Huskies Host LA Schools This Weekend, Entertain USC Friday
Jan. 6, 2005
After splitting a pair of games in the Bay Area earlier this week, Washington women's basketball (6-8, 2-2 Pac-10) returns to Seattle and on little rest hosts USC (8-4, 2-1) and No. 22 UCLA (9-3, 3-0) this weekend. UW will face the Women of Troy, Friday, Jan. 7, at 7 p.m. at Bank of America Arena - a game televised live on FSN Northwest with Jim Watson and Elise Woodward calling the action - before the Bruins come to town for a 1 p.m. contest Sunday, Jan. 9. After playing games on Sunday and Tuesday on the road this week, the Huskies traveled home on Wednesday and had one day of practice Thursday to prep for USC. UW is in the midst of opening the New Year playing four games in eight days. The Huskies, who have won two of their last three games, will have their hands full with both the Women of Troy and the Bruins. USC is off to its best start since 1997, and UCLA, the only undefeated Pac-10 team, will be Washington's fifth ranked opponent in the last nine games.
Friday night's game versus USC is TGIP Night. Free purple Husky T-shirts will be given out to the first 3,500 fans courtesy of FSN and The Bon-Macy's. Show up early to get your T-shirt!
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.
Scouting USC (8-4, 2-1):
The Women of Troy, under the direction of first-year head coach Mark Trakh, come to Seattle having won three of their last four games. USC's only loss during that time was a one-point heartbreaker to rival UCLA (61-62) in Westwood, Dec. 28. USC is coming off a sweep of the Oregon schools at home. At 8-4, USC is off to its best start since the 1997 season. It also marks the first time since 1997 that the team began the conference season with a winning record (6-3). Like the Huskies, no USC player is currently averaging double-figures. There are seven players averaging more than six points per game. Freshman Brynn Cameron has a team-high 9.9 points per game, followed by senior foward Rachel Woodward with 8.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Two players average at least five boards per game (sophomore forward Jamie Funn with 5.0 and junior guard Meghan Gnekow with 5.9). The Women of Troy are leading the Pac-10 in three-point field goals made, averaging a conference-best 6.25 three-pointers. USC is outscoring its opponents 68.0 points to 63.2 per game, and outrebounding them 38.8 to 37.9.
All-Time Series With USC:
Washington leads the all-time series with Southern California, 25-14. The Huskies have won the last two straight and eight of the last nine. The Huskies have dominated the Women of Troy on their home court, leading USC 14-3 all-time in Seattle. The last time USC defeated Washington at home was March 9, 2000, 88-76, in overtime. In fact, three of the last five games played in Seattle have gone into overtime, the last being an 80-79 Husky win on Jan. 6, 2002. The previous matchup also went into an extra frame, with UW winning 91-79 in three overtimes on Jan. 7, 2001. Last year, the Huskies and Women of Troy faced each other three times, with each team winning on their home court during the regular season and UW defeating USC 67-50 in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament. UW and USC have faced each other in the last two Pac-10 quarterfinals. Washington won the 2003 matchup by one point, 64-63.
Scouting No. 22/23 UCLA:
The Bruins, ranked 22nd in the AP poll and 23rd in the WBCA Coaches poll, open this weekend as the only undefeated team in Pac-10 play with a 3-0 conference record. UCLA opened with wins over USC (62-61), Oregon State (73-45) and Oregon (70-54). Among those teams the Bruins have defeated this season are Texas and Purdue, both Top-25 teams. UCLA has four players averaging double-figures, led by this week's Pac-10 Player of the Week, Noelle Quinn. Quinn averages 18.7 points per game, to go along with 7.7 rebounds. Quinn is averaging a double-double in league play, averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds in the first three Pac-10 games. Other players averaging in double-figures are Lisa Willis (13.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg), Nikki Blue (11.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and Lindsey Pluimer (10.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg). UCLA will play at Washington State in Pullman, Friday, before traveling West to Seattle.
All-Time Series With UCLA:
Washington leads the all-time series with UCLA, 24-14, but the Bruins have won the last two straight and three of the last four. Washington leads UCLA 12-4 all-time in Seattle. The Bruins swept the season series from UW last year, winning both contests by a mere five points. UCLA defeated UW 64-59 in Seattle (Feb. 5, 2004) and 65-60 (Jan. 11, 2004) at Pauley Pavilion. Until last year, UCLA had not won a game at Bank of America Arena since 1998. UCLA's only other Seattle win came on Feb. 29, 1992, another close 65-62 decision.
Last Time Out:
Washington had its two-game win streak snapped in Palo Alto, Tuesday, as the Huskies fell to No. 8 Stanford, 74-61, at the newly renovated Maples Pavilion. UW junior Kristen O'Neill had a season-high 16 points, including a career-high four three-pointers, but it wasn't enough to propel Washington. Washington hung with Stanford through the first half, outshooting the Cardinal from beyond the arc (66.7 percent to 40 percent) and from the charity stripe (75 percent to 71 percent) in the opening frame. Washington led by as many as five points through the first 11 minutes (17-12). But Stanford used a 13-8 run to take a 33-29 lead into halftime. Washington started out the second half with some promise, putting together a 6-0 run on two buckets from sophomore Cameo Hicks and one from sophomore Maggie O'Hara, to regain the lead, 35-34, at 18:22. Stanford responded with a 7-0 run of its own to take an eight point lead and never looked back. The Cardinal led by as many as 15, 60-45, with six minutes left. O'Neill had three of her four three-pointers in the last six minutes but could only shrink the Stanford lead to 10. Stanford had two players end with double-doubles, Brooke Smith (12 points, 10 rebounds) and reserve Kristen Newlin (14 points, 11 rebounds). Freshman sensation Candice Wiggins also had 15 points, seven boards and three assists. Joining O'Neill in double-figures for the Huskies were sophomores Jill Bell and Breanne Watson with 11 and 12 points, respectively, from the bench. O'Neill and sophomore Cameo Hicks led with six boards apiece. Junior guard Kayla Burt rolled her right ankle in the second-half and was forced to leave the game. She returned to play against the Cardinal and is listed as probable for Friday's game with USC.
Working around the Christmas and New Year's holidays, the Pac-10's opening two weeks of play will test all conference teams early. Beginning with their Pac-10 opener versus Arizona, the Huskies are in the midst of playing its first six league games in 14 days. Washington had just one day to tuneup for Friday's game with USC, after arriving home from its Bay Area trip on Wednesday. Next week the conference returns to its usual schedule of Thursday-Saturday games. UW travels to Oregon (Jan. 13) and Oregon State (Jan. 15).
The Huskies are in the midst of playing five of seven games on the road that began with their game at Cal, Jan. 2. After hosting the LA schools this weekend, UW will take two consecutive bus trips for a weekend series with Oregon State and Oregon, and a rivalry game with Washington State.
Washington has seven players averaging more than six points per game, but no player in double-figures. Junior guard Kristen O'Neill averages a team-high 9.3 points and has scored in double-figures the last four-straight games. She has averaged 13 points and 3.5 rebounds in UW's first four Pac-10 games.
The Huskies have outscored their Pac-10 opponents, averaging 63 points to their oponents' 62.
Led by a career-high four three-pointers from O'Neill, Washington connected for eight treys at Stanford (Jan. 4). That performance came after UW hit just two three-pointers combined in its previous two games before facing the Cardinal.
Washington's 13-point win over Cal, Jan. 2, was its largest winning margin so far this season.
No. 22 UCLA is the Huskies' sixth ranked opponent this year, and fifth in the last nine games. UW is 2-3 against Top-25 teams this year, with victories coming over then-No. 14 Minnesota and then-No. 21 Arizona State. The Huskies have outshot their opponent just three times this year, but have done so in two of the last three games. UW outshot Arizona State (Dec. 29) 39.6 percent to 37.1, and outshot Cal (Jan. 2), 35.4 percent to 27.5 percent.
Washington has had a different leading scorer in its last six games: Cameo Hicks versus Baylor (15), Dominique Banks versus Colorado (19), Cheri Craddock versus Arizona (14), Kayla Burt versus Arizona State (12), Jill Bell at Cal (14), Kristen O'Neill at Stanford (16).
Washington's win over Arizona State (Dec. 29) marked the first time in coach June Daugherty's nine years that her team won without making a three-pointer. UW was 0-for-7 from three-point range, both figures season-lows for a team that came into the game averaging nearly seven threes and 20 three-point attempts per game. The Huskies have been held without a three-pointer on three other occassions since 1996-97, all resulting in UW losses.
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 14 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 13 contests. For the season, Washington is shooting 35 percent, seven percent lower than its 2003-04 average, while UW opponents are connecting at a 44 percent rate, a three-percent increase from the 2003-04 season.
The Huskies lead the Pac-10 in offensive rebounds (16.79 per game), but rank ninth in defensive rebounds (21.43).
The Washington defense has forced each of its opponents to commit at least 15 turnovers. The Huskies have forced 304 turnovers this year, while only committing 221 of their own.
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 11th 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.
Washington is 2-3 against Top-25 opponents this season (0-2 on the road, 2-1 at home), upsetting then-No. 14 Minnesota and then-21 Arizona State, before suffering losses to then-No. 7 Notre Dame, then-No. 6 Baylor and then-No. 8 Stanford. The Huskies are 37-94 all-time against ranked opponents. Washington is26-37 against Top-25 teams at home, and 10-16 versus Top-10 teams at home.For What It's Worth: The Huskies have scored the same point total in consecutive games, three times this year. UW scored 56 points in back-to-back losses to Alabama and Utah. Then recorded 58 points in two-straight versus Notre Dame and Baylor, both losses. Now most recently, the Huskies racked up 63 points versus both Arizona and ASU.
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.
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 439 to 421 (an 18 point margin) in the opening frame. On the flipside, UW has been outscored 502 to 449 (a 53 point deficit) in the second half. The Huskies have outscored their opponents in the second half four times: in its first two wins over South Carolina and Minnesota, and its two wins over ASU and Cal. Washington's field goal percentage takes a dip in the second half as well. The Huskies are shooting 35 percent in the second half (157-451), while their opponents have a 47 percent second-half clip (170-365).
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 seven times, including in five of the last nine 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 steals (22) and assists (43) and ranks second in scoring (9.1 ppg.
Washington's average of 64.9 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 35.4 percent field goal percentage ranks ninth in the Pac-10. UW is also eighth in scoring offense (64.9).
Coach June Daugherty has gone with five different lineups featuring eight different players in 14 games. Only junior Kristen O'Neill has started all 14. 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 first 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 for the last five games: O'Hara, O'Neill, Hicks, Burt, Florence are the latest group to earn starting status.
Sharing The Wealth:
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 9.3 and 6.1 points per game. Washington has had a different high-scorer in each of its last six games: Cameo Hicks versus Baylor (15), Dominique Banks versus Colorado (19), Cheri Craddock versus Arizona (14), Kayla Burt against Arizona State (12), Jill Bell at Cal (14) and Kristen O'Neill at Stanford (16). Banks, Craddock and Bell all scored their team-high points coming off the bench.
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 eight of 14 games this season, including an 11-board performance against Minnesota and back-to-back nine-rebound efforts at Utah and Denver. She leads the team with with an average of 6.4 boards per game and is also the team's third-leading scorer averaging 8.1 points. 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 (7.2 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). The freshman has the fourth-highest field goal shooting percentage on the team (.367).
Freshman point guard Emily Florence has adjusted to college ball quite well, starting 11 of 14 games for the Huskies. Measuring in at just 5-5, Florence has been a gutsy defensive player, ranking second on the team in steals (21) and third in assists (24). Florence matched her career high in scoring with nine points at Cal (Jan. 2).
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 14 games, leads the team with 9.3 points per game. She is second with 27 assists and third in steals (17). She has reached double-figures in scoring eight times and the last four straight, including a season-high 16 points at Stanford (Jan. 4). O'Neill also set a career-high with four three-pointers versus the Cardinal.
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 fourth-leading scorer with 7.9 points per game and is second in rebounding with 4.1 boards per game. She has the highest 3-point shooting percentage (6-13 for .462).
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 is second on the team with 20 three-pointers. Also a sprinter on the UW track team, Craddock has reached double-figures in scoring twice in the last six games including a 14-point performance 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 a home record of 4-4 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 267-64 (.806) at Bank of America Arena (also known as Hec Edmundson Pavilion before the 2000 renovation). Washington has an overall home record of 29-9 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.
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 pulled another upset over No. 21 Arizona State (63-55), before falling at No. 8 Stanford (61-74). UCLA, ranked 22nd, is UW's sixth ranked opponent of the year.
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 145-107, and a career record of 268-181. 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 eight home games, UW ranks 28th in the nation with an average of 3,029 fans per game. That same mark is the second-highest among Pac-10 teams, behind only Oregon (24th, 3,657). 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. 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.
TOMORROW | 3:00pm PTLive