Husky Women Host Arizona State Wednesday
Dec. 28, 2004
Washington women's basketball (4-7, 0-1) closes a four-game homestand hosting 21st-ranked Arizona State (9-2, 1-0) Wednesday, Dec. 29, at 7 p.m. at Bank of America Arena. Washington is searching for its first Pac-10 win that would also put an end to its four-game losing streak. The Huskies, coming off a four-point loss to Arizona (67-63) in their Pac-10 opener, haven't been in the 'W' column since Dec. 6 at Denver. A Husky victory would also preserve UW's winning streak over Arizona State in Seattle, as Washington has won the last eight-consecutive meetings with ASU at home. UW will have a fire to put out as the Sun Devils, winners of two straight and eight of their last nine, are coming off a 67-39 thumping of Washington State in Pullman, Monday. ASU is ranked No. 21 in the Associated Press poll and No. 23 in the WBCA/ESPN/USA Today poll. The game will be televised live by FSN Northwest with Cara Capuano and Elise Woodward calling the action.
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.
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 State:
The Sun Devils opened their Pac-10 slate at Washington State Monday, defeating the Cougars 67-39. ASU has won three of its last four, a stint that included victories over perennial powers Georgia (67-57) and Connecticut (61-50). In fact the Sun Devils have won eight of their last nine since opening the season 1-1. ASU's two losses have come at the hands of No. 1 LSU in Baton Rouge (54-65) and at No. 25 New Mexico (45-61). Three players average scoring in double-figures, led by Kristen Kovesdy with 11.4 points per game. Close behind are Emily Westerberg (11.1 ppg) and All-Pac-10 player Kylan Loney (11.0). ASU has held its opponents to an average of 49 points per game, against its average of 67.9 ppg. The Sun Devils also have an edge in rebounding, averaging 34.5 per game to their opponents 29.5.
The All-Time Series With ASU:
The Huskies lead the all-time series with ASU, 24-13. These teams split their two conference meetings last year, each winning on their home court. Washington defeated ASU 63-55 in Seattle Feb. 26, 2004, avenging an 84-81 overtime defeat to the Sun Devils in Tempe, Dec. 29, 2003. UW has won three of the last five games with ASU dating back to 2002. Washington has defeated ASU eight straight games in Seattle dating back to 1996. The last win for the Sun Devils at Bank of America Arena (Hec Edmundson Pavilion) was Feb. 3, 1996, 81-77.
Including its 67-63 loss to Arizona Monday, Washington is 13-6 all-time in Pac-10 openers, including a 7-3 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 year, Washington opened the Pac-10 slate suffering a pair of losses to Arizona State and Arizona in the desert.
Last Time Out:
Dee-Dee Wheeler scored four of her game-high 18 points in the final minute as Arizona held off a spirited Husky women's basketball team for a 67-63 win in both teams' Pac-10 openers Monday night. Arizona (9-2, 1-0) led by as many as 10 points on three occasions, but could not put away a Washington team (4-7, 0-1) seeking to open Pac-10 play on a positive note after losing five of its last six non-conference affairs. UW sophomore Cheri Craddock and freshman Dominique Banks led the Huskies back from a 40-30 deficit with 14 minutes to play. Craddock hit a trifecta of three-point field goals in a two-minute span to cut the lead to one (45-44) and Banks added jumpers on consecutive possessions to cap a 21-10 UW run which tied the game at 51-51 with 7:42 to play. The Wildcats scored on their next two possessions and Wheeler added a pair of free-throws to make it 57-51 with 5:27 remaining. UW cut the Arizona lead to two with a pair of free-throws by sophomore Maggie O'Hara and a layin from junior Kristen O'Neill off an assist from O'Hara. But that was as close as the Huskies would get, as Wheeler scored the next four-straight points to provide the Wildcats with a six-point cushion. Craddock finished the game matching a career-high with 14 points, while O'Hara led all UW rebounders with 10, also matching a career-best. O'Neill added 12 points and Banks had 11, as the huskies suffered just their sixth loss in 19 Pac-10 openers.
In Arizona State, the Huskies are facing their third Top-25 opponent in the last five games.
Wednesday's game wraps a four-game homestand for Washington, its longest of the season.
Washington is below the .500 mark (4-7) 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 11 games, but no player averages more than 10 points per game. Junior Kayla Burt has a team-high average of 9.8.
The Huskies have been held to under 60 points in four of the last seven games, including back-to-back outings versus Alabama and Utah, and Notre Dame and Baylor. But the Huskies have scored above 60 points in the last two games, 74 versus Colorado and 63 versus Arizona.
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 11 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 10 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.
Washington's 16 second-half points versus Baylor were 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 11 games, averaging a team-high of 6.6 boards. No other UW player has more than 4.0 rebounds per game. Bell is one of two Huskies to have reached double-digits in rebounding this season, having grabbed 11 boards in the team's win over No. 14 Minnesota. Sophomore Maggie O'Hara recorded 10 rebounds versus Arizona, Monday.
The Huskies lead the Pac-10 in offensive rebounds with 17.0 per game.
The Washington defense has forced each of its opponents to commit at least 15 turnovers.
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.
Minnesota, currently ranked 12th in this week's AP poll, has suffered just two losses this year - its first coming at the hands of Washington (Nov. 15). Top-ranked LSU is the only other team to defeat the Gophers this year, doing so Dec. 14.
Rough Road Ahead:
Following Wednesday's game with Arizona State, the Huskies will play four games in eight days beginning with a trip to the Bay Area this weekend. UW celebrate the New Year at Cal (Sun., Jan. 2) and Stanford (Tues., Jan. 4) before turning around and hosting USC (Fri., Jan. 7) and UCLA (Sun., Jan. 9). Due to the holidays, Washington does not return to its normal Thursday-Saturday Pac-10 schedule until facing the Oregon schools in the Willamette Valley, Jan. 13 and Jan. 15.
The Huskies have lost their last two games by a combined six points, falling by just two to Colorado in overtime (76-74) and by a mere four points to Arizona (67-63). Another UW loss at Utah (Dec. 4) was just a six-point deficit (56-64).
Huskies Wrap Non-Conference Slate:
Washington's game with Colorado, Dec. 21, 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.
The Last Time...:
Washington lost four-straight was the 1999-2000 season, a span that included five consecutive losses to three-non conference opponents and two Pac-10 teams.
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 351 to 336 (a 15 point margin) in the opening frame. On the flipside, UW has been outscored 406 to 348 (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 35 percent in the second half (120-344), while their opponents have a 44 percent second-half clip (140-273). Washington helped bring those numbers down against Arizona, shooting 50 percent from the field in the second half after a dismal 22 percent performance in the first.
Washington is 1-2 against Top-25 opponents this season (1-1 at home), upsetting then-No. 14 Minnesota, before suffering 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.
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 six games. Burt had a 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 (9.8 ppg) assists (31), steals (18) and is fifth in rebounding (3.0). Her scoring average has dipped after the last two games. After scoring in double-figures four-straight games, Burt scored a total of nine points in games versus Colorado (nine) and Arizona (none).
Washington's average of 65.5 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 35.5 percent field goal percentage ranks ninth in the Pac-10. UW was also ninth in scoring offense (65.5).
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. UW leads the Pac-10 in 3-pointers made with 72, for an average of 6.55 per game. The Huskies' overall 3-point FG percentage isn't quite as high, since UW also leads the conference with 219 3-pointers attempted. Washington ranks seventh in the Pac-10 with a 32.9 3-point shooting average. Individually, junior Kristen O'Neill and sophomore Cheri Craddock rank in the Top-10 in 3-pointers made with 18 and 19, respectively.
Coach June Daugherty has gone with five different lineups featuring eight different players in 11 games. Only junior Kristen O'Neill has started all 11. 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 and Arizona: 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 13 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 9.8 and 6.7 points per game. Washington has had a different high-scorer in each of its last four games: Kayla Burt at Notre Dame (16), Cameo Hicks versus Baylor (15), Dominique Banks versus Colorado (19) and Cheri Craddock versus Arizona (14)
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 11 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 fourth-leading scorer (7.9 ppg). She had the best game of her young career in UW's contest 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). Over the last two games, Banks averaged 15 points, five rebounds, and 3.5 assists. The freshman is one of only two Huskies shooting over 40 percent with a 42.1 clip from the field (32-76). Only Maggie O'Hara has a higher percentage (.439 on 18-41).
Freshman point guard Emily Florence has adjusted to college ball quite well, starting eight of 11 games for the Huskies. Measuring in at just 5-5, Florence has been a gutsy defensive player, ranking second on the team in steals (14). She is third on the team in assists (20) as well.
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 11 games, is second on the team with 23 assists and dished a team-high three assists in UW's first two games. In addition to being UW's second leading scorer (8.2) and rebounder (3.7), O'Neill is tied for fifth on the team in steals (11). She has reached double-figures in scoring on five occasions, including a season-high 14 points versus Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
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 players. Hicks is the team's third-leading scorer with 8.1 points per game and is second in rebounding with 4.0 boards per game. She is tied for second on the squad in offensive rebounds (19) and has the highest 3-point shooting percentage (5-11 for .455).
Cheri 'Machine-Gun' Craddock:
Sophomore forward Cheri Craddock has played true to her nickname coined last year when she was a walk-on freshman. Craddock's quick release -style shooting has made her one of the Huskies' top three-point threats. Craddock has a team-high 19 treys, ranking eighth in the Pac-10. Her 36.5 3-point percentage (19-52) is second on the team (more than 15 attempts). Only Kristen O'Neill has a higher clip beyond the arc at 36.7 percent (18-49). Also a sprinter on the UW track team, Craddock has reached double-figures in scoring twice in the last three games including a 14-point performance Monday versus Arizona that matched her career high set earlier this year. Craddock had 10 points versus Baylor (Dec. 15).
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.
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 have an uncharacteristic home record of 3-4 this season, unusual for a squad that has dominated opponents on its home floor. The Huskies have always excelled at home, compiling an overall record of 266-64 (.806) at Bank of America Arena (also known as Hec Edmundson Pavilion before the 2000 renovation). Washington has an overall home record of 28-9 since the 2002-03 season. 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 sophomores 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 and three WNIT squads from last year. 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). Washington's contest with 21st-ranked Arizona State Wednesday will be its third opponent in five games that is ranked in the Associated Press Top-25.
Husky Coaching Staff:
June Daugherty is in 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 144-106, and a career record of 267-180. 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 six home games, UW ranks 28th in the nation with an average of 2,938 fans per game. That same mark is the second-highest among Pac-10 teams, behind only Oregon (3,399). 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.