Women's Hoops Opens Three-Game Road Trip At Utah Saturday

Nov. 30, 2004

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This Week:
After playing four of its first five games at home, Washington women's basketball (3-2) opens a three-game road trip this week, with contests at Utah (3-2), Saturday, Dec. 4, at 2 p.m. PST in Salt Lake City, and at Denver (0-2), Monday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m. PST in Colorado. The Huskies have lost two of their last three games, and most recently finished runner-up at the 18th Annual Seattle Times Husky Classic, defeating Wisconsin-Milwaukee 86-75, before falling in the championship to Alabama, 76-56. Washington wraps the road trip at third-ranked Notre Dame on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 9 a.m. PST.

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 www.gohuskies.com.

Live Webcast:
A select number of Husky women's basketball games can be seen via a live webcast at www.gohuskies.com. A subscription to College Sports Pass is necessary to view these games and can be purchased on the website for $6.95 a month or $49.95 for an entire year. The radio broadcasts from all UW women's basketball games are also included in the package.

Scouting Utah (3-2):
Utah will face Utah Valley State on Thursday, Dec. 2, before entertaining the Huskies on Saturday. The Utes are coming off a 2-1 performance at the Rainbow Wahine Classic over the Thanksgiving weekend, suffering a first round loss to then-No. 14 Michigan State by a mere basket (54-56) before defeating Hawaii (52-45) and Idaho (57-50). Utah's two losses have come to ranked opponents, also taking then-No. 7 Stanford to the wire and losing by just six points (57-63). The Utes are led by junior forward Kim Smith (13.2 ppg, 12.6 rpg) and junior guard Shona Thorburn (11.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg). Thorburn also has a team-high 32 assists. As a team, Utah is averaging 56.8 points per game to its opponents' 53.4 and has a 7.2 rebounding advantage (39.6 rpg to 32.4 rpg).

Fast Fact:
Utah head coach Elaine Elliott, in her 22nd season with the Utes, is a Tacoma, Wash. native and was a 1977 Boise State graduate. Washington has two Boise State alums on its coaching staff: Janet Soderberg (1993) and Kellie Lewis-Jay (1998).

Scouting Denver (0-2):
The Pioneers are in search of their first win this season, but have a chance to garner at least two before Washington comes to Denver, playing at Kansas, Tuesday, Nov. 30 and hosting Fresno State, Thursday, Dec. 2. Denver looks to overcome early losses to San Francisco (59-62) at home and at Wyoming (54-55). Three players average double-figures led by senior center Sarah Cyran's 12 points per game. Junior forward Venice Adams (10.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and senior guard Tasha Jones (10.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg) round out Denver's top three. Despite being outscored by their opponents, the Pioneers have outrebounded the opposition averaging 37.0 rpg to 35.0.

All-Time Series Notes:
Washington has a 3-3 record against Utah in the all-time series as these teams met six times in the 1980's. The Huskies won the last meeting, 65-51, on Dec. 20, 1989, in the first round of the Seattle Times Husky Classic. Monday marks just the second meeting between Washington and Denver, as the Huskies defeated the Pioneers last season in Seattle, 82-51 (Dec. 16, 2003).

Dawg Bites:
• For the second-straight week, UW received votes in both the ESPN/USA Today/WBCA Coaches Poll and the Associated Press Poll.
• Seven different Huskies reached double-figure scoring in the Huskies' first five games. Sophomore forward Breanne Watson and junior guard Kristen O'Neill reached double-digits three times, but no player has scored more than 14 points in a single game. O'Neill scored 14 versus Wisconsin-Milwaukee and sophomore guard Cameo Hicks scored 14 against Minnesota.
• Kristen O'Neill is Washington's leading scorer with 9.2 points per game. O'Neill is also tied for the team lead in steals (seven), tied for second in assists (13) and tied for third in rebounding (3.6 rpg).
• Redshirt sophomore forward Jill Bell has been UW's leading rebounder in three of five games, averaging a team-high of 7.0 boards. Bell's early season game-high was 11 boards versus Minnesota.
• Washington opened 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 (Nov. 15) 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.

Huskies Finish Runner-Up At Seattle Times Classic:
Washington failed to win its second-straight Seattle Times Husky Classic crown, falling to Alabama 76-56, in the championship game Nov. 27. Marverly Nettles scored 19 points and added eight rebounds to lead the Crimson Tide. She was named MVP, while the All-Tournament team included UW junior Kristen O'Neill, UW sophomore Cheri Craddock, Alabama's Natasha Gamble, Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Teri Huff and Columbia's Erin Jaschik. The 20-point loss by Washington equaled the largest margin of defeat for the Huskies in tournament history, matched only by a 70-50 loss to Louisiana Tech in the 1987 title game. Alabama finished with a plus-26 advantage in rebounding and 21 second-chance points. The Crimson Tide's 49 rebounds more than doubled UW's 23-board total. Freshman Dominique Banks led all Huskies with 12 points and four rebounds off the bench. Sophomore guard Cameo Hicks also had six points and four boards. Alabama's Katie Sipe had 14 points and Gamble had 10, while Dee Merriweather led the rebounding charge with a game-high 10 boards. Wisconsin-Milwaukee defeated Columbia 63-59 in the third place matchup. UW won its opening game with Milwaukee, 86-75.

A Different Star On Any Given Night:
As these early season games may indicate, any one of the Husky players on the 15-woman roster could step up to lead the team on any given night this year. So far 10 different players have led the team in either points, rebounds, assists, or steals in a single game. Washington's scoring has been especially balanced across the board with seven players averaging between 9.2 and 7.4 points per game. Only freshman guard Dominique Banks has led the team more than once in scoring (12 points versus South Carolina and Alabama). Redshirt sophomore Jill Bell is the only player to lead in rebounds more than once (seven versus South Carolina, 11 vs. Minnesota, eight vs. Michigan).

Burt's Back:
Washington's season opener with South Carolina, Nov. 14, marked the first offical game for junior guard Kayla Burt 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. At the time, Burt had a defibrillator implanted on the right side of her chest. Last year she 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. She 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 reached double-figures in two games, with 10 points at Michigan to go along with a season-high seven assists in Ann Arbor. She also leads the team in total assists with 15.

Jumpin' Jill:
Redshirt sophomore 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, a game-high 11 versus Minnesota and a team-high eight at Michigan. 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.

Fantastic Frosh:
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 five collegiate contests. She is tied for second on the team in assists (13) and has been the Huskies assists leader in three games. Banks is averaging 14.2 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 had a team-high 12 points versus Alabama.

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 is tied for second in assists with Emily Florence (13), and dished a team-high three assists in UW's first two games. O'Neill is also tied with sophomore guard Erica Schelly for the team lead in steals (seven) and is UW's leading scorer with 9.2 ppg.

Cheri 'Machine-Gun' Craddock:
True to the nickname she received last year as a walkon freshman, sophomore guard Cheri Craddock's 'machine-gun' style of shooting (taking a shot as soon as she receives the ball) has made her the Huskies' leading three-point shooter thus far. Craddock is shooting a team-high 48 percent from beyond the arc, making 12 treys on 25 attempts. Always looking for the outside shot, 25 of Craddock's 35 total field goal attempts have come from beyond the three-point arc and only two of her14 field goals made were not three-pointers. She is tied for third in team scoring with 8.0 ppg. Craddock is also a member of the Husky track team.

Total Team Effort:
Head coach June Daugherty has the luxury of an extremely deep bench which was evident in the first five games. Five different players averaged over 20 minutes of playing time, while another six averaged at least 14.2 minutes. Daugherty has gone with two different starting lineups so far. Guards Kristen O'Neill, Kayla Burt and Emily Florence have started all games, as has forward Jill Bell. Forward Breanne Watson has started the last four, while Cheri Craddock started UW's season opener.

Home Sweet Home:
Washington had the luxury of playing four of its first five games at home, where it has recorded an overall record of 28-6 since the 2002-03 season. The Huskies have always excelled at home, compiling an overall record of 266-61 (.813) at Bank of America Arena (also known as Hec Edmundson Pavilion before the 2000 renovation). Since 1987, Washington has had three undefeated seasons on its home court, going 15-0 in 1986-87, 14-0 in 1989-90 and 14-0 in 2002-03. Washington's next home game will be Dec. 15 against nationally ranked Baylor. The Huskies' stellar home record also speaks volumes to the annual home attendance figures, as UW is among the nation's top-20 teams for attendance on an annual basis.

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.

Season/Home Openers:
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.

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.

Bring On The Best:
Washington has a challenging schedule, facing seven NCAA Tournament teams from last year and three WNIT squads. UW met its first test against 2004 NCAA Final Four team Minnesota, defeating the 14th-ranked Gophers 72-67 in overtime, Nov. 15. Washington will face four more opponents ranked in this week's Top 25 polls. The Huskies have a stretch in December when they face three Top-25 opponents in four meetings: Notre Dame (No. 3/No. 3, Baylor (No. 9/No. 11) and Arizona (nr/No. 25). Throw in a trip to Stanford (No. 5/No. 2) after the New Year on Jan. 4, and the Huskies have their hands full. (Rankings according Associated Press/USA Today-ESPN-WBCA Coaches Poll)

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 143-101, and a career record of 266-175. 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 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.

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. This year 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.

Up Next:
Washington continues its road trip at No. 3 Notre Dame, Saturday, Dec. 11, at 9 a.m. PST.