With college basketball right around the corner, we move on to the second part of our Northwestern women’s basketball player preview series. We’ll continue our preseason coverage with the team’s returning reserves.
F Mercy Ademusayo
Checking into 15 games last year, Ademusayo has enough court experience to make her one of Northwestern’s more seasoned reserves. She tallied 11 minutes of playing time, her most in an individual game as a Wildcat, in a blowout loss against Maryland last January. In the contest, the sophomore earned a rebound, a block and a steal alongside a missed shot and a turnover.
Ademusayo, born in Ode Irele, Nigeria, nearly averaged a double-double in high school — a stat line good for a second team all-state nod. At her best, the 6-foot-4-inch forward has the capacity to gobble boards on both ends and block shots from sideline to sideline.
In the off-season, one might hope Ademusayo worked on her free throws after going 1-for-4 from the charity stripe in her first year. Turnovers also plagued her, averaging a throw away a little over every eight minutes. If Ademusayo continues to build on her imposing presence and reduce controllable errors this past, it’s possible she sees considerable minutes throughout the season.
G Jazzy McWilliams
Jasmine “Jazzy” McWilliams enters her third year at Northwestern, hoping to improve on her offensive contributions from last season. She notched a total of 66 minutes of game action in 12 appearances, including three starts, in her sophomore campaign. Despite the promising playing time, the guard struggled from the field, scribbling in a 15.8% field goal percentage.
Reason for concern exists, seeing as though McWilliams’ conversion rate more than halved from her 2020-2021 season (35.5% FG on an extra 12 attempts). Still, the team’s coaching staff remains optimistic on their guard’s outlook. Head coach Joe McKeown upped her playing time as last season progressed.
McWilliams was one of Northwestern’s premier recruits in 2020, signing as Wildcat after being one of the most highly touted prospects in Indiana during her high school career.
F Anna Morris
Joining Ademusayo as another forward on the reserves, Morris brings a different skillset than that of her aforementioned teammate. After an underwhelming performance from the floor in her freshman year, Morris completed her sophomore season with a dazzling clip, shooting 57.1% (8-for-14) from the floor and 50% (2-for-4) from beyond the arc.
The sample size was peculiarly small with Morris in 2021, coming off a 2020 season in which she averaged over 10 minutes per game in her 20 appearances. Though her first-year showing was far from mouth-watering, coach McKeown’s choice to decrease the forward’s minutes so drastically in her sophomore season fosters speculation, even after recovering from an ankle injury and rejoining the active lineup midway through the season
Whatever the case may be, Morris looks to return to the court in a greater capacity to start the back half of her NU career.
G Hailey Weaver
Weaver, now entering her second season on the team, saw less action than any of her fellow reserves did in 2021. Appearing in just six games, the Ohio native’s primary contribution to the squad was in transition and on defense.
Flexing a three-steal performance against Texas A&M, Weaver made it known through her play that she can be dynamic on the defensive end. Checking in at 5-foot-11 the ‘Cats will look to Weaver for her speed and aggression in both facets of the game.