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Northwestern women’s basketball player previews 2020-21: Newcomers and reserves

The ‘Cats have some freshmen who should be ready to make an impact right away.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 13 Women’s Northwestern at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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 are the newcomers and reserves of Joe McKeown’s squad.

Anna Morris, First Year, Forward

One of the most heralded recruits Joe McKeown has ever brought to Evanston, the five-star freshman from New Jersey is the 46th-ranked player in the class of 2020. She won All-State honors four years in a row and was a McDonald’s All-American nominee. She also won the New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year for volleyball in 2019.

McKeown compared Morris’s shooting stroke has been to that of Abi Scheid and her presence in the paint to that oof Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah, a testament to her versatility. She also can handle the ball and create her own shots and drive to the post.

While she’s listed at 6-foot-3, Morris will still need some time to adjust to the faster and more physical play of the Big Ten. She should see a good amount of playing time with the Wildcats lacking size as the coaches experiment with lineups to fill the holes left by the departures of Scheid and Abbie Wolf in the front court.

Paige Mott, First Year, Forward

Another candidate to fill the void in Northwestern’s front court, the 6-foot-1 Philadelphia native perhaps doesn’t have the same versatility as Morris, but looks to be a much more physical option on the glass.

Mott has a solid post-up game and can attack the basket from the free-throw line. Her perimeter shooting is not a factor, but she is deceivingly quick in transition. She’ll probably see minutes as an alternative to Courtney Shaw as a body in the paint that can rebound on both ends of the court.

Jasmine McWilliams, First Year, Guard

McWilliams rounds out NU’s 2020 recruiting class. Standing at 5-foot-11, she provides another versatile skillset. Athletic and agile, she’s also an intelligent defender with the ability to anticipate and impede passing lanes. Her jump shot improved throughout high school, although it is not her primary weapon on the court.

Northwestern’s backcourt is really deep. McWilliams probably won’t see that much playing time, but she’ll benefit learning the Blizzard defense under Sydney Wood and Veronica Burton.

Kaylah Rainey, Sophomore, Guard

Rainey appeared in 13 games last season. While she didn’t score a whole bunch, she demonstrated her athleticism and ball-handling skills. Speed is a major asset of hers in transition, while she’s a decent mid-range shooter with an ability to create her own shots.

As previously mentioned, NU’s backcourt is crowded, with the likes of McWilliams and Lauryn Satterwhite also competing for minutes as backups to the trifecta of Wood, Burton, and Lindsey Pulliam, along with well-established contributor Jordan Hamilton.

Jess Sancataldo, Junior, Forward

A major knee injury has prevented the Aussie from establishing herself in the core of the Big Ten champs. She saw the court only eight times last season as she rehabilitated. It’s unclear if we’ll see the junior this year, as she hasn’t participated in any in-person team activities since returning to Australia during the global pandemic.

Brooke Pikiell, Senior, Forward

The senior made only three appearances last season and won’t figure into the rotation, but she’s one of the core leaders on the squad and the center of team morale. She’s spent four years under Joe McKeown’s system and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to impart upon younger players.