Husky Women Face First Road Challenge At Michigan Monday
Nov. 20, 2004
Coming off a pair of wins in its season opening tournament, Washington women's basketball (2-0) hits the road for the first time this season as the Huskies travel to Ann Arbor to face Michigan (0-1), Monday, Nov. 22, at 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST) at Crisler Arena. The game will be televised in the state of Michigan on Comcast Local and can be heard in the Seattle area on the radio at KKNW 1150 AM. Washington defeated South Carolina (65-53) and No. 14 Minnesota (72-67 ot) in the WBCA BTI Classic in Seattle to open the season. Michigan is hungry for its first win in its home opener, after falling in overtime at Alabama 81-79, Friday.
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 www.gohuskies.com.
Huskies Open With South Carolina Win:
Washington hosted the WBCA BTI Classic to open the season at Bank of America Arena in Seattle, Nov. 14-15. The Huskies tipped off the year on a winning note, defeating South Carolina 65-53, before pulling an upset over No. 14 Minnesota in overtime, 72-67. Sophomore forward Breanne Watson keyed a come-from-behind victory over the Gamecocks, scoring eight of her team-high 12 points during a 21-0 UW run midway through the second half. The run erased an eight point deficit and held USC scoreless for exactly 11 minutes in the second half. South Carolina shot 21.7 percent in the second half after shooting 44 percent in the first. In addition to Watson, Huskies in double figures included junior guard Kayla Burt (12 pts.) and freshman Dominique Banks (12 pts.) in her collegie debut. Sophomore forward Jill Bell had a team-high seven boards.
UW Upsets 2004 Final Four Team Minnesota:
The second day of the WBCA BTI Classic, pitted the Huskies against the 14th-ranked Golden Gophers of Minnesota, a team that advanced to the NCAA semifinals last season. It was another come-back win with Washington trailing by as many as 10 points in the first half before a 17-9 UW run cut the lead to three at halftime. The Huskies ended up taking Minnesota to overtime with the score knotted at 58 at the end of regulation. It didn't take long for UW to put Minnesota away, as sophomore Jill Bell and Cameo Hicks accounted for 10 of UW's 14 overtime points. UW never trailed in overtime, outscoring the Gophers 14-9. Hicks led UW with 14 points, while Breanne Watson chipped in 11 and Kristen O'Neill 10. Bell pulled down a game-high 11 boards. Watson was named tournament MVP and joined junior Kayla Burt on the All-Tournament team.
Washington opens the season 2-0 for just the third time in head coach June Daugherty's nine-year tenure and and the 11th time in school history. UW opened last season 2-0 with wins over Maine and Lipscomb in the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort Classic. UW also opened 2-0 under Daugherty in 1997-98, when the Huskies began the year on a 10-game win streak.
The win over No. 14 Minnesota was Washington's first over a ranked non-conference opponent since March 24, 2001, when UW defeated Oklahoma in the NCAA Sweet 16. The Huskies had lost to five-straight ranked non-conference opponents until Nov. 15.
UW's win over the Gophers was also the Huskies' first over a ranked opponent (conference or non-conference) since defeating Stanford at home (92-68) Feb. 13, 2003.
Five different players reached double-figure scoring in the Huskies' first two games. Sophomore Breanne Watson was the only player to reach double-digits twice (12 pts., 11 pts.). Sophomore Cameo Hicks had a team-high 14 points versus Minnesota.
Watson is the team's leading scorer, averaging 11.5 points per game. She started 22 games last year until suffering a joint sprain in her left shoulder.
With UW's win over South Carolina, Nov. 14, the Huskies are 21-10 all-time in season openers and have won the last four straight. Washington made 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 25-6 in its home openers, and has won four-straight as well. The last home-opening loss for the Huskies came to No. 1 Connecticut (100-54) in 2000-01.
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.
The Wolverines (0-1) opened the season at Alabama Friday, losing on a last-second shot in overtime, 81-79. Alabama's Marverly Nettles hit a pull-up jumper with three seconds left in OT. Michigan was led by Tabitha Pool and Ta'Shia Walker with 15 points apiece. Pool is the squad's top returning player after averaging 13.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game last season. She figures to be a force again this year after averaging 24.0 points and 10.0 rebounds in MIchigan's two exhibition victories. Like the Huskies, the Wolverines are a young team with seven freshmen on their 10-person roster. Last year, Michigan posted a 14-17 overall record and did not make an appearance in the postseason. UW leads the all-time series with Michigan, 2-1, but the Wolverines won the last meeting in Seattle on Dec. 9, 2001. UW picked up wins in 2000 in Ann Arbor (73-60) and 1991 in Seattle (67-62).
Washington's season opener with South Carolina, Nov. 14, marked the first offical game junior guard Kayla Burt had played since Dec. 28, 2002, a span of 687 days. Burt suffered a cardiac arrest episode on Dec. 31, 2002 and initially retired from basketball after being diagnosed with a heart condition called Long QT Syndrome. Last year Burt underwent further testing that revealed she did not have the condition and UW granted permission for her to rejoin the team on Aug. 17, 2004. Burt didn't waste any time getting into the action, tying for the team lead in scoring with 12 points in her season debut, including a 7-for-8 mark from the charity stripe. Burt was second on the team with seven rebounds versus Minnesota, and wowed the crowd with a flashy behind the back pass to Emily Florence for a fast-break layin. Burt has a defibrillator implanted on the right side of her chest.
Forward Jill Bell has quickly established herself as Washington's leading rebounder in these early games. Bell, who was second on the team in that category as a freshman, had a team-high seven boards versus South Carolina and a game-high 11 boards versus Minnesota. A standout long jumper in high school, Bell's jumping ability has translated into success for the Huskies on the basketball court. Bell was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman honorable mention team last year, despite only starting the last nine games of the season. She pulled down a career-high 16 rebounds last season versus Denver.
Two of the Huskies most explosive players on the floor have been two freshmen guards, Emily Florence and Dominique Banks. Florence, who measures in at just 5-5, started her first two collegiate contests and is shooting 57.1 percent (4-7) from the field to go along with four assists. Florence tied for the team-lead in assists with Kristen O'Neill versus Minnesota with three. Banks is averaging 31 minutes off the bench, and scored 12 points in her collegiate debut versus South Carolina. Banks shot 4-for-10 from the field, and 2-for-3 from beyond the arc. She also leads the team with four steals.
Lending A Hand:
Junior guard Kristen O'Neill hasn't missed a beat despite sitting out all of last year battling a stress fracture in her left foot. O'Neill has a team-high six assists, leading the Huskies with three assists each in both tournament games last week. O'Neill is also the team's third-leading scorer with 8.5 points per game.
Total Team Effort:
Head coach June Daugherty has the luxury of an extremely deep bench which was evident in the first two games. Six different players averaged over 20 minutes of playing time, while another four average at least 14 minutes. Daugherty has gone with two different starting lineups so far. Guards Kristen O'Neill, Kayla Burt and Emily Florence have started both games, as has forward Jill Bell. Forwards Breanne Watson and Cheri Craddock each have one start under their belt. UW's second-leading scorer at this point is sophomore guard Cameo Hicks, averaging 10 points off the bench.
Home Sweet Home:
Washington has the luxury of playing four of its first five games at home, where it has recorded an overall record of 27-5 since 2002-03. After playing Michigan Monday, the Huskies return home to host the Seattle Times Husky Classic, Nov. 26-27.
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.
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.
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.
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 142-99, and a career record of 265-173. 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.
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 prior to the 2003-04 season after suffering from severe stress fracture injuries. Brockman is studying abroad and will return to the team in late December. 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.
Redshirt-sophomore guard Angie Jones and freshman forward Andrea Plouffe missed the first two games due to injury. Jones, who had two ACL reconstruction surgeries on her right knee, had arthroscopic surgery on that same knee Oct. 26. Plouffe, who had knee surgery as a high school senior last year, suffered a strained Achilles tendon in preseason practice. Both players expect to return to active duty soon.
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 www.gohuskies.com. 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.
Washington returns home to host the 18th Annual Seattle Times Husky Classic, Nov. 26-27. The Huskies will face Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the first round Friday at 3:00 p.m., a contest preceded by the Alabama versus Columbia matchup at 12:30 p.m. Saturday's games feature the consolation game at 12:30 p.m. followed by the championship game at 3 p.m. After playing four of its first five games at home, the Huskies will then hit the road for three straight at Utah (Dec. 4), Denver (Dec. 6) and Notre Dame (Dec. 11).