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Northwestern women’s basketball 2021-22 player reviews: Veronica Burton

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Where to even begin.

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

The end of Northwestern women’s basketball’s season came earlier than most had hoped, but there remain plenty of individual and team performances to look back on from the 2021-22 season. With March officially over and this year’s college basketball action behind us, it’s time we take a look at the impacts each member of Joe McKeown’s squad made during their 17-12 run. To wrap up our basketball content for the foreseeable future, it’s none other than the Backcourt Burglar herself, Veronica Burton.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of Burton’s role as a member of the Northwestern Women’s Basketball team over the past four years. She was thrown onto the court the second she stepped foot in Evanston, and the rest is history. The Newton, Mass., native and now Dallas Wing put together one of the best careers in program history.

Burton’s defensive prowess has been apparent throughout her time as a Wildcat, but through her junior and senior seasons, she improved immensely on the offensive side of the ball to complement her backcourt abilities. That being said, she still managed to improve defensively anyways and posted her best all-around year yet in 2021-22, earning herself a coveted WNBA first-round pick and a training camp spot.

Stats

The following stats are from herhoopstats.com.

Burton’s stats last year were among the best in the country, let alone the best on the team. The senior earned a modest 17.8 points per game, a total that placed her within the top 10 conference-wide among the Big Ten’s best. But, it’s common knowledge that scoring points is just the beginning of Burton’s wide breadth of abilities — her 6.4 assists per game earned her the title of sixth best distributor in the country, and she lead the nation in steals with a whopping 4.0 each contest.

Additionally, Burton’s larger-than-life impact on the court can be described by her 10.9 win shares — good for eighth in the country. She can do a little bit of everything, and it certainly helps that her basketball IQ is better than most. Burton’s physical abilities paired with her above-average knowledge of the game made her a shoo-in for the WNBA Draft, and there’s no doubt Dallas will benefit from her presence on the court.

Shot Distribution

Here are Burton’s advanced metrics, also through Her Hoop Stats.

As a guard, no matter if you’re a defensively-minded guard or not, you’re going to have to put points on the board. Burton did that, and then some. Her field-goal percentage of 41.5% was slightly above average, though nothing to write home about, but she still managed to notch almost one point per play.

Because Burton was such a threat to opposing teams last year, it’s no wonder almost one-third of her shots came from the free-throw line, where she shot a solid 83.3%. Most of her points came from within the arc, though, where she shot 46.3% on the year. That doesn’t mean she’s a stranger to the three-ball, but shooting from behind the arc is not her strongest suit, and neither is it where she creates most of her points.

The Good

There’s too much good to get into all of the specifics of Burton’s play, but the overarching theme of her movement on the court has to do with whatever her strengths are each game. There were contests last year (albeit very few) where the senior struggled to put points on the board, but that didn’t stop her from contributing in any other way she could.

In the three contests where Burton scored fewer than 10 points last season, she put up a combined 20 rebounds, 16 assists and eight steals. Every team Northwestern faced either double-teamed Burton or put their best on-ball defender on her, so realistically, no one could say they took her out of the game. Overall, Burton is a coaches dream and her opponents’ nightmare, and she showed why last season.

The Bad

Again, Burton has the defensive bit down and she can distribute better than almost anyone. Where she falls slightly below the sum of her parts is shooting, even though she still averaged almost 20 points per game. One area she could focus on is shooting from three, where she scored less than a quarter of her points from. If Burton wants to boost her scoring totals even more, pulling up beyond the arc is where she can do that from best without exhausting her output from other areas.

The Bottom Line

Burton is the complete package. Everyone who has watched her over the years in purple and white knows what an impact she can make on and off the court, and it’s about time her hard work payed off in the form of a WNBA jersey. The sky is the limit — as we’ve said time and time again — for the now-rookie. Now, Burton fans and Northwestern fans alike shift their attention to Dallas, as they anticipate what great feat she will accomplish next.