As we wrap up our player reviews for the 2022-2023 Northwestern women’s basketball, we look at a junior who is poised to have a breakout senior year — Jasmine McWilliams.
The following stats are from sports-reference.com:
Although the numbers are not astounding, McWilliams had the best year of her career. She saw her minutes double in each game, playing just over 11 minutes on average. In the 29 games she saw action in, the junior started in two thirds of them. She averaged 2.7 points per game, which is not a lot, but a significant increase from the 0.8 PPG she averaged the year before.
While only attempting 3.3 field goals a game, McWilliams shot the ball at a significantly higher clip. After making a mere 15.8% of her shots her sophomore year, No. 23’s shooting percentage climbed substantially to 29.5%. While shooting under 30% clearly shows room for improvement, the fact that her percentage nearly doubled displays that McWilliams will continue to develop and can contribute more to the ‘Cats’ offense in her senior season. She added her career highs in rebounds and assists as well. However, the junior also turned the ball over more than she ever had in her career, averaging one turnover a game
On the defensive end, McWilliams did not create havoc. She had four blocks and nine steals this season, which is less than .25 in their respective categories per game.
Here are McWilliams’ shot charts, courtesy of CBB Analytics:
There is no way to sugarcoat it: McWilliams struggled shooting the ball this season. Even around the rim, which in theory should be the easiest shots she took all year, No. 23 still shot under 50% from close range.
Also, as she got farther away from the hoop, the junior’s likelihood of connecting on a shot dwindled even more. She made just over a quarter of attempts from the midrange, and even fewer from beyond the work. The Indianapolis native shot only 10% from three, a true sign of constant struggle. In most spots on the court, McWilliams shot worse than the average of players across the nation.
Clearly, McWilliams played well enough for Joe McKeown to insert her into the starting lineup. Throughout the season, the junior became a good perimeter defender. She did not let her opponent drive by her and closed out strong on jump shots. Moreover, while not on her stat sheet, Williams did help facilitate the offense. She was constantly cutting and moving the ball to create an open shot for her teammates.
However, when a starter plays less than 10 minutes in multiple conference games, there has to be a reason. McWilliams just didn’t do enough offensively to stay on the floor. As Northwestern already struggled to score, having a starter who rarely scored more than five points hinders the team even more. The junior could not make her shots consistently enough where McKeown could keep her on the court if NU was trailing and needed to find the bottom of the net in bunches.
The Bottom Line
Although a starter, McWilliams is still a rather unknown commodity heading into her senior season. In her first year seeing significant playtime, it was a slug offensively for No. 23 and, when inserted into the starting five, she did not provide a spark to a sub-standard Wildcats squad. On the other hand, if the Indiana native can knock down her shots at a higher rate, she is poised for a possible breakout campaign in her fourth year wearing purple and white.