Northwestern Women’s Basketball 2021-22 Player Reviews: Jillian Brown

The end of the Northwestern women’s basketball season came earlier than most had hoped, but there is still plenty of individual and team performance 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 for us to take a look at the impact each member of Joe McKeown’s team made during their 17-12 run. As we continue the assessment of Northwestern’s breakout first year, we move on to Michigan native Jillian Brown.

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One of the three freshmen who managed to make a significant impact on Northwestern’s course last season, Brown started all but two of the matches she was fit to play in, including her very first college competition. Although she experienced a bit of a downturn towards the end of non-conference play through the middle of the Big Ten competition, the Grand Rapids product showed tremendous growth and potential at both ends of the field.

Brown’s eight points per. match of the season is not a sign of her six-digit performance in the team’s last nine showdowns. She is a hugely versatile player on the offensive that adds value as a passing player with two assists per. match, and she boasts a veteran-like defensive set averaging 3.6 defensive rebounds and 0.6 steals per game. conference match.

The first year’s most outstanding performance of the year came in Northwestern’s No. 4 showdown in Michigan, where she achieved a game lead of 18 points and eight total rebounds along with three steals. Overall, Brown is a well-rounded player who fits well into both McKeown’s offensive plan and Blizzard. If she continues to improve, there is no doubt that she will remain in the starting lineup for years to come.

Here are Brown’s advanced measurements, also through Her Hoops Stats.

After the 2020-21 season and Lindsey Pulliam’s departure, one of Northwestern’s primary needs was a talented shooter. Brown, though not yet the best shooter on the team, certainly has the potential to grow into a scoring machine. She took a team-leading 50.2 percent of her shots from three, but she hit only 26.8 percent of those shots overall – the lowest three-point percentage among starters who routinely pulled up from the other side of the arc.

Brown’s effective field-goal percentage – a metric that adjusts for the extra weight of three-point shots – was also not very strong with only 40.7 percent. Her percentage of points from free throws, two and three all correspond relative to her teammate in the starting lineup, however, a good sign of her potential as a goal scorer if she were to work on her precision during the season.

On the defensive end, Brown knows how to make a difference. She matured significantly throughout the season and managed to find her progress in Blizzard – the first year boasted the third-highest defensive rebound rate, steal rate and blocking rate on the team behind only Veronica Burton and Courtney Shaw for all three. With Burton out of the picture next season, Brown should continue to be a big difference in those categories.

She also reflects Burton’s distribution ability, as she only falls behind in the backfield thief in the assist category. Although her shooting requires work, Brown was one of the most consistent contributors to the results line towards the end of the season for ‘Cats’. With only a spending rate of 14 percent last season, she could see increased involvement in future competitions, which would contribute to a greater amount of offensive chances.

If Brown is to continue to take about half of her shots beyond the arc, she will have to hit more than just a quarter of them. Her off-ball movement on the offensive often finds that she receives the ball in optimal position for an open shot, but her precision was just not quite there last season. There were also times when Brown would take a shot when the opportunity was there to pass it on to someone with a more open look.

In addition, there was a significant amount of time in the middle of the season where she just could not get out of her scoring decline. She picked it up and amassed an impressive final stretch of the season, but inconsistency in that period could cast doubt on her ability to take on part of the burden Burton will leave behind.

Sydney Woods return next year will hopefully help Brown on the defensive end where they both shine. But if Wood’s small sample of games from early 2021-22 – before she was put on the sidelines due to an injury – is evidence of her offensive production next season, Brown will need to improve his shooting both inside the arc and beyond it. Ultimately, Burton’s departure means the loss of Northwestern’s leading goal scorer over the past two seasons, and with work in the low season, Brown can put himself in a position to take over that role.

Brown has one of the brightest futures on this Northwestern team. Her progress towards the end of the season allayed any doubts that her short mid-season departure could have given rise to – a particularly encouraging stretch given the impending departure of one of the program’s all-time greats. There’s not much in the way of Brown becoming a cornerstone for McKeown in the future given her pluralistic skills and abilities at both ends of the pitch. All there is to do now is wait until November rolls around to see her next chapter begin.

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