Huskies Open Caribbean Classic Taking On No. 1 UConn
Dec. 15, 2008
GAME 7 - Thur., Dec. 18, 2008Caribbean Classic
Washington (3-3) vs. No. 1/1 Connecticut (7-0)
1:30 p.m. PT/3:30 p.m. CT Moon Palace Resort Cancun, Mexico
Radio: KKNW 1150 AM TV: None
Internet: Audio at GoHuskies.com
Following a 14-day break for final exams, Washington women's basketball returns to the hardwood by traveling all the way to Cancun, Mexico, where it will compete in the 2008 Caribbean Classic, held at the Moon Palace Resort, Dec. 18-21. The Huskies (3-3) will open tournament action playing the top-ranked Connecticut (7-0), Thurs., Dec. 18, at 1:30 p.m. PT/3:30 p.m. CT. Washington will also take on Florida State (8-2), Fri., Dec. 19 (6:30 p.m. PT) and Northern Colorado (3-4), Sun., Dec. 21 (11 a.m. PT). The Huskies are in the midst of a four-game road stretch that began Dec. 3 with a contest at Pepperdine. UW came out of Malibu with a 67-53 victory, giving the Huskies three wins in their last four outings. After the Christmas holiday, Washington will return to Seattle to wrap-up non-conference play hosting Kansas State on Tues., Dec. 30, at 5 p.m. The contest will be televised live on FSN Northwest.
2008 Caribbean Classic Schedule
Thursday, Dec. 18 - Florida State vs. Northern Colorado 1 p.m. CT
Connecticut vs. Washington 3:30 p.m. CT
Friday, Dec. 19 - Connecticut vs. Northern Colorado 6 p.m. CT
Florida State vs. Washington 8:30 p.m. CT
Sunday, Dec. 21 Northern Colorado vs. Washington 1 p.m. CT
Florida State vs. Connecticut 3:30 p.m. CT
All Husky women's basketball games can be heard live on the radio at KKNW 1150 AM. Steve Sandmeyer, in his 10th season as the voice of UW women's hoops, will call the play-by-play. Former Husky Elise (Niemela) Woodward will join Sandmeyer as the color commentator for home broadcasts. Fan can also listen to games on the internet at GoHuskies.com.
GoHuskies.com will feature the live radio broadcast of Washington's three games in the Caribbean Classic, but live scoring will not be available.
Scouting The Huskies:
Washington will be making its first-ever trip to Mexico when the Huskies take part in the Caribbean Classic. UW will also be facing a No. 1 ranked opponent for the fourth-time ever in program history when it opens tournament play with the 'other' Huskies. Two of those previous three meetings against a top-ranked team came versus Connecticut during the 2000-01 (L, 54-100) and 1998-99 (L, 81-101) seasons. Last time on the court, Washington opened its four-game, month-long road stretch with a 67-53 victory over Pepperdine on Dec. 3. The Huskies have won three of their last four games after starting the year 0-2, and when UW wins it wins big. Washington has averaged a winning margin of 21 points in those three victories (74-51 vs. Boise State; 82-56 vs. Seattle U; 67-53 vs. Pepperdine). Junior guard Sami Whitcomb leads the squad on both the offensive and defensive ends. Whitcomb, who is coming off back-to-back season-high scoring outputs of 18 points, is averaging a team-high 13.2 points per game. She also has a team-high 3.0 steals per game which ranked second in the Pac-10 as of Dec. 8. Rounding out the three Huskies with scoring numbers in double-figures are junior forward/center Laura McLellan (10.8 ppg) and freshman guard/forward Kristi Kingma (10.3 ppg). Senior forward Heidi McNeill is Washington's leading rebounder (6.5 rpg) despite missing the last two games with a thigh contusion. The Huskies have struggled with injuries early, as McLellan has been hindered by a sprained ankle suffered in UW's game with Clemson and redshirt-freshman Mackenzie Argens underwent surgery on her left knee (Dec. 3) to repair torn meniscus which will keep her off the floor another 3-5 weeks. Freshman forward Mollie Williams has stepped into the starting lineup in McNeill's absence and has two double-figure scoring efforts in the last three games. Junior transfer Lydia Young has picked up on the rebounding end and is second on the squad with 5.0 rebounds per game. Senior guard/forward Michelle Augustavo earned her third-career start as a Husky against Pepperdine, and has three-straight double-figure scoring games under her belt. Augustavo is averaging 9.3 points and has a team-high 13 three-pointers. The Huskies are led by second-year head coach Tia Jackson. This year's squad returns seven players and one starter from last year's team that finished the season with a 13-18 record and placed sixth in the Pac-10 with an 8-10 league mark. Welcomed to the fold are eight newcomers including five freshmen, two junior college transfers and UCLA transfer Regina Rogers who will sit out the 2008-09 season due to NCAA rules. Of the Huskies' seven returners, five are upperclassmen led by the senior duo of Augustavo and McNeill.
Reaching A Milestone:
Washington's most recent win over Pepperdine was the program's 650th all-time victory. The all-time record for the Husky women's basketball program stands at 650-349.
Huskies 10th In The Nation In Steals:
As of NCAA rankings released Dec. 15, Washington ranks 10th in the nation in steals per game with 13.3. Georgia State owns the nation's top mark with 18.0 swipes per contest. Fellow Pac-10 foe Arizona State is ninth (13.4). Sparking UW's defensive effort is junior guard/forward Sami Whitcomb who ranks 29th in the nation with 3.0 steals per game.
Facing Top-Ranked Teams:
Washington is 0-3 all-time against No. 1 teams (Associated Press ranking at the time of meeting), with two of the three meetings coming against Connecticut. The last time the Huskies faced a top-ranked team was Nov. 21, 2000 - a 54-100 loss to UConn which was a contest marking the re-opening of UW's newly renovated Bank of America Arena. UW also faced Connecticut in Storrs on Nov. 28, 1998, falling 81-101. Washington's first-ever meeting with a No. 1 team was a contest versus Tennessee on Nov. 26, 1988 (L, 48-70) at the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Hawai'i.
Against Ranked Opponents:
Washington's contest with Connecticut on Thursday will be its first this season against a ranked opponent, but certainly not its last. Four future UW opponents are currently ranked in the top-25 including Top-10 teams Stanford (3 AP/4 Coaches) and California (12/7), as well as Kansas State (23/18) and Arizona State (21/21). Gonzaga was receiving votes in both the Associated Press and the WBCA/USA Today/ESPN Coaches' polls when the Huskies and Bulldogs met back on Nov. 16. Washington's second opponent in the Caribbean Classic - Florida State - is receiving votes in the latest AP and coaches' polls as well.
Connecticut, a semifinalist in last year's NCAA Championship, has been ranked No. 1 all season thus far. The Huskies are 7-0 and are coming off a 77-63 win over Penn State at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Sunday. The Huskies also turned in a statement win on Nov. 30, downing then-fourth-ranked Oklahoma, 106-78. Four of UConn's five starters are averaging points in double-figures, led by sophomore forward Maya Moore (18.9 ppg). Moore also is averaging a team-high 8.7 rpg. Junior center Tina Charles (18.0 ppg), senior guard Renee Montgomery (16.7 ppg) and freshman guard Caroline Doty (10.6 ppg) round out the top four Huskies. UConn is averaging 92.4 points per game, while holding opponents to 56.3. Connecticut is led by head coach Geno Auriemma who is a five-time national coach of the year in 24 seasons in Storrs.
All-Time Series Versus Connecticut:
Washington trails the all-time series with Connecticut, 0-2. Both times these teams met, UConn was the top-ranked team in the country. UW and UConn first met in Storrs on Nov. 28, 1998, a game lost by the Huskies, 81-101. These teams met again in Seattle on Nov. 21, 2000 - a contest won by UConn, 100-54. Current UW assistant coach Loree Payne was a sophomore on that Washington team, but missed the first six games of that season with a stress fracture in her left foot. That 2000-01 season marked one of two times Washington advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. UW's 46-point margin of defeat to UConn during that 2000-01 season stands as its second-worst loss in program history. The 101 points given up by UW to UConn in 1998 rank seventh on UW's list of opponent high scoring games. Thursday's meeting between Washington and Connecticut will be the first on a neutral court.
Scouting Florida State:
The Seminoles are 8-2 heading into the Caribbean Classic, having won three-straight and five of their last six games. Florida State is receiving votes in this week's Associated Press poll and last week's WBCA/USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll. FSU only has losses to Florida (57-72) and Valparaiso (74-80). Junior forward Jacinta Moore leads the team with 15.3 points per game and 7.5 rebounds. Freshman center Cierra Bravard (11.6) and senior guard Tanae Davis-Cain (10.5) also average points in double-figures. As a team, FSU is averaging 72.2 points per game, while allowing opponents to score just 58.2. Florida State's squad features four returning letterwinners from last year's team that advanced as far as the second round of the NCAA Tournament. FSU is led by head coach Sue Semrau who is a Seattle native and a graduate of Shorecrest HIgh School. She played two seasons at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., before transferring to UC San Diego.
All-Time Series With Florida State:
Washington leads the all-time series with Florida State, 2-0. The Huskies and Seminoles met in back-to-back years - 2004-05 and 2005-06. UW first defeated FSU 71-69 in Tallahassee on Nov. 20, 2005 and then won the next year in Seattle, 84-65 (Dec. 17, 2006).
Scouting Northern Colorado:
Northern Colorado has a busy week as it hosts New Mexico State on Tuesday (Dec. 16) before traveling to Cancun. The Bears are 3-4 heading into that game, with one of those wins coming over Washington State (86-79). Four players are averaging points in double-figures, led by junior guard Whitley Cox (13.9 ppg). Sophomore guard/forward Kate Kevorken (12.0 ppg), sophomore guard Courtney Stoermer (10.4 ppg) and senior forward Jamie Schroeder (11.1 ppg), round out the Bears' top scorers. Schroeder is also averaging a team-high 6.1 rebounds. Last year, Northern Colorado went 14-16 and finished fifth in the Big Sky Conference (5-5). The Bears are coached by Jaime White who is in her third season as a head coach.
All-Time Series With Northern Colorado:
Sunday marks the first-ever meeting between Washington and Northern Colorado.
Augustavo Hitting The Mark:
Senior guard/forward Michelle Augustavo has been a key for Washington in its last three games, racking up back-to-back season-high 15-point scoring performances versus Seattle University (Nov. 28) and Clemson (Nov. 30) and tallying a third-straight double-figure effort with 12 points at Pepperdine (Dec. 3). A long-range shooting specialist, she leads the Huskies and ranks fifth in the Pac-10 with 2.2 three-pointers per game. All 15 of her points in the win over Seattle U came from three-point range and she was nearly perfect from long-distance (5-of-7). Against Clemson, Augustavo also helped out with five rebounds and bettered that the next game grabbing a team and season-high six boards at Pepperdine. Already earning accolades, Augustavo was named to the 2008 Husky Classic All-Tournament Team.
Sink It Sami:
Like she was last year, junior guard/forward Sami Whitcomb is one of Washington's most versatile and talented players. Whitcomb leads the team with 13.2 points per game and 3.0 steals per game. Much of the Huskies' defensive success can be attributed to the Southern California native, as she ranked second in the Pac-10 in steals as of Dec. 15. She grabbed a season-high seven steals in UW's with Boise State (Nov. 23), just two away from her career-high and four away from UW's school record. Whitcomb is coming off back-to-back 18-point scoring efforts in the last two games and has failed to reach double-figures just once this year.
Junior forward/center Laura McLellan is already having a breakout year. McLellan entered the season with a career scoring average of 4.2 points per game and despite dealing with a sprained ankle as of late, is UW's second-leading scorer with 10.8 ppg and leads the squad with a 61.4 field goal shooting percentage. In the first four games, a healthy McLellan rattled off four-straight double-figure scoring efforts including back-to-back career-highs of 16 and 17 points, respectively, to open the year. She also pulled down eight and six rebounds, respectively, in those two contests. McLellan suffered the sprained ankle in the first half of the Huskies' contest with Clemson (Nov. 30) and despite being limited by the injury in UW's last game at Pepperdine (Dec. 3), still recorded five points and two rebounds. She is currently listed as day-to-day.
Freshmen Making An Impact:
Washington has received substantial contributions from two true freshmen - guard/forward Kristi Kingma and forward Mollie Williams. Kingma has started all six games and is third on the team in scoring with 10.3 points per game. Kingma has reached double-figures in scoring in all but one game, including a season-best performance of 14 points at Pepperdine (Dec. 3). Williams has tallied two double-figure scoring efforts in the last three games with 10 versus Seattle U (Nov. 28) and 12 versus Clemson (Nov. 30). Williams has started the last two games for an injured Heidi McNeill. In her first career start versus Clemson, Williams made the most of her opportunity, turning in career-best numbers of 12 points and eight rebounds. Her inside presence has especially been felt on the defensive end as she has already recorded seven blocks - tops on the team and fourth in the Pac-10 (as of Dec. 15).
The Huskies look to generate offense from their defense and have done so with success. In its three victories, Washington forced its opposition to commit 30 or more turnovers (32 vs. BSU; 30 vs. SU; 31 vs. Pepperdine) and collected 15 or more steals (23 vs. BSU; 17 vs. SU; 15 vs. Pepperdine). Much of the defensive charge has been led by junior guard Sami Whitcomb who ranks second in the Pac-10 with 3.0 steals per game (18 overall). Freshman guard Kristi Kingma is also tied for fifth in the Pac-10 in steals (2.2). As a team, UW is second in the Pac-10 in steals (13.3) and is third in blocked shots (3.3).