UW Women Ready To Hit The Hardwood
Oct. 31, 2007
By Allen Wagner
When new UW women's basketball coach Tia Jackson first set foot on the UW campus, she didn't know what kind of reception she would receive.
Jackson inherited the team from former coach June Daugherty last April and had the task of jump-starting the team for the 2007-08 season. Despite entering an entirely new environment, Jackson says that she feels at home.
'Everyone has just been awesome,' Jackson said. 'I feel very comfortable, almost like I was born and raised here.'
Tickets to catch Tia Jackson's first season at UW are available by calling 206/543-2220 or by clicking here.
If there were any lingering concerns about how Jackson and the Husky women would get along this season, they can be thrust aside.
Senior center Andrea Plouffe believes the change from Daugherty to Jackson, who was an assistant coach at Duke and UCLA before accepting the UW job in 1996, could be a change for the better.
'She is awesome,' Plouffe said of Jackson. 'She brings a lot of energy to the floor, and she always likes to interact with the players on and off the court.'
That interaction has also helped freshman forward Mackenzie Argens, who says Jackson has helped her make a smooth transition from high school to college basketball.
'College ball seems faster and harder,' said Argens, who was a four-year letter-winner and one-year captain at Roosevelt High School. '[Jackson] has definitely got us conditioned and ready to play.'
Jackson thinks the women are ready to play, too.
'We're looking forward to [the season] one game at a time and one practice at a time,' Jackson said. 'The young ladies have really approached this season with a lot of energy and with a lot of excitement.'
The Husky women open up the preseason with two non-conference match-ups away from Hec Edmundson Pavilion, with games at Kansas State and Gonzaga. They will also face Big-10 giants Ohio State and Purdue just before Pac-10 play opens up in late December.
Jackson believes the team needs to play tough teams to grow, but noted that the team will be ready for every competitor.
'We've got a challenge in front of us,' said Jackson of the preseason matches. 'The preseason, more than anything else, is preparation for the Pac-10, which is obviously a challenge in itself.'
To combat these challenges, coach Jackson has placed additional emphasis on defense and conditioning in order to keep the team above water during tough stretches of play.
'We do a lot of drills full-court,' Jackson said. 'I think the game is so fast now. In order to keep up and do the things we want to do defensively, we need a good conditioning base.'
Plouffe, who started in 21 games last season, has no problem with Jackson's philosophy.
'I have a lot of respect for what she is doing,' said Plouffe of the practices, training and overall direction of the team.
The Husky women will play in two exhibition matches at home against Love & Basketball (an exhibition team) and Seattle Pacific University Nov. 3 and Nov. 6, respectively, before going on the road to begin non-conference play.
Fans can expect to see the Washington women to play with high intensity and a smart defense.
'We will be a fast-paced team,' Jackson said. 'I think the expectations [for fans] are to come and watch an exciting, fun and high-energy basketball.'