Oregon Schools Await Huskies In Pac-10 Opener
Dec. 30, 2009
Oregon Schools Awaits Huskies In Pac-10 Conference Opener
The University of Washington women's basketball team (5-5, 0-0 Pac-10) opens their Pac-10 season with a pair of tough road contests against Oregon (9-3, 0-0) in Eugene on Jan. 1 and Oregon State (8-2, 0-0) in Corvallis on Jan. 3. The two games will mark the close of an epic road trip for the Huskies, as the team has not played a home game since Nov. 29, which will span seven games by the end of the weekend.
The Huskies have fared moderately well in Pac-10 openers the past 10 seasons. Washington will head into its tilt with Oregon with a 6-4 record in those games, including a 60-56 win over the Ducks in Eugene on Dec. 21, 2006.
Entering his 11th season, Steve Sandmeyer will handle all play-by-play duties for the Washington Huskies - both home and away - on KKNW 1150AM. During home games, he will also be joined by former women's basketball letter-winner Elise (Niemela) Woodward, who will provide color commentary. Dan Giuliani calls home games for GoHuskies.com, part of a joint venture with Comcast On-Demand.
Coach Tia Jackson's weekly Tuesday press conference will also be carried live, state-wide, on UWTV at 1:15 p.m.
About the Huskies
Sami Whitcomb leads Washington in scoring with 14.0 points per game. She is also the team's leading rebounder with 6.1 boards per contest. She enters the game 37 points away from 1,000 for her career.
The Huskies went 3-4 on the road during the non-conference portion of their season.
Whitcomb has led the Huskies in scoring in four of their last six games, and six times overall. She is nearly halfway towards reaching her mark from the 2008-09 season, when she led the team in points 13 different times.
Regina Rogers leads the team in FG percentage at .533. That mark ranks third in the Pac-10 Conference.
Washington enters the weekend holding teams to 37 percent shooting from the floor so far in seven road contests.
The Huskies are allowing 64.7 ppg on the road, while averaging 58.7 in seven games.
Mackenzie Argens is fifth in the Pac-10 in blocks with 1.4 per game.
Charting Washington's Results
The Huskies came away with a split of their two games in Michigan, falling to nationally ranked Michigan State 69-52 in East Lansing in the first contest before toppling Mid-American Conference foe Western Michigan, 71-63, in nearby Kalamazoo.
The Huskies started the year with a late loss at Portland State when Vikings forward Kelli Valentine hit a 15-footer with .3 seconds remaining to give PSU a 67-66 win.Washington rebounded with a win over Brigham Young, which featured a gutsy performance from Sami Whitcomb, who scored the last 12 points of the game and hit a late 3 with 4.0 seconds remaining to propel UW. But the Huskies could not sustain the momentum on the road, falling 81-52 to Gonzaga in Spokane on Nov. 22.
The team responded with a 64-46 win over Eastern Washington in the first round of the Husky Classic before losing in the tournament finale to Sacramento State.
A trip to Florida earned the squad a split against USF and UCF. The Huskies ensured a late win over the Knights when Whitcomb converted a three-point play in the final minute to give her team a 62-59 win. Washington returned to the Northwest to grit out a 58-53 win over city rival Seattle University.
Oregon is coached by Paul Westhead, who is his first year with the program. Westhead has had plenty of stops in professional and collegiate basketball, including a WNBA Championship with the Phoenix Mercury in 2007. Westehead last coached NCAA basketball for the George Mason University men's program from 1993-97. He's perhaps best known for his stint at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he turned the team into a contender with his run-and-gun style. Westhead has also coached the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls in the NBA.
The Ducks are 9-3 on the season, and are first in the Pac-10 in scoring at 86 points per game. That statistic also ranks an impressive third in the NCAA. UO is led on offense by sophomore forward Amanda Johnson, who is averaging a double-double with 15.3 points and 10 rebounds per game. Senior point guard Taylor Lilley ranks 24th in the NCAA in 3-point field goals per game (3.1), and is also averaging 14.9 ppg. Overall, the Ducks have four players averaging over 10 points a game.
The Ducks went 9-21 in 2008-09.
Oregon is coming off an 89-86 (OT) road loss to Utah on Dec. 22. UO has lost two of its last three games, all away from Mac Court.
Oregon and Washington shared one common opponent this season -- Portland State. The Huskies lost a tight, 67-66, road contest to the Vikings, while the Ducks blew out PSU, 87-58 at home on Nov. 29, 2009.
Series Record: Washington and Oregon is one of the pre-eminent rivalries in the Pac-10 Conference. The Ducks have a 40-38 lead over the Huskies, including a 24-12 record at Mac Court. Washington does have the latest win in the series, having beaten Oregon, 69-43, in the first round of the 2009 Pac-10 Conference Tournament.
Noteworthy: This is the first time the Huskies have ever played on New Year's Day. ... Ducks assistant coach Dan Muscatell is a native of Everett, Wash. ... Oregon has one player, Nia Jackson, who is from Seattle. ... The sophomore guard was a teammate of Regina Rogers and Charmaine Barlow at Chief Sealth High School in West Seattle. ... This will be the final appearance for the Huskies at Mac Court, as the Ducks will move into a new facility (the Matthew Knight Arena) for the 2010-11 season. Mac Court, which opened in 1926, is the third-oldest facility currently in use in Division I basketball, behind Fordham's Rose Hill Gym (1925) and Harvard's Ray Lavietes Pavilion (1926).
About Oregon State
Oregon State is coached by LaVonda Wagner, who is in her fifth year with the program. The Beavers are 8-2, 0-0 in conference play. Prior to arriving in Corvallis, Wagner was an assistant at Duke University.
The Beavers are coming off a successful season that saw them notch a 20-12 record, 9-9 in the Pac-10. OSU then advanced to the third round of the WNIT before losing to New Mexico, 61-56, in Albuquerque.
Oregon State is coming off a 58-49 road win over Portland State on Dec. 29.
The Beavers and Huskies have shared two common opponents this season - the Vikings and Seattle University. OSU also beat Seattle on their home court, 64-48.
Talisa Rhea leads the Beavers in scoring with 14.8 ppg, which places her sixth in the Pac-10 Conference season scoring list. Kristin Tilleman is the only other Beaver to score regularly in double figures (11.4 ppg).
Series Record: Washington has controlled most of the series historically against the Beavers, owning a 47-27 record all-time. Lately, Oregon State has re-taken control of the matchup, having won three of the past four games against UW.
Noteworthy: Current Washington assistant Judy Spoelstra was the long-time coach in Corvallis, where she was a two-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 10 seasons. ... Current UW coach Tia Jackson took over LaVonda Wagner's vacated assistant coaching position at Duke University. ... The Beavers have three players from the state of Washington, including a Seattle-area product in senior Julie Futch (Auburn). Star guard Talisa Rhea attended the same Alaska High School (Juneau-Douglas) as NBA pro Carlos Boozer.
Injury Report: Liz Lay will miss the remainder of the 2009-10 season after it was announced the sophomore would need surgery for a severe case of patella tendinitis. Earlier this season, both Amanda Johnson and Lydia Young had season-ending knee surgeries as well. Sara Mosiman had surgery to insert a rod in her leg on Dec. 16, which will alleviate the pain the senior was suffering from shin splints. She should return in 2-3 months.
On the positive side, Kristi Kingma's ankle has progressed to the point where Coach Tia Jackson said its the healthiest the joint has been this season.
Up Next For The Huskies
The Huskies finally return home to Bank of America Arena to host Arizona State on Jan. 7 and Arizona on Jan. 9. Washington will be looking to turn the tables on the Arizona schools, who swept the Huskies in all four meetings last season.
TOMORROW | 1:00pm PTLive