Women's Hoops Opens Pac-10 Slate With Arizona Monday

Dec. 22, 2004

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This Week:
Washington women's basketball (4-6, 0-0 Pac-10) looks to snap a three-game losing streak when it opens the Pac-10 season hosting Arizona (8-2, 0-0 Pac-10) and Arizona State (8-2, 0-0 Pac-10) next week at Bank of America Arena on the UW campus. The Huskies will face the Wildcats in the conference opener, Monday, Dec. 27, at 7 p.m., before the Sun Devils come to town for a contest on Wednesday, Dec. 29, at 7 p.m. Wednesday's game will be televised live by FSN Northwest with Cara Capuano and Elise Woodward calling the action. Both games can be heard on the radio at KKNW AM 1150. Both Arizona and ASU have made the Top-25 rankings in either the Associated Press or WBCA Coaches polls this year. The Wildcats are ranked 25th in this week's WBCA Coaches poll.

Radio Coverage:
All Husky women's basketball games can be heard live on the radio at KKNW 1150 AM. Steve Sandmeyer enters his sixth season calling the action, while former Husky Elise (Niemela) Woodward will join Sandmeyer on home broadcasts. Fans can also listen to games on the internet at www.gohuskies.com.

Live Webcast:
A select number of Husky women's basketball games can be seen via a live webcast at www.gohuskies.com. A subscription to College Sports Pass is necessary to view these games and can be purchased on the website for $6.95 a month or $49.95 for an entire year. The radio broadcasts from all UW women's basketball games are also included in the package.

Scouting Arizona (8-2):
Compiling an 8-2 record against non-conference opponents, the Wildcats look to be as good as advertised. Arizona was picked to tie for the Pac-10 title by the media, and picked to finish runner-up by the conference coaches in preseason polls. Arizona's only losses have come to ranked opponents: at Ohio State (45-78) and at Georgia (62-70). The Wildcats have won two straight coming into their Pac-10 opener, having defeated UC Santa Barbara and Chicago State. Arizona has three players who average scoring in double figiures led by Dee-Dee Wheeler with 18 points per game. Shawntinice Polk, one of the top players in the conference, averages 13.8 points and 8.6 rebounds, while Natalie Jones chips in 10.8 points per game. As a team Arizona averages 76.1 points per game,while holding its opponents to an average of 61.4.

Scouting Arizona State:
The Sun Devils will open their Pac-10 slate at Washington State Monday, before making the trek west from Pullman for Wednesday's contest. ASU is riding a 61-50 victory over defending NCAA champion Connecticut in Tempe on Dec. 21. Also on its resume is a 67-57 victory over Georgia on the road, Dec. 7. ASU's two losses have come at the hands of No. 1 LSU in Baton Rouge (54-65) and at New Mexico (45-61). Three players average over 10 points per game. Kylan Loney leads the team with 11.6 points per game, while Kristen Kovesdy and Emily Westerberg average 11.4 and 11.1 points, respectively. As a team, ASU averages 68 points, while holding its opponents to an average of 50 points.

The All-Time Series With Arizona/ASU:
Washington leads the all-time series with Arizona, 25-14, but the Wildcats have won the last five consecutive meetings dating back to 2003. The last Husky victory came on Jan. 11, 2003 (60-59) in Seattle. Arizona defeated UW by 22 points and 17 points in their last two meetings, the latter coming in the semifinals of the 2004 Pac-10 Tournament. The Huskies lead the all-time series with ASU, 24-13. These teams split their two conference games last year, each winning on their home court. UW has won three of the last five games with ASU dating back to 2002.

Pac-10 Openers:
Washington is 13-5 all-time in Pac-10 openers, including a 7-2 record when beginning the Pac-10 slate at home. The last time Washington opened the Pac-10 schedule at home was in 2001-02 versus Washington State (Dec. 21, 2001).

Last Time Out:
Veronica Johns-Richardson scored 17 points, including four in overtime, to lead Colorado to a 76-74 win over Washington at Bank of America Arena, Tuesday. It took a heroic effort from Washington just to force overtime, after trailing by seven points, at 66-59, with just over a minute to play in regulation. Freshman guard Dominique Banks - who scored a career-high 19 points in 25 minutes off the bench - started the Husky rally with her seventh basket of the night. Just nine seconds later it was Banks again, this time finding junior guard Kayla Burt for a three-pointer to make it a two-point game. The Buffs led 67-65 with mere seconds remaining, when sophomore forward Jill Bell grabbed a rebound off a three-point attempt from junior Nicole Castro and knocked down a nine-footer in the lane to send the game into overtime. But it was Colorado who prevailed in overtime, led by the play of Johns-Richardson. The loss was the fifth in six games for the Huskies. Bell added a career-high 14 points and Kayla Burt scored nine to pace Washington.

Huskies Wrap Non-Conference Slate:
Washington's game with Colorado Tuesday marked the final non-conference opponent the Huskies will face unless they advance to postseason play. UW tallied a 4-6 record, with two of those losses coming to Top-10 teams (Notre Dame and Baylor). The last time UW recorded a sub .500 record against non-conference teams was in 1999-2000, when the Huskies went 4-8. Washington had compiled a 15-3 record against non-conference teams the last two seasons prior to 2004-05.

Dawg Bites:
• Washington is below the .500 mark (4-6) for the first time since the 2000-01 season. The Huskies were 1-2 in their first three games that year, a season that saw them end with a 22-10 record and a trip to the NCAA Elite Eight.
• Seven different Huskies reached double-figure scoring in the Huskies' first nine games, but only redshirt junior Kayla Burt averages double-digits (10.8). Burt has reached double-figures six times including in four of the last five games. She scored a season-high 18 points versus Utah.
• The Huskies have been held to under 60 points in four of the last six games, including back-to-back outings versus Alabama and Utah, and Notre Dame and Baylor. UW's 74 points versus Colorado broke a streak of two-straight 58 points games.
• Under head coach June Daugherty, Washington has never been held under 60 points for three consecutive games. The Huskies did have a similar stretch in 1999-2000, when they failed to reach 60 points in four of five games.
• Washington has struggled to find its stroke from the field this season, failing to hit greater than 40 percent of its shots in any of its first 10 games. The Huskies hit the 40 mark exactly in an 86-75 win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee, but have finished below the mark in each of their other nine contests. For the season, Washington is shooting 36 percent, six percent lower than its 2003-04 average, while UW opponents are connecting at a 48 percent rate, a seven-percent increase from the 2003-04 season. Burt is the only Husky to average double-digit scoring (10.8).
• Washington's 16 second-half points versus Baylor was a season-low for points in a half. The previous low was 24 points in the first half of UW's 20-point loss to Alabama and in the first half of its season opening win over South Carolina.
• Redshirt sophomore forward Jill Bell has been UW's leading rebounder in seven of 10 games, averaging a team-high of 7.1 boards. No other UW player has more than 3.8 rebounds per game. Bell is the only Husky to have reached double-digits in rebounding this season, having grabbed 11 boards in the team's win over No. 14 Minnesota.
• The Washington defense has forced its opponents to commit at least 15 turnovers each game.
• Washington opened the season 2-0 for just the third time in head coach June Daugherty's nine-year tenure and and the 11th time in school history. UW also opened 2-0 under Daugherty in 2003-04, and in 1997-98, when the Huskies began the year on a 10-game win streak.
• The win over No. 14 Minnesota (Nov. 15) was Washington's first over a ranked non-conference opponent since March 24, 2001, when UW defeated Oklahoma in the NCAA Sweet 16. The Huskies had lost to five-straight ranked non-conference opponents. The win was the Huskies' first over a ranked opponent of any kind since defeating Stanford at home (92-68) Feb. 13, 2003.

Second Half Struggles:
Washington has made a habit of coming out strong in the first half, but struggles to find that fire in the second period. The Huskies have outscored their opponents 328 to 309 (a 19 point margin) in the opening frame. On the flipside, UW has been outscored 366 to 308 (a 58 point deficit) in the second half. The Huskies have outscored their opponents in the second half just twice: in its first two wins over South Carolina and Minnesota. Washington's field goal percentage takes a dip in the second half as well. The Huskies are shooting 33 percent in the second half (104-312), while their opponents have a scorching 52 percent second-half clip (126-244).

Ranked Opponents:
Washington is 1-2 against Top-25 opponents this season, upsetting then-No. 14 Minnesota, before suffereing losses to then-No. 7 Notre Dame and then-No. 6 Baylor. The Huskies are 36-93 all-time against ranked opponents. Washington is 25-37 against Top-25 teams at home, and 10-16 versus Top-10 teams at home. The last time Washington defeated two ranked non-conference opponents in a season was in the Huskies' 2001 Elite Eight run, defeating No. 14 Florida (86-75) in the NCAA second round and No. 7 Oklahoma (84-67) in the Sweet 16. The last time Washington defeated two ranked non-conference opponents during the regular season was 1997 when its knocked down three, defeating No. 20 North Carolina (95-88), No. 5 Vanderbilt (82-71) and No. 20 Iowa (63-62).

Burt's Back:
Washington's season opener with South Carolina, Nov. 14, marked the first official game for junior guard Kayla Burt since Dec. 28, 2002, a span of 687 days. Burt suffered a cardiac arrest episode on Dec. 31, 2002 and initially retired from basketball after being diagnosed with a heart condition called Long QT Syndrome. At the time, Burt had a defibrillator implanted in the right side of her chest. Last year she underwent further testing that revealed she did not have the condition and UW granted permission for her to rejoin the team on Aug. 17, 2004. She didn't waste any time getting into the action, tying for the team lead in scoring with 12 points in her season debut, including a 7-for-8 mark from the charity stripe. Burt was second on the team with seven rebounds versus Minnesota, and wowed the crowd with a behind the back pass to Emily Florence for a fast-break layin. Burt has reached double-figures six times, including in four of the last five games. Burt had a UW season-high 18 points at Utah, and a 10-point, 7-assist effort at Michigan in Ann Arbor. Against Baylor, she set career highs for three-pointers (four) and three-pointers attempted (eight), while matching her career high of 11 field goals attempted. Burt leads the team in points (10.8 ppg) assists (29), steals (18) and is fourth in rebounding (3.2).

Shooting Woes:
Washington's average of 65.7 points per game is new for a team that has averaged at least 70 points the last four straight seasons, including a 75.6 average in 2002-03. The Huskies have averaged less than 70 points just three previous seasons in the history of the program - 66.7 (1999-00), 67.8 (1991-92) and 69.9 (1987-80) - but there is much more basketball to play this season. Washington's 36 percent field goal percentage ranks last in the Pac-10 according to this week's rankings. UW was also ninth in scoring offense (64.8) and last in scoring margin (-3.8).

But They Still Have The Three's:
Despite Washington's low field goal percentage, the Huskies have still found success from beyond the three-point arc. Heading into this week, UW led the Pac-10 in 3-pointers made with 62, for an average of 6.89 per game. The Huskies' overall 3-point FG percentage wasn't quite as high, ranking sixth in the Pac-10 with a 34.6 average. Individually, sophomore Cheri Craddock ranked seventh in the conference in 3-PT FG percentage with 40 percent (16-40) and junior Kristen O'Neill ranked ninth with 39 percent (16-41). O'Neill is the Huskies' leader in treys made (17), while Craddock and Kayla Burt are close behind with 16 three-pointers made.

Juggling Lineups:
Coach June Daugherty has gone with five different lineups featuring eight different players in 10 games. Only junior Kristen O'Neill has started all 10. The combo of O'Neill, Kayla Burt, Emily Florence, Cheri Craddock and Jill Bell was used in UW's season opening victory over South Carolina. For the next four games, Daugherty used the same group minus Craddock and adding Breanne Watson. UW's last road trip featured two different lineups: Maggie O'Hara, Craddock, Florence, Cameo Hicks and O'Neill versus Utah; and Bell, Watson, Hicks, Burt and O'Neill versus Denver and Notre Dame. That fivesome started three games, before the lineup changed again versus Colorado: O'Hara, O'Neill, Hicks, Burt, Florence were the latest group to earn starting status.

Sharing The Wealth:
As these early season games may indicate, any one of the Husky players on the 15-woman roster could step up to lead the team on any given night this year. So far 12 different players have led the team in either points, rebounds, assists, or steals in a single game. Washington's scoring has been especially balanced across the board with seven players averaging between 10.8 and 6.2 points per game. Kayla Burt has led UW in scoring six times and is one of seven players to notch a team-high point total at some point. Jill Bell has led the team in rebounding seven times, while Burt has been the top assists' giver four times.

Jumpin' Jill:
Redshirt sophomore forward Jill Bell has quickly established herself as Washington's leading rebounder. Bell, who was second on the team in that category as a freshman, has led all UW rebounders in seven of 10 games this season, including an 11-board performance against Minnesota and back-to-back nine-rebound efforts at Utah and Denver. A standout long jumper in high school, Bell's jumping ability has translated into success for the Huskies on the basketball court. Bell was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman honorable mention team last year, despite only starting the last nine games of the season. Bell's career-high for rebounds in a game is 16, in last year's Husky win over Denver.

Banks Breaks Through:
Freshman guard Dominique Banks has provided valuable minutes off the bench for the Huskies this season. UW has used five different starting lineups, but all have been void of Banks who is the team's fifth-leading scorer (7.6 ppg). She had the best game of her young career in UW's last game versus Colorado, setting career numbers in seven categories that included scoring 19 points, the most by a Husky this season. Banks also set career numbers in rebounds (six), assists (four), field goals made (seven), field goals attempted (13), free-throws made (five) and free-throws attempted (eight). The freshman is one of only two Huskies shooting over 40 percent with a 41.8 clip from the field (28-67). Only Maggie O'Hara has a higher percentage (.441 on 15-34).

Fantastic Frosh:
Freshman point guard Emily Florence has adjusted to college ball quite well, starting seven of 10 games for the Huskies. Measuring in at just 5-5, Florence is third on the team in assists (20) and and is tied for second in steals (12).

Lending A Hand:
Junior guard Kristen O'Neill hasn't missed a beat, despite sitting out all of last year battling a stress fracture in her left foot. O'Neill, the only Husky to start all 10 games, is second on the team with 22 assists and dished a team-high three assists in UW's first two games. In addition to being UW's second leading rebounder (3.8), O'Neill is tied for fifth on the team in steals (nine), and is the fourth-leading scorer with 7.8 ppg.

Quiet Leader:
Sophomore guard Cameo Hicks, a Pac-10 All-Freshman honoree last year, broke into the starting lineup at Utah (Dec. 4) and has proven to be one of the Huskies'most consistent shooters. Hicks has the third-highest field goal percentage on the squad (at least 25 FG attempts) with a 37.9 clip, and is second in field goals made (33). She has the best three-point shooting percentage - 44.4 - four three-pointers on nine attempts. Hicks is UW's second-leading scorer with 8.1 points per game and verus Baylor, set season-highs in points (15), assists (four) and field goals made (six).

Changing of the Guard:
Washington's roster features eight players who did not play collegiate basketball last year. Five are freshmen Dominique Banks, Stefanie Clark, Emily Florence, Jackie Hollands and Andrea Plouffe. The other three - Kayla Burt, Kristen O'Neill, and Erica Schelly - redshirted 2003-04. Burt missed due to a heart condition, while O'Neill and Schelly nursed foot injuries. O'Neill had a stress fracture in her left foot, while Schelly broke her left foot in the first day of practice last year.

Youth Movement:
It's safe to say that Washington is beginning a new era in women's basketball, as 12 of the 15 players on the roster are underclassmen - seven sophomores and five freshmen. UW's elder states'women' are redshirt juniors Kayla Burt, Nicole Castro and Kristen O'Neill. Student assistant Kirsten Brockman is a senior, but was forced to retire from basketball prior to the 2003-04 season after suffering from severe stress fracture injuries. The last time Washington did not have a single senior on its roster was 1999-2000.

Home Sweet Home:
The Huskies are 3-3 at home this season, giving Washington an overall record of 28-8 since the 2002-03 season. The Huskies have always excelled at home, compiling an overall record of 266-63 (.809) at Bank of America Arena (also known as Hec Edmundson Pavilion before the 2000 renovation). Since 1987, Washington has had three undefeated seasons on its home court, going 15-0 in 1986-87, 14-0 in 1989-90 and 14-0 in 2002-03.

UW Upsets 2004 Final Four Team Minnesota:
The second day of the WBCA BTI Classic, pitted the Huskies against the 14th-ranked Golden Gophers of Minnesota, a team that advanced to the NCAA semifinals last season. Washington trailing by as many as 10 points in the first half before a 17-9 UW run cut the lead to three at halftime. The Huskies ended up taking Minnesota to overtime with the score knotted at 58 at the end of regulation. It didn't take long for UW to put Minnesota away, as sophomore Jill Bell and Cameo Hicks accounted for 10 of UW's 14 overtime points. UW never trailed in overtime, outscoring the Gophers 14-9. Hicks led UW with 14 points, while Breanne Watson chipped in 11 and Kristen O'Neill 10. Bell pulled down a game-high 11 boards. Watson was named tournament MVP and joined junior Kayla Burt on the All-Tournament team. As of Dec. 21, Minnesota (8-2) has only lost one other game this season.

Bring On The Best:
Washington has a challenging schedule, facing seven NCAA Tournament teams from last year and three WNIT squads. UW met its first test against 2004 NCAA Final Four team Minnesota, defeating the 14th-ranked Gophers 72-67 in overtime, Nov. 15. The Huskies then encountered two straight Top-10 opponents, falling to both No. 7 Notre Dame (58-72) and No. 6 Baylor (58-74).

Huskies On Television:
Eight games have been selected for either national or local broadcast by Fox Sports Net and Fox Sports Northwest. UW's schedule kicked off with an FSN national broadcast of its home game with Baylor, Wed., Dec. 15, at 8 p.m. Washington's next home game against Colorado, Tues., Dec. 21, at 8 p.m. was televised locally on FSN Northwest. The Huskies' other FSN nationally televised game will be at Oregon State, Saturday, Jan. 15, at 3 p.m. FSN Northwest will pick up three additional home contests including Arizona State (Dec. 29, 7 p.m.), USC (Jan. 7, 7 p.m.) and Washington State (Feb. 19, 6 p.m.). Washington's road games at Stanford, Jan. 4, and at WSU, Jan. 22, will also be picked up by FSN Northwest.Two more games have the potential to be broadcast as a wildcard selection by FSN, the Feb. 12 home game versus Oregon and the Feb. 26 regular season finale at Arizona.

Husky Coaching Staff:
June Daugherty enters her ninth season as the head coach of the Husky women's basketball team, having led Washington to the postseason all but one year of her tenure. She has guided UW to four NCAA Tournaments, including an Elite Eight appearance in 2000-01, and three trips to the WNIT. She was also one of 25 finalists for the prestigious Naismith Coach of the Year award in 2002-03. Twice has a Daugherty squad reached the 22-win plateau and only once has a Husky squad finished with less than 16 wins in a season. Daugherty has compiled a UW record of 144-105, and a career record of 267-179. She coached seven seasons at Boise State before coming to Seattle. Her husband, Mike, is the Huskies' Associate Head Coach, while Janet Soderberg and Kellie Lewis-Jay are the two assistants. Mike Daugherty is in his ninth year with the team, while Soderberg begins her first season and Lewis-Jay enters her second year.

The Boise Connection:
Washington's entire coaching staff, as well as two players, all have connections to Boise, Idaho. June and Mike Daugherty coached at Boise State from 1990-1996, and among the players they coached were current UW assistants Janet Soderberg and Kellie Lewis-Jay. Soderberg also coached with the Daughertys for one season at BSU (1995-96), and coached Lewis-Jay as a player from 1995-98. Sophomore Maggie O'Hara and freshman Emily Florence both hail from Boise, Idaho, and were teammates at Timberline High School. Lewis-Jay coached the pair on an AAU Idaho Elite team during their prep careers.

Huskies Top Attendance Charts:
Year in and year out, Husky faithful pack the stands at Bank of America Arena, helping UW rank among the top teams in the nation in home attendance. This year figures to be no different. After five home games, UW ranks 25th in the nation with an average of 2,940 fans per game. That same mark is the second-highest among Pac-10 teams, behind only Oregon (3,272). Washington led the Pac-10 in home attendance the last two seasons and ranked in the Top-25 nationally as well. The Huskies' average attendance in 2003-04 was 4,255 fans per game. UW attracted over 6,000 fans for two home games last year, versus Arizona and USC. In 2002-03, UW set an all-time women's basketball attendance record at the arena, when 8,408 fans packed the house to watch the Huskies defeat UCLA 111-77. And for the first time in school history, UW had back-to-back crowds of over 8,000 when 8,083 attended the game versus Stanford on Feb. 13. Washington's average home attendance in 2002-03 was 4,981 and for Pac-10 home games, an average of 5,839 fans were on hand to cheer on the Huskies.

March Madness Is Back In Seattle:
After hosting the NCAA West Regional last year, UW will host the 2005 NCAA Women's Basketball First and Second Rounds, Saturday, March 19, and Monday, March 21. This year the first and second rounds will be conducted at eight predetermined sites, which represents a change from the previous 16 first and second round sites. Tickets are available by calling the Husky ticket office at 206-543-2200 or by logging onto www.gohuskies.com. All-session ticket prices for adults are $40, while student and youth (under age 18) will be $24. Single-session prices are $16 for adults and $10 for student/youth. Should the Huskies advance to the NCAA Tournament, they would play on their home court at Bank of America Arena.

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