Hartman’s heroics key for Northwestern in recent win streak
By Logan Schiciano
In a year where points have been hard to come by for Northwestern women’s basketball, an unlikely source has produced for the team in its last few games. Junior Laya Hartman has emerged as a viable scoring option for the Wildcats, who desperately need offensive support for star point guard Veronica Burton.
Through 12 games, Northwestern is averaging only 67.9 points per contest, currently eleventh in the Big Ten. Burton (17.3 ppg) and freshman Caileigh Walsh (10.3 ppg) are the team’s only double-digit scorers.
Head Coach Joe McKeown has acknowledged his team’s scoring woes on several occasions, most recently after Friday’s victory against Temple.
“We got to help [Burton] a little bit,” McKeown said. “She had 32 points against Clemson [on Dec. 2]. I loved all 32, but that’s too many for your point guard. For us to be a great team, we need other people to step up.”
With a number of Northwestern players sidelined as of late – including Sydney Wood, Jillian Brown (returned on Dec. 17) and Lauryn Satterwhite (returned from injury on Dec. 14) – the 5’11” Hartman is one Wildcat who is making the most of her opportunity.
Coming off the bench, she is averaging 16 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists over the team’s last three games, all of which Northwestern has won. She’s also averaged 26.7 minutes per game during this recent stretch, a massive uptick from her first 24 career games in which she averaged just 4.2 minutes on the court.
In the ‘Cats most recent battle against Temple, Hartman was Northwestern’s second-leading scorer with 11 points, knocking down a couple of timely threes. She’s proven she can stretch the floor and shoot with confidence and accuracy, going a cool 6-12 from three-point range this season.
Head Coach Joe McKeown raved about Hartman’s work ethic and has been impressed with how her skillset has translated from the practice court to real game situations.
“She has just played so well since the first day of practice that she just needed an opportunity. She did a great job today,” he said after Hartman’s impressive performance in the team’s win against Delaware on Dec. 12. In the matchup, she notched career highs in practically every category, with 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists and one steal.
“[My teammates] feeding me confidence is honestly the biggest thing so that I can shoot my shot and be aggressive,” Hartman said.
With a full slate of Big Ten games upcoming, Hartman could be a valuable weapon for Northwestern as it looks to prove its worth against a much more-talented set of opponents.