Although Northwestern women’s basketball endured its roughest season under Joe McKeown in 2022-23, many members of the young team flashed signs of growth. Now that NU’s season has ended and March begins to draw to a close, Inside NU will take a deep dive into each player’s performance and impact last season. We’ll begin with the team’s four reserves — Mercy Ademusayo, Alana Goodchild, Mel Daley and Laya Hartman:
F Alana Goodchild
A first-year from Sydney, Australia, Goodchild saw most of her action in non-conference play. She appeared in 15 games — with all but one coming before Northwestern’s matchup against Nebraska on Feb. 6 — and averaged just under five minutes per contest. Regardless, she flashed her potential as a stretch four, as five of her nine field goals on the year came on threes.
Goodchild showcased her versatility in Northwestern’s loss to Notre Dame on Nov. 16. The ejections of Caileigh Walsh, Jasmine McWilliams and Courtney Shaw thrust the first-year into action, and she responded by dropping a season-high six points and one steal. Her ability to shoot from outside could fit especially well beside Paige Mott next season during minutes where Walsh rests, as Goodchild’s perimeter-centric game could offer the same unique skill that Northwestern’s star center brings to the table.
G Mel Daley
After a stellar first season in which she averaged 6.5 points per game in 28 games, Daley missed most of 2022-23, as she didn’t appear in a game after Dec. 10. However, in the eight games the sophomore did play in, she displayed solid midrange shooting. In her final two contests — against DePaul and Michigan — she averaged nine points on a combined 9-of-14 mark from the field. With Sydney Wood likely departing after her fifth season, Daley will have the chance to earn more wing minutes in the rotation next year.
F Mercy Ademusayo
Although Ademusayo only averaged about five minutes per game — a slight uptick from her 3.1 minutes per game as a first-year in 2021-22 — she exhibited her immense defensive talent. Playing behind Walsh and Mott, Ademusayo functioned as a key rim protector for Northwestern off the bench. Somehow, even without a spot at the top of the frontcourt rotation, she averaged a whopping 0.8 blocks per game in 16 appearances. Even though Ademusayo didn’t play the minimum number of minutes to qualify for statistical leaderboards (and had she done so, the following number almost certainly wouldn’t be sustainable), she racked up a mind-blowing 19.8% block percentage, per CBB Analytics.
The 6-foot-4 forward was also a ferocious rebounder, picking up over a board per game in her 4.5 minutes of playing time per contest. While Mott and Walsh should still spearhead McKeown’s forward depth chart next season, Ademusayo should continue to develop into a key defensive rotational piece. Should she earn some more minutes, she could become one of the most feared defenders in the Big Ten.
G/F Laya Hartman
Going into the season, Hartman was also slated to fight for a spot in the starting lineup after starting in 13 games during the 2021-22 season. However, she dealt with injuries throughout 2022-23, forcing her to miss almost two months of action in her senior season. In all, Hartman played in 13 games, averaging 2.7 points, two rebounds and about nine minutes of action per game.
In Hartman’s lone start, Northwestern’s Senior Night loss to Wisconsin on Feb. 23 that marked her first game back since December, she immediately added the shooting boost that the ‘Cats so desperately missed much of the season with five quick points. She wasn’t done, though; Hartman knocked down two huge threes that fueled a second-half comeback effort in the Big Ten Tournament against Rutgers that fell just short. All in all, while Hartman’s fourth season was relatively disappointing by her standards, her finish was a nice capstone to her strong Northwestern career.