Husky Women Tip-Off Season Hosting WBCA BTI Classic

Nov. 11, 2004

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

This Week:
Washington officially opens the 31st season of women's basketball, hosting the WBCA BTI Classic, Sunday, Nov. 14 and Monday, Nov. 15, at Bank of America Arena. The first tournament game will feature 14th-ranked Minnesota (0-0) versus UNLV (0-0) Sunday, at 1 p.m., followed by Washington's (0-0) season opener with South Carolina (0-0) at 3 p.m. Monday, UNLV and South Carolina will face-off at 5 p.m., with the Huskies' contest with 2004 NCAA Final Four team Minnesota to follow at 7 p.m. Joining Washington in hosting the tournament is the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and Basketball Travelers, Inc.

Radio Coverage:
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

Schedule Change:
Please take note that Washington's Pac-10 game at Washington State in Pullman, Jan. 22, has been moved to 7 p.m. and will be televised by Fox Sports Net Northwest. The addition gives UW a guarantee of eight televised games this season.

2004-2005 Season Outlook:
Washington returns seven letterwinners and two starters from last year's squad that finished sixth in the Pac-10 (9-9) and advanced to the second round of the WNIT, finishing with an 18-13 overall record. Sophomore guard Cameo Hicks, a Pac-10 All-Freshman honoree last season, and sophomore forward Breanne Watson are the two returning starters. Also high on the list is sophomore forward Jill Bell who earned Pac-10 All-Freshman honorable mention honors in 2004 and was the team's second leading rebounder as a freshman. The Huskies add three players who redshirted last year, including junior guard Kayla Burt, junior guard Kristen O'Neill and sophomore guard Erica Schelly. Five freshmen join the team this year, led by guard Dominique Banks from Stockton, Calif. Also joining up are guard Stefanie Clark, guard Emily Florence, guard Jackie Hollands and forward Andrea Plouffe. The Huskies are young - the roster is void of any seniors. Burt and O'Neill will co-captain the squad, the two elder statesmen on a team with 12 underclassmen. With the exception of Schelly who redshirted last year, Washington's other six sophomores all saw significant playing time last year.

American Heart Association To Hand Out Red Dress Pins Monday:
The American Heart Association will be on site at the Husky women's basketball game versus Minnesota on Monday, Nov. 15, distributing red dress pins which are a symbol for women and heart disease. This is the second year of the red dress campaign. Heart disease and stroke are the number one and number three killers of women over the age of 25. They are two of the many cardiovascular diseases that kill nearly 500,000 women each year. That ismore than the next seven causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer. National Wear Red Day for Women is Friday, Feb. 4, 2005.

Scouting South Carolina:
South Carolina, led by head coach Susan Walvius, returns 11 letterwinners and three starters from last year's squad that posted an overall record of 10-18. Last year the Gamecocks finished 12th in the SEC with a 1-13 league record. The three returning starters for USC are 2004 Freshman All-SEC selection Lauren Simms, junior forward Olga Gritsaeva and sophomore Iva Slickovic. Like the Huskies, the Gamecocks don't have a single senior on their roster. Gritsaeva and guard Sarah Burgess are the only two juniors, on a roster that features eight sophomores and three freshmen. Sunday marks USC's first time in uniform as the Gamecocks did not play any exhibitions. Washington is 1-0 against South Carolina, having defeated the Gamecocks 73-61 on a neutral court in the NCAA Mideast Regional Game, March 22, 1990. That year the Huskies advanced to their first-ever NCAA Elite Eight.

Scouting Minnesota:
The Golden Gophers, ranked 14th in the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA poll, are coming of a trip to the 2004 NCAA Final Four. Minnesota was ousted in the NCAA Semifinals by eventual champion Connecticut. Head coach Pam Borton's team returns eight letterwinners and three starters from last season. Among the returners is National Player of the Year candidate Janel McCarville, who will likely miss the tournament with a broken hand. The Gophers have two exhibition contests under their belts, defeating the Wisconsin Vikings 82-71, and North Dakota, 75-47. The Huskies have an all-time record of 2-1 against Minnesota, with the last meeting on Dec. 31, 1988 in Minneapolis. Washington defeated the Gophers 74-59 that season.

The Last Time...:
Washington faced a ranked opponent was No. 8 Stanford, Jan. 29, 2004. The Cardinal deated the Huskies in Palo Alto, 85-59. UW's last win over a ranked opponent was Feb. 13, 2003, at home against then-No. 6 Stanford (92-68). Washington is 35-91 all-time against ranked opponents, and 24-36 at home.

Scouting UNLV:
The Lady Rebels were WNIT finalists last season, falling to Creighton in the championship game. UNLV finished the year with a 26-8 overall record, and placed third in the Mountain West Conference with a 10-4 league mark. The Lady Rebels have already lost two of their four returning starters due to injury. Junior forward Nikki Hitchins will be out until December after suffering a torn MCL in practice. Preseason All-American and All-Conference forward Sherry McCracklin is out with an Achilles injury, but is also expected to return in December. Healthy is the team's top returning scorer from last season, senior forward RanDee Henry, who averaged 17.7 points per game and 8.0 rebounds. Regina Miller's team played one exhibition, defeting the West Coast All-Stars, 93-70.

Season/Home Openers:
The Huskies are 20-10 all-time in season openers and have won the last three straight. Washington makes its season debut on its home court for the first time since the 1996-97 season. That year, UW fell to Louisiana Tech 73-70 at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. Washington is 24-6 in its home openers, and haswon three-straight as well. The last home-opening loss for the Huskies came to No. 1 Connecticut (100-54) in 2000-01.

Huskies Pick Up Two Exhibition Wins:
Washington prepped for the regular season by winning both its exhibition contests, defeating Baden Sports (86-49) and Vanguard University (83-54) handily. Over the course of two games, the Huskies had six different players reach double-figure scoring, led by sophomore guard Cheri Craddock's 14 points versus Vanguard. Freshman guard Dominique Banks was the only player to reach double-figures in both games, twice scoring 11 points. Banks just missed a double-double adding a team-high nine boards versus Vanguard. Junior guard Kayla Burt had a team-high 13 points versus Baden Sports, while sophomore forward Jill Bell (12 pts.) and sophomore guard Cameo Hicks (12) also reached double-digits. Banks and sophomore forward Breanne Watson (12 pts.) joined Craddock in double-figures versus Vanguard. Junior guard Kristen O'Neill grabbed a team-high 10 boards versus Baden Sports as well. Baden Sports was a team made up of former collegiate players from the West Coast, including former Huskies Emily Autrey, Alicia Heathcote and Sara Best. Vanguard is an NAIA school that advanced to the national quarterfinals in 2004.

Home Sweet Home:
Washington will have the luxury of playing four of its first five games at home, where it has recorded an overall record of 25-5 over the past two seasons. Following the WBCA BTI Classic, UW will make a quick trip to play Michigan on Nov. 22. The Huskies will return home to host the Seattle Times Husky Classic, Nov. 26-27.

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.

Life After Giuli:
The Huskies will have the challenge of playing without 2003 Pac-10 Player of the Year and two-time honorable mention All-American, Giuliana Mendiola, who averaged 21.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists last season. Mendiola finished her career as UW's second all-time leading scorer and set school records for points and assists in a single season, among many other milestones. Giuli isn't the only player UW will be missing as seniors Andrea Lalum and Gioconda Mendiola were the team's next two leading scorers from a year ago. Last season those three seniors accounted for 63 percent of the team's points and 39 percent of its rebounding.

We're Back:
Juniors Kayla Burt and Kristen O'Neill, along with sophomore Erica Schelly, return to active duty after all using redshirt years last year. O'Neill was sidelined with a stress fracture in her left foot, and Schelly missed the season after suffering a broken foot in the first day of practice. Burt rejoined the roster this year after initally retiring from basketball after a cardiac arrest episode on New Year's Eve, 2002. At the time she was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome, but further testing came up negative for the condition. Burt was granted permission by the university to rejoin the team in August, 2004. She will play with a defibrillator implanted in her chest.

The Schedule:
Washington will face a challenging schedule this year, facing seven teams that participated in the NCAA Tournament last season and three teams that advanced to the WNIT. Washington will host two home tournaments, the WBCA BTI Classic Nov. 14-15 and the Seattle Times Classic, Nov. 26-27. Eight regular season games will be televised by Fox Sports Net and Fox Sports Net Northwest. Among those teams highlighting the 2004-05 docket include 2004 NCAA Final Four team Minnesota, Elite Eight team Stanford and Sweet 16 teams Notre Dame and Baylor.

Huskies On Television:
Eight games have been selected for either national or local broadcast by Fox Sports Net and Fox Sports Northwest. UW's schedule will kick off with an FSN national broadcast of its home game with Baylor, Wed., Dec. 15, at 8 p.m. Washington's next home game against Colorado, Tues., Dec. 21, at 8 p.m. will be televised locally on FSN Northwest. The Huskies' other FSN nationally televised game will be at Oregon State, Saturday, Jan. 15, at 3 p.m. FSN Northwest will pick up three additional home contests including Arizona State (Dec. 29, 7 p.m.), USC (Jan. 7, 7 p.m.) and Washington State (Feb. 19, 6 p.m.). Washington's road games at Stanford, Jan. 4, and at WSU, Jan. 22, will also be picked up by FSN Northwest. Two more games have the potential to be broadcast as a wildcard selection by FSN, the Feb. 12 home game versus Oregon and the Feb. 26 regular season finale at Arizona.

UW Picked Fifth In Pac-10 Media Poll, Sixth In Coaches Poll:
The Huskies were picked to finish fifth in the Pac-10 according to a poll of media members who regularly cover the leavue. UW was tabbed to finish sixth according to the Pac-10 Coaches Poll. Stanford and Arizona were picked by the media to tie for the Pac-10 title, while the Cardinal alone was chosen by the coaches to finish first.

Husky Coaching Staff:
June Daugherty enters 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 140-99, and a career record of 263-173. 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.

Youth Movement:
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 after suffering from severe stress fracture injuries. Brockman is studying aboard The last time Washington did not have a single senior on its roster was 1999-2000.

Huskies Top Attendance Charts:
Washington led the Pac-10 in home attendance the last two years, as well as ranking among the Top-20 national leaders in home attendance. 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 111-77. 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.

Injury Report:
Redshirt-sophomore guard Angie Jones had arthroscopic surgery on her right knee Oct. 26. Jones, who had two ACL reconstruction surgeries on that same knee, is expected to be back in 2-3 weeks.

March Madness Is Back In Seattle:
For the second straight year, Washington will play host to NCAA March Madness. 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. 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 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. Should the Huskies advance to the NCAA Tournament, they would play on their home court at Bank of America Arena.

Up Next:
Washington will make its first road trip of the season, taking on Michigan in Ann Arbor, Monday, Nov. 22, at 4 p.m. PT. The game can be heard on the radio at KKNW 1150 AM.