The NUmbers Guy: Maggie Lyon

WNUR Sports Director Jim Sannes (@JimSannes) profiles Northwestern women’s basketball freshman Maggie Lyon, who is a leading candidate to be named the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year.

Photo by Meghan White/The Daily Northwestern

Photo by Meghan White/The Daily Northwestern

The list of people that had a better weekend than my fantasy NASCAR team is extensive. That list includes everyone that doesn’t have a fantasy NASCAR team because that seems pretty lame. Another person who’s feeling pretty fly is Northwestern women’s basketball freshman Maggie Lyon. Lyon and the Wildcats took down Wisconsin 54-52 on Saturday despite trailing by 10 in the first half. Lyon’s success isn’t just a recent trend, though; the New Trier High School alum has put herself in contention for the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year award. Let’s look at the numbers behind Lyon’s stellar campaign.

3: Lyon has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week three times this year, tied with Rachel Theriot of Nebraska for the most.

Update: She did it again. It was announced Tuesday that Lyon has now won her third consecutive Big Ten Freshman of the Week award and fourth overall.

After winning the award for the first time on December 3rd, Lyon has won it the last two weeks. Fellow freshman Lauren Douglas has also won the award twice, giving the ‘Cats a conference-leading five Freshman of the Week awards. Despite the losses of Kendall Hackney and Dannielle Diamant at the end of this year, this program is surrounded by optimism because of the contributions of these two and sophomore point guard Karly Roser. And coach Joe McKeown’s luscious platinum hair doesn’t hurt.

.564: Lyon is shooting .564 (22-39) from the field in her last four games.

SHE’S COMING FOR YOU, LEBRON! But, for real, that’s freaking awesome. Over that stretch, Lyon’s WORST shooting performance was going 5-10 from the field against Ohio State and Wisconsin. And these aren’t your generic garbage-time buckets. In Saturday’s win over Wisconsin, Lyon tied the game at 48 with a three with 3:15 left and hit a game-winning three with 1:47 left, making it 53-52. Northwestern would go on to win 54-52. ¿Cómo se dice, “Clutch Gene?”

10: Lyon has posted double digit points in 10 consecutive games.

In 22 games this season, there have only been four in which Lyon hasn’t scored 10 points. In this 10-game stretch, Lyon is shooting 43 percent from three (25-58). For perspective, John Shurna shot 44 percent in his senior year at Northwestern. This is an impressive feat for anybody, but for a person that was playing in high school last year, this is dirty. After losing their first four conference games, the ‘Cats are 5-5 in Lyon’s stretch, largely due to her play.

36.2: Lyon is sixth in the Big Ten and first on the team with 36.2 minutes per game.

The best part about this? Lyon’s minutes per game has increased to 38.4 during Big Ten play. Lyon is the only freshman on the Big Ten leaderboard in this category; the only other non-junior-or-senior is Roser at tenth (35.2). Among Big Ten freshmen, Lyon is first in points per game (12.7, followed by Douglas at 9.7), second in rebounds per game (3.8, trailing only Douglas at 4.6), first in 3-point field goal percentage (.359 – minimum of 60 attempts – Douglas is third), first in steals per game (1.55 – Douglas is third at 1.26), third in assists per game (2.91), and she would be first in assist/turnover ratio (1.3) if she had enough assists to qualify. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED????

If she were to be named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Lyon would be the first Northwestern women’s basketball player to win it in the award’s history. She and Douglas will form a special duo for the next three years at Northwestern. I may or may not have said last year that if the women’s team didn’t make the tournament, I would wear a purple dress around campus for a day. Since that’s probably not going to happen, I’m pushing my guarantee to next year. With the additions of All-American honorees Nia Coffey and Christen Inman to the roster, the ‘Cats will have the fire-power to make next year an exciting one. If not… it’s America that loses.

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