Husky Women Open Two-Game Road Stint At UCLA Thursday
Feb. 2, 2005
Having won three of its last four games, the Washington women's basketball team (9-12, 5-6 Pac-10) looks to continue its good fortune on the road this week. The Huskies head to Los Angeles to face UCLA (13-7, 7-4), Thursday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion, followed by a contest versus USC (14-6, 8-3), Saturday, Feb. 5, at 4 p.m. at the LA Sports Arena. The Huskies enter the week in seventh-place in the Pac-10 standings, while UCLA is tied for fourth and USC is second only behind Stanford. Washington is coming off its best offensive performance of the season, shooting 53 percent and scoring a Pac-10 best 80 points in its win over California, Jan. 29. The Huskies look to salvage a season split with both the Bruins and the Women of Troy. Washington was swept by both teams at home in early January.
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.
The Pac-10 announced Monday that Washington's game with Oregon in Seattle on Saturday, Feb. 12, was selected for a national FSN telecast and will tip-off at 1 p.m. PST. The Huskies now will have had nine televised games this year, with an opportunity for one more - its season finale at Arizona, Feb. 26, is also up for selection by FSN. That announcement will be made Feb. 14.
The Bruins will have a different look on Thursday, missing sophomore sensation Noelle Quinn who has been out with a knee injury since Jan. 16. Quinn, on the Midseason Top-20 list for the John R. Wooden Award, was averaging 16.9 points and 7.1 rebounds before the injury. Stepping up in her place have been junior Nikki Blue (13.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and junior Lisa Willis (15.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg). TheBruins are coming off a 74-54 victory over Oregon State in Corvallis, Jan. 29, but have lost three of their last five games. UCLA averages 72.1 points per game and is shooting 41.4 percent from the field. The Bruins lead the Pac-10 in steals with 12.35 per game. UCLA is 6-2 at Pauley Pavilion this year, 3-2 in Pac-10 games.
Series With UCLA:
Washington leads the all-time series with UCLA, 24-15, but the Bruins have won the last three straight and four of the last five. The Huskies will look to salvage a split in the season series after suffering a 74-63 defeat to UCLA in Seattle on Jan. 9. Noelle Quinn led the Bruin attack with 18 points. For the Huskies junior Kristen O'Neill set a then-career high with 19 points. 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. UCLA has won six of the last seven contests with Washington at Pauley. The last time UW defeated UCLA in Westwood was a 20-point victory, 68-48, on Feb. 3, 2002.
The Women of Troy enter the week in second-place in the conference standings behind Stanford and have won eight of their last 10 games. Washington will look to spoil USC's perfect home record (4-0) against Pac-10 opponents. USC has just two conference losses, coming at the hands of Stanford and Oregon. Freshman Brynn Cameron leads the team with 10.1 points per game and is eighth in the nation in three-point shooting with a 45.7 percent clip from long range. The Women of Troy will entertain Washington State on Thursday before facing Washington Saturday.
Series With USC:
Washington leads the all-time series with Southern California, 25-15. The Huskies have won two of the last three games and eight of the last 10. Washington is looking to salvage a split in the season series. USC defeated UW 62-52 in Seattle, Jan. 7, marking the first time the Women of Troy defeated the Huskies on their home court since the 2000 season. 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. The last time UW defeated USC in Los Angeles was an 83-81 overtime win at the LA Sports Arena on Jan. 5, 2003.
Freshman guard Stefanie Clark returns home to her native Southern California this week. Clark hails from Lakeview Terrace, Calif. and prepped at Harvard-Westlake High School in North Hollywood. Clark has come off the bench in 11 games for Washington this year.
Last Time Out:
The Huskies used a career-high 17 points from sophomore forward Jill Bell and a season-high 53 percent field goal shooting percentage to defeat California, 80-76, in front of 3,286 fans at Bank of America Arena, Jan. 29. Bell was joined by four other Huskies in double-figure scoring, including sophomore forward Breanne Watson (season-high 13 points), junior guard Kayla Burt (12) and sophomore guard Cameo Hicks (10). Burt also grabbed a team-high six rebounds and matched a season-high with seven assists. Cal's Renee Wright led five Golden Bears in double-figures with 17 points. Washington trailed 34-31 at the intermission and Cal built as much as an eight-point lead with 14:56 to play. Bell scored 13 of her 17 points in the second-half and keyed a 14-5 second-half run to erase the deficit. She scored six points in that run, including a lay-in that tied the score at 56 with 8:13 to play. From there both teams battled basket-for basket, until a bucket from sophomore guard Hicks put UW ahead 73-71 with just over two minutes remaining. It was a lead the Huskies would not relinquish, as the Bears began to foul. Burt made four free-throws down the stretch to hold Cal at bay. Washington set a season-high with a 52.7 percent (29-for-54) clip from the field, and shot 90.5 percent from the free-throw line (19-for-21). Burt was perfect from the charity stripe, going 10-for-10. Watson was also 4-for-4 from the line.
Washington has played four teams ranked in this week's Associated Press Top-25: No. 4 Stanford, No. 6 Notre Dame, No. 8 Baylor and No. 14 Minnesota. UW is 1-4 versus these squads.
The Huskies shot a season-high 52.7 percent from the field in its last outing versus California, Jan. 29. UW has greatly improved its clip from the field in recent contests. Until their game at Oregon, Jan. 13, the Huskies had yet to shoot better than 40 percent (they shot exactly 40 percent versus Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Nov. 26). Since then, UW has shot at least 43 percent in three of its last four games including a 50 percent clip (23-46) at Oregon State (Jan. 15) and a 52.7 percent clip (29-55) versus California, Saturday.
The Huskies shot a scorching 68 percent (17-25) from the field in the second half versus California, well above its average shooting percentage in any other half this year.
The Huskies' 80 points in their win over Cal, Saturday, was a Pac-10 high and just six points shy of matching their season-high (86 versus Wisconsin-Milwaukee).
After opening Pac-10 play 2-5, Washington has won three of its last four conference games.
Washington has six players averaging more than seven points per game, led by Kristen O'Neill's 9.7 points per game.
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 14th in this week's AP poll, has suffered just four losses this year - its first coming at the hands of Washington (Nov. 15).
Washington has outscored its opponents in the second half just seven times, but the Huskies are 7-0 in those games.
Redshirt sophomore forward Jill Bell has come into her own this season, especially in the last three games. The Bellevue High grad could always be depended upon for her vertical leap and ability to rebound, but recently she has taken her offensive game to a new level. Leading the team in scoring the last three-straight games, Bell has scored at least 14 points in those contests, including a career-high 17 versus California in UW's last outing. She notched her second career double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds at Washington State (Jan. 22). She has reached double-figures in scoring for a team-high 10 times, including in four of the last five games. Bell's scoring average has improved to 9.1 points per game and she has a team-best 41.5 field goal shooting percentage (83-200). She is still Washington's top rebounder with 6.0 boards per game, and ranks eighth in the Pac-10. Bell has used her athleticism to lead UW with 26 blocks, including a season-high four versus Minnesota (Nov. 15). Among the league's elite, Bell ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in blocks (1.24 per game) and offensive rebounds (2.57). 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, set in last year's Husky win over Denver.
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 has reached double-figures 10 times, including eight of the last 15 games. Burt has paid little mind to her new reserve roll the last five games after starting 15. She came off the bench to score a career-high 19 points at Oregon (Jan. 13), eclipsing her previous high of 18 at Utah. Burt matched her career-high for three-pointers (four) and rebounds (seven) at Washington State and most recently against Cal, Jan. 29, Burt scored 13 points on a perfect 10-for-10 clip from the line, to go along with a team-high six rebounds and seven assists. Her perfect effort from the free-throw line improved her FT shooting percentage to 77.8, which ranks seventh in the Pac-10. She leads the team in assists (59) and is second in overall scoring (9.2 ppg) and steals (32). Burt also ranks 10th in the Pac-10 in both assists (2.81) and steals (1.52).
O'Neill Ignites Offense:
Despite redshirting last year with a stress fracture in her left foot, co-captain Kristen O'Neill has been looked upon to lead this young Husky team and has done so in successful fashion. Perhaps the Huskies' most versatile player, O'Neill starts at forward but also rotates in at point guard for starter Emily Florence.She became the first Husky to score 20 points when she recorded a career-high 23 at Oregon State, Jan. 15. 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 21 games, has scored at least 11 points in five of the last 10 games and has 10 total double-figure scoring games. O'Neill leads the team in scoring with 9.7 points per game and has the fourth-highest shooting percentage (38.2). She is also one of UW's top three-point threats and leads the team with 32 three-pointers made. Her average of 1.52 trey per game rank ninth on the Pac-10 list heading into this week. In Pac-10 play, O'Neill is averaging 11.4 points and 3.2 rebounds, while shooting 39.6 percent from the field (44-111).
The Right Combination:
Using her sixth different starting lineup this year, head coach June Daugherty seems to have found her fab five. Forwards Jill Bell and Kristen O'Neill, and guards Cameo Hicks, Dominique Banks and Emily Florence have started the last five games, a span in which the Huskies have won three. During that span, the Huskies have shot at least 50 percent from the field twice, this coming from team that failed to shoot above 40 percent until Jan. 15. Overall Daugherty has used nine different starters in 21 games, with junior guard/forward Kristen O'Neill the only player to start all 21. 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 at Utah; and Bell, Watson, Hicks, Burt and O'Neill at 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.
For a team that traditionally averages over 70 points per game, Washington's 65.9 percent point average - that ranks seventh in the Pac-10 - is uncharacteristic. 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. That average could rise as the Huskies coming off an 80-point performance versus Cal, Jan. 29.
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 six players averaging between 9.7 and 7.3 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.
Banks Breaks Through:
Freshman guard Dominique Banks provided valuable minutes off the bench, before finally breaking into the starting lineup at Oregon Jan. 13. Since earning that starting role Banks has taken advantage of the opportunity. She 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, Jan. 15, and 11 points (including a 7-for-7 mark from the free-throw line), six rebounds and two assists at WSU, Jan. 22. Banks is sixth on the team in scoring with 7.3 ppg. She had the best game of her young career coming off the bench in UW's contest versus Colorado, setting career numbers in five categories that included scoring 19 points. Banks also set career numbers in assists (four), field goals made (seven), field goals attempted (13), and free-throws attempted (eight). Her career-best in rebounding came versus Stanford (Jan. 27) as she pulled down seven boards, including six offensive. The freshman is tied for third on the team in steals (23) and is fifth in assists (33).
Freshman Emily Florence may not have the scoring and rebounding numbers but the 5-5 point guard has sparked a much improved Husky defense with her tenacious and fearless play. Florence, who has started 18 of 21 games in her first collegiate season, leads Washington with 35 steals for an average of 1.67 per game. That number has her ninth on the Pac-10 list for steals. Florence has led the team in steals in eight of the last 13 games, including a career-high four at California (Jan. 2). Washington has also relied upon her unselfish play with Florence playing a big part in helping her teammates get into the scoring act. She is third on the squad with 40 assists. Florence dished a career-high eight assists at OSU Jan. 15, the most assists by a Husky in a single game this year. She also grabbed a career-high six boards in Corvallis, and matched that number with six at Washington State, Jan. 22. Four of her six rebounds in Pullman were on the offensive end.
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 five of the last six games. She had 10 versus UCLA, a season-high 16 at Oregon, 13 at OSU, 11 at Washington State and 10 versus Cal. Hicks is the team's fourth-leading scorer with 8.7 points per game and is second in rebounding with 4.3 boards per game. She grabbed at least eight boards in back-to-back games (nine at OSU, eight at WSU). 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 second on the team with a field goal shooting percentage of 39.5 percent (70-for-177).
Cheri 'Machine-Gun' Craddock:
Sophomore guard 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. Despite seeing limited minutes since suffering a high ankle sprain in practice on Jan. 6, Craddock leads the team and ranks 10th in the Pac-10 with a 36.9 three-point shooting percentage (minimum1.0 made per game). She is third on the squad with 24 three-pointers made. Also a sprinter on the UW track team, Craddock has reached double-figures in scoring five times including a 14-point performance versus Arizona (Dec. 27) 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 due to the injury. 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.
Washington is 2-5 against Top-25 opponents this season (0-2 on the road, 2-3 at home). UW upset then-No. 14 Minnesota and then-21 Arizona State, but suffered losses to then-No. 7 Notre Dame, then-No. 6 Baylor, then-No. 8 Stanford and then-No. 22 UCLA. The Huskies are 37-96 all-time against ranked opponents. Washington is 26-39 against Top-25 teams at home.
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 5-7 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 268-67 (.799) at Bank of America Arena (also known as Hec Edmundson Pavilion before the 2000 renovation). Washington has an overall home record of 30-12 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 seven 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.
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), to No. 22 UCLA (74-63) and again to then-No. 4 Stanford (60-82).
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 148-111, and a career record of 271-185. 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 12 home games, UW ranks 33rd in the nation with an average of 3,148 fans per game. That mark is third-highest among Pac-10 teams, behind Stanford (27th, 3,688) and Oregon (28th, 3,670). 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.