With the women’s basketball exhibition game just next week, we’re continuing our player preview series. Next up is Paige Mott, who was Northwestern’s third-leading scorer last season behind Caileigh Walsh and Sydney Wood.
Who is She?
Senior; forward; 6-foot-1; from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
30 games, 25 starts, 23.6 minutes per game; 8.9 points per game; 4.4 rebounds per game; 1.4 assists per game; 52.7% FG%; 58.3% FT%
Taking on a bigger role last season, Mott proved she is a real asset to the team. Playing in every game and starting in 25 of those, the forward had doubled her minutes from her sophomore season. With her increase in minutes brought a spike in her scoring, as her 8.9 points per game marked a five-point jump from her 2021-22 average. She even had a seven-game stretch of double-digit nights towards the end of the season, and dropped 23 points against Wisconsin to lead Northwestern to its road win in Madison.
Last season, Mott had many firsts and career-breaking games, including her first double-double against Duke to open last December. Despite NU’s lackluster season as a team that finished 2-16 in Big Ten play, Mott’s impact on the floor only got better as the season went on. So much so, she played 36 minutes — the most minutes in her career — in late January at Wisconsin.
Going into her senior season, Mott will be a leader for this team, especially as someone with three years of experience. Overall, Mott has pulled the ‘Cats out of scoring deficits in multiple games, including the game at Nebraska, where she helped erase a 10-point first half deficit before the Huskers pulled away. Through the four games in the second half of January, the forward scored 15.8 points per contest.
If Mott can keep up the momentum that she had at the end of the season, there’s no doubt that she can be the second-best scoring player for Northwestern. As Mott became a regular starter, she also became very comfortable scoring in the paint. As a starting forward, her ability to drive to the rim is essential to the ‘Cats winning games.
Throughout her career, the senior has only attempted six three-pointers. Recently, Mott said that she’s been working on that part of her game. Along with her shooting behind the arc, if she began free-throw shooting at a higher level, Northwestern’s offense could have a better chance at keeping pace with high-octane offenses such as Iowa, Maryland and DePaul.
Now an experienced player, Mott needs to be more consistent on a game-to-game basis. Only three games apart last season, Mott scored 15 points against Maryland and then zero against Purdue. With a team that now has their fair share of upperclassmen, it’s important to be prepared to step on the floor at all times.
This season is the one for Northwestern to prove that they can be competitive in the Big Ten. At Big Ten Media Day, Mott specifically emphasized how team culture was a big focus over the summer. Following their work this offseason and with only two seniors and a grad student remaining on the roster, No. 20 is expected to step up to the plate as a consistent starter.
In terms of her game, Mott should focus on improving her three-point shot as well as grabbing more boards each game. Last season, she averaged 4.4 rebounds per game. However, as the most experienced forward this year, Mott should set an example for the younger and newer players. Most importantly, Mott needs to make more free throws, in the few close games that the Wildcats had, the missed free throws would’ve saved them an L on their record.