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Northwestern women’s basketball 2022-23 player reviews: Hailey Weaver

The sophomore showed some spark.

After the loss of Veronica Burton, it was clear the Wildcats were in for a rebuilding campaign in 2022-23. That rebuild is still fully in effect, as evidenced by the team’s 9-21 record this year. However, it wasn’t all bad for Northwestern, and Joe McKeown’s team did finish the season strong, especially after the youth movement was truly established in the back half of the year. It’s time to take a look at the impact each member of the team had this season, and we start that off with the sophomore from Ohio, Hailey Weaver.

Weaver began the season mostly as a player deep on the bench, but the sophomore was not content to merely hold the same role she had last year. Weaver set her career high in minutes on Dec. 1 with 11, then surpassed that mark 12 times over the rest of the season.

Weaver also became one of the better two-way guards on the team, as her prowess from three and on defense became apparent the more she played. While rebounding and turnover problems remain, Weaver showed down the home stretch that she can be a valuable contributor for this Northwestern squad in the coming years.


Weaver did not end up playing the amount of minutes required to be eligible for most major statistical leaderboards, finishing the year at 303. However, even in those minutes, she showcased her talents to great effect. After closing the year with four straight games with one steal or more, including a whopping six steals against Minnesota, Weaver finished third on the team in steals per game.

As she was given the green light offensively, Weaver was also able to improve her three-point game. The sophomore attempted 21 of her 36 three-point shots over the final two months of the season and knocked down eight of them, good enough for a 38% clip. Had she kept that pace through the course of the season, Weaver would have led the team in three-point percentage by a wide margin. Unfortunately, she missed 14 of her first 15 attempts from deep this year, and that puts her at a 25% clip from beyond the arc, only good enough for sixth-best on the team among players with at least 20 attempts.

Shot Distribution

Those 36 shots from beyond the arc were only a small part of Weaver’s offensive output, given her talent at the line and inside the arc. Weaver went 21-of-50 on two point shots for a 42% clip, and hit 14 of her 22 free throws on the year. When considering that the sophomore finished 11th on the team in field goal attempts per game at just 3.1, it seems that next year she’ll have a chance to bump those numbers up.

Despite being 5 feet and 11 inches, Weaver is listed as a guard, and with more offensive power next year, may be able to use that height to drive the lane more and continue getting to the line. If she continues to shoot three-pointers at the rate she was, she could become very difficult to guard. The stretch over the final two months of the season where Weaver began consistently knocking down threes saw her post an effective field goal percentage (or eFG%) of 54.7%, and given more time and opportunity, she may be able to hike that up even higher.

The Good

Aside from the steals and the three-pointers, Weaver improved her playmaking as the season went on. Her mark of 0.6 assists per game does not look great, but she did become a stronger passer later in the year, garnering eight assists in her final six games. She also proved to be a strong rebounder on occasion, putting up 12 games with multiple boards. Finally, she played very clean defense, finishing the year with six more steals than fouls.

The Bad

The main issue for Weaver last season was inconsistency. Despite playing double-digit minutes in half of her 28 appearances, Weaver went scoreless in 12 games this year. That was partially due to her erratic shooting: she had 11 games shooting below 35% and six more games where she didn’t shoot at all. The turnover issues also plagued Weaver no matter her role, and she finished the year with more turnovers than assists. Considering that Northwestern will likely lose Kaylah Rainey and Sydney Wood after this year, Weaver is going to have to do a better job setting up her teammates and running a clean offense if she wants to earn a bigger role.

The Bottom Line

Overall, Weaver had an excellent close to the season for a player who had barely seen any consistent action before December. From Jan. 25 to the end of the season, she raised her points per game average by almost a full point while making seven of her 21 three point attempts. She also had four multi-steal games during that stretch and played a critical role in the victory over Minnesota, scoring seven points and dishing out three assists. If she can cut down on the mistakes and continue to improve her shooting, Weaver may be able to earn a starting role next year.