Husky Women Host WSU In Regular Season Home Final Saturday
Feb. 15, 2005
Having won three of its last five games and coming off a sweep over the Oregon schools last week, Washington women's basketball (11-14, 7-8 Pac-10) concludes its final homestand of the year entertaining Washington State (6-18, 2-13), Saturday, Feb. 19, at 6 p.m. at Bank of America Arena. The contest between these intrastate rivals will be televised regionally on FSN Northwest. Saturday will be Senior Day and the Huskies will honor former player Kirsten Brockman in a special pre-game ceremony. Brockman was forced to retire prior to last season due to injuries but has been an integral part of the Husky program. Washington will look for the season sweep over Washington State after defeating Cougars 68-61 in Pullman earlier this year. The Cougs are coming off their second Pac-10 win - a 68-63 victory over Oregon State, Feb. 12 - which snapped a four-game losing streak. Washington has won the last 19-straight meetings with WSU.
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.
Senior Kirsten Brockman, a native of Snohomish, Wash., will be honored prior to Saturday's game for her contributions to the Husky basketball program. 'Brock' came to Washington with fellow classmates Kayla Burt and Kristen O'Neill in the fall of 2001, but continued battles with stress fracture injuries since the summer after her freshman year caused her to announce an early retirement from basketball prior to the 2003-04 season. Brockman served as a student assistant coach as a junior last year, and after studying abroad in London in the fall of 2004 is now assisting special events coordinator Patti Daves with events surrounding the women's basketball program. Brockman played 10 games for UW as a freshman in 2001-02, averaging 2.1 points and 0.7 rebounds and shooting 43 percent from the field (9-for-21).
The Huskies will wrap up the regular season with a trip to the desert next week. Washington will first face Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz., Thursday, Feb. 24, at 5:30 p.m. PT before heading to Tucson for its regular season finale with Arizona, Saturday, Feb. 26, at 3 p.m. PT.
Scouting Washington State:
The Cougars make the trek to Seattle coming off their sixth win of the season, a 68-63 victory over Oregon State in Pullman, Feb. 12. WSU split its homestand with the Oregon schools, falling to the Ducks, 62-47, Feb. 10. Washington State's other Pac-10 win came against California (79-69), Jan. 27. Kate Benz averages nearly a double-double for the Cougs with 10.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Adriane Ferguson averages 10.2 points and 4.0 rebounds. As a team, WSU is averaging 57.8 points per game while allowing 65.6 points by their opponents. The Cougs are shooting 35.2 percent from the field (485-for-1377) and 28.5 percent from long range (105-for-369).
Series With Washington State:
Washington leads the all-time series with WSU, 49-10. The Huskies have won the last 19 straight against the Cougars, with the last WSU win coming in Pullman on Feb. 25, 1995 (72-67). 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 45 of the last 47 contests. Washington leads the all-time series in Seattle, 24-6.
Last Time Out:
The Huskies opened the second-half with a 12-0 run and never looked back, defeating Northwest rival Oregon, 81-57, in front of a season-high crowd of 5,242 at Bank of America Arena, Feb. 12. Sophomore guard Cameo Hicks led Washington to its second-straight win with 14 points, eight rebounds, and four steals. Hicks ignited the UW offense, scoring nine points in the first five minutes after the intermission. Hicks led all 15 Washington players who saw action in Saturday's game. Freshman Dominique Banks added 13 points and five rebounds, while sophomore Breanne Watson had eight points and five boards. Freshman Andrea Plouffe pulled down a career-high seven rebounds. Forward Kristen Forristall led Oregon with 19 points, while Gabrielle Richards added 10 points off the bench. Both teams played nearly the entire game without their leading scorers. Oregon's Cathrine Kraayeveld missed the game with a viral infection in her left elbow, while Washington junior Kayla Burt left the contest with just under eight minutes remaining in the first half after suffering a broken nose. The Huskies led by as many as nine points three times in the opening frame, and held a seven-point advantage, 41-34, at halftime. From there it was all Washington as the Huskies began the second-half with a 12-0 run to take a 19-point lead with 16:54 remaining. Hicks scored nine points in the first five minutes of the second-half to ignite the UW offense. Oregon came within 16 points, 61-45, only to have the Huskies go on another 14-0 run - capped by a three-pointer by freshman Emily Florence - to take its largest lead, 30 points, with five minutes remaining.
The Huskies are 5-3 in their last eight games after opening the year 6-11.
In their sweep over the Oregon schools at home last week, the Huskies averaged 82.5 points and defeated both teams by a combined total of 55 points. UW outscored both Oregon and Oregon State, 165-110.
Washington's 31-point win over Oregon State (Feb. 10) was its largest winning margin since defeating Oregon by 45 points (95-50) at home last season (Jan. 15, 2004).
Riding a two-game winning streak, the Huskies are looking for their first three-game winning streak of the season. UW has won two-straight on four occasions this year, but has yet to extend that streak to three in 2004-05.
The Huskies have scored at least 80 points in four of the last five games, after reaching the 80-point plateau once in the first 19 games. The Huskies' season-high output was 86 points versus Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Nov. 26).
Washington's increased offensive output reflects a much improved team shooting percentage. The Huskies shot no higher than 40 percent in the first 16 games. Since then, UW has shot better than 40 percent in five of the last nine games including a season-high 52.7 percent (29-for-55) performance versus California (Jan. 29).
The Husky defense has forced 97 more turnovers that it has committed this season (416-513). In 25 games, Washington has forced more turnovers than its opponent 20 times. Leading that charge is freshman point guard Emily Florence and junior guard Kayla Burt. Both players have tallied 40 steals this season.
Sophomore guard Cameo Hicks led all Husky players in UW's last two games with Oregon State and Oregon averaging 13.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals. Hicks scored off the opening tip against OSU, and then went on to net seven of UW's first 10 points. At halftime she already had 11 points and eight rebounds, far above her average numbers. She finished with a team-high 13 points and a season-high nine rebounds. Against Oregon, Hicks was the spark in the second-half, scoring nine points in the first five minutes after the intermission. She finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and season-high four steals.
Washington's leader in scoring, assists and steals is currently not among UW's starting five: junior guard Kayla Burt. Burt has reached double-figures in six of the last nine games and leads the team with 9.4 points per game. She set career-highs with 20 points and eight rebounds at UCLA (Feb. 3). She enters Saturday with 67 assists and 40 steals. Burt suffered a broken nose in the Oregon game, Feb. 12, and is probable for Saturday's home finale with Washington State.
Washington is 7-7 at home this season, marking the first time the Huskies have lost over five home games in the history of Bank of America Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. The Huskies have a shot to salvage an above-.500 home record this weekend versus the Cougars. UW has never finished below .500 at home.
UW is 4-1 when outshooting its opponents. UW outshot UCLA 47.5 percent to 46.2 percent (Feb. 3), but the Bruins ended up with the win. Until then, the Huskies had outshot their opponent just four times and were 4-0 in those games (Denver, Cal, ASU and OSU).
Washington has six players averaging at least seven points per game, but none in double-figures. Three Huskies average at least nine points per game (Kayla Burt-9.4, Kristen O'Neill-9.3, Cameo Hicks-9.0).
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.
Washington has outscored its opponents in the second half 10 times, and the Huskies are 9-1 in those games. That loss came in UW's contest at USC, Feb. 5. The Huskies outscored USC 44-30 in the second-frame only to come up five points shy at the 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 since. She has shown that especially in Pac-10 games, scoring at least 10 points in eight of the last 10 contests. She is averaging 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds against conference foes. Overall, Hicks is the team's third-leading scorer with 9.0 points per game and is second in rebounding with 4.8 boards per game. She grabbed at least eight boards in back-to-back games (nine at OSU, eight at WSU). Hicks was UW's leading rebounder and scorer in its last two games (13 points, nine rebounds vs. OSU; 14 points, eight rebounds, four steals vs. Oregon). Hicks leads the squad with a field goal shooting percentage of 41.2 percent (89-for-216).
Redshirt sophomore forward Jill Bell has come into her own this season, especially in recent 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 either scoring or rebounding a combined 15 times, Bell has scored at least 10 points in five of the last seven games, including a career-high 17 versus California, Jan. 21. 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 12 times. Bell's scoring average has improved to 9.0 points per game and she is second on the squad with a 40.7 shooting percentage (96-236). She is still Washington's top rebounder with 5.6 boards per game, and ranks 11th in the Pac-10. Bell has used her athleticism to lead UW with 27 blocks, including a season-high four versus Minnesota (Nov. 15). Among the league's elite, Bell ranks sixth in the Pac-10 in blocks (1.08 per game) and 10th in offensive rebounds (2.36). 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 12 times, including 10 of the last 18 games. Burt has paid little mind to her new reserve roll the last nine games after starting 15. She has set career-highs in points twice, eclipsing her previous high of 19 set at Oregon (Jan. 13) with 20 points at UCLA (Feb. 3). At UCLA, Burt matched her career-high for three-pointers (four) and set a new career high with eight rebounds. 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 helped contribute to her. She leads the team in assists (67) and scoring (9.4 ppg) and is tied for the lead in steals (40). Perhaps her biggest thrill this year was hitting a half-court shot at the halftime buzzer to give Washington a 20-point halftime lead (48-28) versus Oregon State (Feb. 10). She is listed as probable for Saturday's game with Washington State after suffering a broken nose in the contest with Oregon, Feb. 12.
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 25 games, has scored at least 11 points in six of the last 14 games and has 11 total double-figure scoring games. O'Neill is second on the team in scoring with 9.3 points per game, third in assists (49) and third in steals (27). She is also one of UW's top three-point threats and is tied for the team lead with 37 three-pointers made. Her average of 1.48 treys per game are tied for eighth with Kayla Burt on the Pac-10 list heading into this week. O'Neill is Washington's top player in Pac-10 play, averaging 10.3 points.
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 22 of 25 games in her first collegiate season, leads Washington with 40 steals for an average of 1.6 per game (tied with Kayla Burt). That number has her tied for 10th with Burt on the Pac-10 list for steals. Florence has led the team in steals in nine of the last 17 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. 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.
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 nine games. During that span, the Huskies are 5-4 and have scored at least 80 points in four of the last five games. UW has also seen its shooting numbers greatly improve, shooting over 40 percent five times - this coming from a team who had not surpassed that 40 percent mark in the first 16 games. Overall Daugherty has used nine different starters in 25 games, with junior guard/forward Kristen O'Neill the only player to start all 25. 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 67.9 percent point average - that ranks fifth 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). If UW continues the same offensive production it has seen in the last few games, the Huskies have a chance of reaching that 70-point average before season's end. Washington continues to increase its per-game average, scoring at least 80 points in four of the last five 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 six players averaging between 9.4 and 7.2 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.
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 7-7 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 270-67 (.801) at Bank of America Arena (also known as Hec Edmundson Pavilion before the 2000 renovation). Washington has an overall home record of 32-12 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.
Pac-10 Tourney On The Horizon:
Following next week's trip to the desert to conclude the regular season against Arizona State and Arizona, Washington will make the journey to San Jose, Calif., for the State Farm Pac-10 Tournament held March 4-7. Washington's tournament seed will be determined by its final spot in the Pac-10 standings. The bottom four seeds play each other on Friday evening, with the quarterfinals to take place Saturday, semifinals Sunday and the Pac-10 Championship final on Monday evening. The tournament winner receives the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. UW advanced to the semifinals the last two seasons.
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 150-113, and a career record of 273-187. 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 14 home games, UW ranks 33rd in the nation with an average of 3,267 fans per game. That mark is third-highest among Pac-10 teams, behind Oregon (25th, 3,852) and Stanford (27th, 3,741). 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.