Husky Women's Hoops Looks For Strong Season

Oct. 27, 2006

SEATTLE (AP) - Out for at least the first two months of theseason after having surgery because of stress fractures in herlower legs, Dominique Banks of the Washington Huskies never thoughtabout redshirting this season.

The reason is obvious, she said.

'I think this is a very important year for our team,' thejunior guard said. 'I think I can still help because I'm aveteran.'







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Surrounded by her healthy teammates and Washington's coaches,Banks was in a wheelchair Thursday for the team's media day. OnSept. 15, she had rods inserted down the middle of each tibia orshinbone.

Banks is one of five returning starters for a Washington teamthat won 19 games and went to the second round of the NCAAtournament last season. She began to experience pain in her shinsthis summer and it kept getting worse.

'At first, I didn't think it was that serious,' she said.

Three days after her surgery, Banks was depressed.

'It blew me away,' she said. 'It hit me hard. It was like,'Wow,' Dominique what did you do?'

Banks said her doctors have told her she'll be able to playbasketball again, but they haven't told her how much of her gameshe'll get back. As a sophomore, she played with star Cameo Hicksin the Huskies' backcourt, averaging 7.2 points and 4.1 rebounds.

She was recruited to Washington by coach June Daugherty fromStockton, Calif., where she led St. Mary's High School to twoCalifornia high school titles and a runner-up finish.

Daugherty thinks her 2006-07 team has a chance to be the best ofher 11 Washington teams, including the 2000-01 team that went22-10, earned a share of the Pac-10 title and advanced to the NCAAWest Regional Final.

Doctors have told Daugherty that she can expect to have Banksback around Christmas time. That would be a terrific Christmaspresent, the coach said.

'You have to remember this is the California Player of theYear,' Daugherty said of Banks.

The Huskies' 2005-06 season didn't end until March 20 inNashville, Tenn., when they lost to Louisiana State, led by SeimoneAugustus' 26 points, 72-49, in an NCAA second-round game. But theHuskies led 26-23 at halftime and they're inspired to be betterthis season.

Hicks, from Tracy, Calif., is a top WNBA prospect after leadingWashington in scoring (15.0 points) and rebounding (5.6) lastseason, according to her coach. And Hicks wants to help the Huskiesgo further in the NCAA tournament than they did last season.

Another strong player is 6-foot-2 junior center Andrea Plouffe,who averaged 10.7 points as a sophomore when she became afirst-year starter. Daugherty snagged Plouffe from Edmonton,Alberta, after Plouffe's club coach sent Daugherty a videotape ofthe young player.

Plouffe didn't get much attention from NCAA Division I schoolsafter missing most of her senior high school season because of kneesurgery. She was still bothered by her right knee as a Washingtonfreshman, when she averaged 1.6 points.

Now, her confidence is soaring after finishing second in scoringto Hicks on the Washington team as a sophomore.

'I guess I know what's expected of me,' Plouffe said.

Washington's other two returning starters are 6-1 senior forwardBreanne Watson and junior guard Emily Florence.

'I think we have a chance to have a huge season,' Daughertysaid.

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