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2020-2021 Northwestern women’s basketball player previews: G Lindsey Pulliam

She’s the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year, for crying out loud

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Iowa vs Northwestern Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time of year again. Women’s basketball is set to begin its season in just over a week. To kick off our 2020-2021 coverage of the defending Big Ten champs, we will preview each player on Northwestern’s roster. Next up is senior guard Lindsey Pulliam.

Who she is

Senior; Guard; 5-foot-10; AP All-America Honorable Mention, First Team All-Big Ten; Silver Spring, MD

Stats

34 minutes per game; 18.8 points per game; 4.7 rebounds per game; 2.3 assists per game; 1.2 steals per game; .386 FG%; .350 3FG%; .731 FT%

2019-2020 Review

As a junior, Pulliam carried Northwestern on offense last season and was recognized for her efforts with an All-American honorable mention and a unanimous First Team All-Big Ten selection. Just glancing at her numbers, it’s not hard to see why. Her nearly 19 points per game were third in the Big Ten, and she led the team in both scoring and shot attempts. The offense ran through her. The Maryland native scored more than 20 points on 14 occasions, and head coach Joe McKeown wasn’t afraid to stick with her through thick and thin.

Strengths

Pulliam is a mid-range sharpshooter, earning her nickname ‘Pull-up’ Pulliam. Her electric scoring capabilities, both beyond and inside the arc, create a nightmare matchup for opposing teams. She is durable, too, averaging 34 minutes per game last season while playing in all 30 games. She is also an intelligent player, realizing her value to the team and only averaging 1.8 fouls per game. Her ability to avoid committing irrational fouls allow her to spend more time on the floor.

Weaknesses

Pulliam’s primary role on the team is as a scorer, and she fulfills it extraordinarily well. The main sore spot for the senior is her efficiency. She has rarely met a shot she didn’t like. The volume scorer shot just 39 percent from the field and is prone to go through cold stretches. Additionally, she needs to eliminate the long two-pointer from her arsenal and instead turn those low-percentage shots into three-point shots.

Expectations

Pulliam has national attention as she begins her senior campaign. She will likely be selected in the 2021 WNBA Draft, with mock drafts projecting her as a low first-round or high second-round pick. She’ll have professional scouts watching her development, and she is earning deserved recognition as one of 50 players named to the 2020-2021 Naismith Trophy Watch List and one of 30 players named to the Wade Trophy Watch List.

It’s going to be tough for Pulliam to improve upon what she did last year, leading the team in scoring and with her energy, night after night. But she can improve by becoming a more versatile player on both ends of the court and being more strategic in her shot selection.