who she is
Senior; guard; 5-foot-8; Frisco, TX
18.6 minutes per game; 5.0 points per game; 1.8 rebounds per game; 2.1 assists per game, 30 steals; .336 FG%, .259 3FG%, .636 FT%
Hamilton’s junior campaign certainly didn’t start the way she hoped it would. After averaging over 25 minutes in her first two seasons, she was ready to step into a large role in the starting lineup. That plan quickly changed when she missed a few games due to injury, and by the time she was healthy, Sydney Wood had solidified her spot in the in the starting lineup as Hamilton’s replacement. The two guards split time throughout the season with Hamilton most often coming off the bench as the sixth man.
While she saw fewer minutes overall as she battled an injury and struggled to find consistency at times, she stepped up when her team needed her at many points throughout the season and posted some impressive stat lines once she returned to game action. In the nonconference, she recorded 11 points, three rebounds and two steals against UT Arlington and had 12 points, five steals, four assists and two rebounds against East Carolina. Against Nebraska later in the season, she had another standout game with 10 points and four assists, but her best game of the season came when the rest of the team seemed to have gone cold in the Big Ten tournament matchup with Michigan. Hamilton came in off the bench in Indy and recorded a season-high 14 points, three rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal and kept her team in the game down the stretch.
While 2019-2020 wasn’t the perfect year for Hamilton, she is set to make a big comeback in 2020-2021.
Hamilton is a spark plug. Whether it’s her ability to make big shots, push the pace or encourage her teammates, she is a leader on and off of the court. Especially going into her senior season, the team will lean on the shooting guard to fill the leadership void left by Wolf and Scheid.
Hamilton has the ability to do a bit of everything. She isn’t phenomenal in any one area, but she can shoot, drive, pass and defend at an above average level. With a team full of specialized players (Wood and Burton as defenders, Pulliam as a scorer, etc.) having a player that can do it all is a great weapon for Joe McKeown to have in his pocket.
Her biggest challenge last year was a lack of consistency, but again, it was due to her lingering injury. Her shooting percentage dipped, and she seemed less explosive due to her ailing leg.
The biggest question for her going forward will be her shooting. If she doesn’t rebound with an offseason to recover, her game from beyond the arc will emerge as a weakness. But Hamilton has the ability to hit shots, and if she’s healthy, she will likely resume her role as a consistent and reliable scorer and defender, and no glaring weakness will emerge.
With an elongated offseason to recover, the expectation is that Hamilton will be at 100% this upcoming season. Shaw will step into the starting lineup at the five, leaving one more spot in the lineup aside Wood, Burton and Pulliam. With experience and leadership under her belt and the expectation the ‘Cats will run a small lineup throughout the year, Hamilton will most likely win that spot.
Regardless of her role, Northwestern needs Hamilton to shoot the ball efficiently. Having someone else to space the floor will allow Burton to penetrate and will hopefully free the paint for Wood to cut. When playing with the second unit, she’ll likely function as the primary scorer. The need for her to make her shots with the bench squad is pretty high, as no one else from that group has shown the ability to score at a high rate in the past.
In her fourth year with the squad, Hamilton will play a major role, particularly in her time with the second unit. Her leadership both on and off the court will be crucial as someone both her teammates and coaches can count on in times of need.