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Northwestern women’s basketball player previews 2021-22: G Kaylah Rainey

The junior could be next in line for a bigger role this season.

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Robert Scheer/IndyStar via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Believe it or not, we’re just about a month away from basketball season. That’s right, both men’s and women’s basketball games are right around the corner. To kick off our coverage of the 2021-22 coverage of the women’s team, we will preview each player on Northwestern’s roster. Up first is guard Kaylah, a junior guard out of Belleville, Ill.

Who she is

Junior; point guard; 5-foot-6; Belleville, Ill.; formerly-ranked No. 14 guard in her recruiting class by ESPN.

Career Stats

4.2 minutes per game; 1.1 points per game; 0.5 assists per game; 0.6 rebounds per game; 31.7 FG%; 8.3 3P%; 63.6 FT%.

2020-2021 Review

Kaylah Rainey’s 2020-21 season was largely drowned out by the presence of other guards on the roster. With Veronica Burton, Sydney Wood and Lauryn Satterwhite all taking up a good amount of minutes, Rainey almost exclusively saw time during blowouts and was a small rotational piece for the ‘Cats throughout the year.

Just because she saw limited playing time doesn’t mean it wasn’t a year for personal milestones, however. In the season opener against Eastern Illinois, Rainey set a new career-high with four points. Just 12 days later against Eastern Kentucky, she broke that career-high by scoring five points and recording two steals. In late January against Illinois, Rainey played a career-high 11 minutes.

Strengths

Due to a small sample size, it’s difficult to determine what exactly Rainey’s strengths are. Last season, she recorded six steals in 18 games played, the majority of which she saw a minimal number of minutes in. Additionally, for someone who comes in at 5-foot-6, Rainey is a decent rebounder who can battle with the bigs when needed.

Weaknesses

Once again, due to a small sample size, it’s hard to determine just what Rainey’s weaknesses are. You could look at her free throw percentage from last season and shudder, but she only attempted nine free throws in the 2020-21 year. She isn’t an extremely efficient scorer, as she converted 10-of-27 shot attempts last season, and she didn’t make a single shot from beyond the arc (though she only took five). Overall, the stats suggest Rainey could work on her efficiency, but a small sample size leaves us with no definitive conclusions.

Expectations

Much like last season, Rainey’s significance on the roster may be drowned out by the presence of multiple key guards. Burton, Wood and Satterwhite are all returning, with Burton and Wood locks to start every game, barring injury. Additionally, guard Jess Sancataldo is back after spending last season at home in Australia. Rainey could see some more time this year because its her third year on the roster, but given the plethora of talent in the Wildcats’ back court, it’s likely she’ll remain a rotational piece barring an injury to one of Northwestern’s key players.