Huskies Head To Pullman For Rivalry Game With Cougars
Jan. 18, 2005
Coming off a split at the Oregon schools last week, Washington women's basketball (7-11, 3-5) wraps its road trip against its Northwest rivals when the Huskies take on Washington State (4-13, 0-8) Saturday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. PST in Pullman, Wash. The game at Beasley Coliseum on the WSU campus will be televised live on FSN Northwest. The Huskies are looking for their second-straight win after defeating Oregon State, 75-64, in Corvallis, Saturday. The Cougars are aiming for their first Pac-10 victory, having lost eight straight conference games. Washington has an 18-game winning streak over the Cougs with the last WSU win coming 10 years ago. Washington enters the week seventh in the Pac-10 standings and WSU in 10th.
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 Washington State:
After a 4-3 start to the season - with wins over Boise State, Saint Mary's, Portland State and San Diego State - the Cougars have lost their last 10 straight including eight Pac-10 contests. WSU is coming off a pair of losses at Oregon State (55-83) and Oregon (50-69). The Cougs are 2-6 on their home court this season and are averaging 55.9 points per game on a 34.2 field goal shooting percentage. WSU opponents average 65.1 points and a 40.5 per cent field goal clip. The Cougs have two players averaging points in double-figures, led by 11.2 per game by Kate Benz. Benz is also the Pac-10's leading rebounder with 9.4 boards per game. Adriane Ferguson averages 10.7 points and 4.1 rebounds.
Series With WSU:
Washington leads the all-time series with WSU, 48-10. The Huskies have won the last 18 straight against the Cougars, with the last WSU win coming in Pullman on Feb. 25, 1995 (72-67). UW is 23-4 all-time against WSU in Pullman. Last year, the Huskies defeated the Cougars 82-64 in Pullman (Feb. 21) and 72-54 in Seattle (Jan. 24). Washington State had the edge when the series first began in the the mid-1970's. The Cougars won eight of the first 12 meetings from 1975-1981. But since 1982, Washington has won 44 of the last 46 contests.
Last Time Out:
Led by a career-high 23 points from junior Kristen O'Neill, the Huskies snapped a four-game losing streak and defeated Oregon State, 75-64, at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis. Washington shot a season-high 50 percent from the field, hitting 23-of-46 attempts including eight three-pointers. Senior Shannon Howell finished with a game-high 34 points for the Beavers, but it wasn't enough as OSU dropped its sixth Pac-10 contest in seven games. O'Neill was virtually flawless, shooting 5-of-8 from the field, 4-of-5 from three-point range and 9-of-9 from the free-throw line. Joining her in double-figure scoring for Washington was sophomore Cameo Hicks who nearly had a double-double with 13 points (all in the second-half) and a team-high nine rebounds. Sophomore Breanne Watson added 10 points off the bench. Freshman point guard Emily Florence contributed a career-high eight assists and six rebounds. Washington used a 17-6 run in the middle of the first half to garner a 22-12 lead capped by a fast-break layin by Watson with 5:51 on the clock. The Huskies held a 32-22 lead at halftime, aided by 46-percent shooting from the field and a 4-for-6 clip from beyond the 3-point arc. O'Neill, the first Husky to score at least 20 points this season, opened the second half with five straight points, but the Beaver defense kicked in and helped OSU narrow the gap to 43-39 with 11:01 left. Howell capped off the 17-6 Oregon State run with one of her five steals in the contest and a breakaway lay-up. The Huskies answered with 10 straight points over the next two minutes and never looked back. Howell scored 23 of Oregon State's final 27 points. The Beavers forced 29 Washington turnovers but shot a frigid 34-percent for the game, compared to UW's 50-percent shooting.
Huskies Snap Shooting Slump:
The Huskies finally broke out of their shooting slump at the Oregon schools last week. Until last Thursday, Washington had not shot better than 40 percent from the field in any of its previous 16 games. UW shot a season-high of exactly 40 percent in its 86-75 win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Nov. 26). At Oregon, Thursday, the Huskies broke over 40 percent with a 43.5 percent clip on 30-of-69 shooting. They eclipsed that mark shooting 50 percent (23-for-46) at Oregon State, Saturday. Both performances were well over Washington's average of 35.5 percent going into that week. With a higher shooting percentage, came more offensive production as UW scored at least 75 points in games at Oregon (77) and OSU (75), well above its previous average of 64.8 points. It's the first time this season UW scored at least 75 points in back-to-back outings. Washington's season-high output was 86 points versus Wisconsin-Milwaukee (86-75).
O'Neill Ignites Offense:
The increased offensive production can be credited largely to junior guard/forward Kristen O'Neill who became the first Husky to score 20 points when she recorded a career-high 23 at Oregon State, Saturday. O'Neill had a nearly flawless performance, shooting 5-for-8 from the field, 4-for-5 from long range and 9-for-9 from the free-throw line. O'Neill, the only Husky to start all 18 games, has scored at least 19 points in two of the last three games and at least 11 in five of the last seven. She also became the first UW player to break back into a double-figure scoring average since early in the season. O'Neill now leads the Huskies with 10.1 points per game and 13.0 points in Pac-10 play.
Washington will aim to win back-to-back games for the third time this season. UW opened the year 2-0 defeating South Carolina and then-No. 14 Minnesota, and notched back-to-back 'W's' against Arizona State and California.
The Huskies are also looking to win consecutive road games for the first time this year.
After opening the year 3-1, the Huskies have won four of their last 14 games.
UW's win at OSU, Saturday, broke a four-game losing skid. Washington has lost four-straight twice this year.
Washington has seven players averaging more than six points per game, led by Kristen O'Neill's 10.1.
The Huskies' last two victories came 13 days apart, but UW won both contests by at least 11 points. Washington's 13-point win over Cal, Jan. 2, was its largest winning margin so far this season. UW defeated OSU by 11 in Corvallis last Saturday.
The Huskies have outshot their opponent just four times this year, but are 4-0 in those games (Denver, Cal, ASU and OSU).
Washington opened the season 2-0 for 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 then-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 three losses this year - its first coming at the hands of Washington (Nov. 15). No. 2 LSU and No. 8 Michigan State are the only other teams to defeat the Gophers this year.
Ready For Round Two:
This Saturday's rivalry game in Pullman will mark the end of the first go-around through the Pac-10 schedule. The Huskies open the second-half of Pac-10 play hosting Stanford (Jan. 27) and Cal (Jan. 29) next week.
Washington is 2-4 against Top-25 opponents this season (0-2 on the road, 2-2 at home), upsetting then-No. 14 Minnesota and then-21 Arizona State, but suffering losses to then-No. 7 Notre Dame, then-No. 6 Baylor, then-No. 8 Stanford and then-No. 22 UCLA. The Huskies are 37-95 all-time against ranked opponents. Washington is 26-38 against Top-25 teams at home.
Second Half Struggles:
If only the Huskies could play two 'first' halves. Washington's shooting numbers greatly decrease after the halftime intermission. The Huskies have outscored their opponents by 20 points in the first half (564-544). But after halftime, they have been outscored by 74 points (665-591). Washington has outscored its opponents in the second half just five times, with the Huskies going 5-0 in those games. UW's field goal percentage takes a dip in the second half as well. The Huskies are shooting 35 percent in the second half (203-577), while their opponents have a 46 percent second-half clip (221-483).
Washington's season opener with South Carolina, Nov. 14, marked the first official game for redshirt 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 eight times, including in six of the last 12 games. Burt had a career-high 19 points at Oregon (Jan. 13), eclipsing her previous high of 18 at Utah, and had 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). Burt still leads the team assists (45) and is second in overall scoring (8.9 ppg) and steals (27).
The Huskies' strong field goal shooting percentages at Oregon and Oregon State showed signs that their slump from the field may be over. But it will take some time for UW to improve its average of 65.4 points per game. Washington 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. Going into this weekend's games, Washington's 36.0 percent field goal percentage ranks ninth in the Pac-10. UW is also seventh in scoring offense (65.3).
Coach June Daugherty has spent all season trying to find the right starting lineup combination. Daugherty used her sixth different lineup at Oregon last Thursday. In all she has used nine different starters in 18 games, with junior guard/forward Kristen O'Neill the only player to start all 18. The latest fivesome to get the starting nod in the last two Husky games was sophomore forward Jill Bell, O'Neill, sophomore guard Cameo Hicks, and freshmen guards Dominique Banks and Emily Florence. The combo of O'Neill, Kayla Burt, Florence, Cheri Craddock and 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, 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 to O'Hara, O'Neill, Hicks, Burt and Florence for seven games.
Total Team Effort:
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 10.1 and 6.3 points per game. UW had a different leading in scorer in seven-straight games from Dec. 15 (Baylor) to Jan. 7 (USC): 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), Kristen O'Neill at Stanford (16) and Breanne Watson versus USC (12). Banks, Craddock, Bell and Watson all scored their team-high points coming off the bench.
Redshirt sophomore forward Jill Bell has 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 nine of 18 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 6.1 boards per game and is also the team's fourth-leading scorer averaging 8.2 points. Bell has used her athleticism to lead UW with 24 blocks, including a season-high four versus Minnesota (Nov. 15). Bell's 1.33 blocks per game rank fourth in the Pac-10 heading into play this week. 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 provided valuable minutes off the bench for the Huskies this season, before finally breaking into the starting lineup at Oregon Thursday. Banks had six points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal in her first collegiate start against the Ducks. She followed that up with eight points and two steals at Oregon State, Saturday. Banks is sixth on the team in scoring with 7.1 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. 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 tied for fourth on the team in steals (20) and is fifth in assists (28).
Freshman point guard Emily Florence, who has started 15 of 18 games in her first collegiate season, has provided a spark to the Husky defense, leading Washington with 29 steals for an average of 1.61 per game. That number has her 10th on the Pac-10 list for steals heading into play this week. Florence has led the team in steals in seven of the last 10 games, including a career-high four at California (Jan. 2). She has also helped her teammates get into the scoring act and is second on the squad with 36 assists (2.0 apg). Florence dished a career-high eight assists at OSU last Saturday, the most assists by a Husky in a single game this year. She also grabbed a career-high six boards in Corvallis.
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. She has shown that especially in Pac-10 games, scoring at least 10 points in the last three-straight. She had 10 versus UCLA, a season-high 16 at Oregon and 13 at OSU. Hicks is the team's third-leading scorer with 8.7 points per game and is second in rebounding with 4.3 boards per game. In fact Hicks has been UW's leading rebounder in four of the last six games, grabbing at least six boards in contests with Cal, Stanford, USC and Oregon State. She tied for the team lead with seven rebounds at Cal, tied for the lead with six at Stanford and was the sole leader with six boards versus USC and a season-high nine at OSU. Hicks is third on the team with a field goal shooting percentage of 39.2 percent (60-for-153).
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 24 three-pointers. Also a sprinter on the UW track team, Craddock has reached double-figures in scoring five times including a 14-point performance versus Arizona that matched her career high set earlier this year. Craddock also had 10 points versus Baylor (Dec. 15), 11 at Michigan (Nov. 22) and 10 at Oregon (Jan. 13). She missed games versus USC and UCLA after suffering a sprained right ankle in practice, Jan. 6. An aggravation of the injury forced her to miss the second half at Oregon, and despite playing through the pain managed 10 points (4-of-6, 2-of-3 from long range) in 10 minutes before coming out. Still struggling through the injury at OSU, Craddock recorded six points (on a pair of three-pointers) in seven minutes. She also grabbed three boards.
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 4-6 this season, unusual for a squad that has dominated opponents on its own floor. The Huskies have always excelled at home, compiling an overall record of 267-66 (.802) at Bank of America Arena (also known as Hec Edmundson Pavilion before the 2000 renovation). Washington has an overall home record of 29-11 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. Washington has never finished a season with less from a .500 record on its home court and its six home losses is an all-time high. Prior to this year, Washington had not lost more than five games at Bank of America Arena in a single season.
UW Upsets 2004 Final Four Team Minnesota:
The second day of the WBCA BTI Classic (Nov. 15), 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) and to No. 22 UCLA (74-63).
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 146-110, and a career record of 269-184. 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 10 home games, UW ranks 33rd in the nation with an average of 3,072 fans per game. That mark is third-highest among Pac-10 teams, behind Oregon (25th, 3,701) and Stanford (29th, 3,424). 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.