UW Women Make Season Debut At Alabama, Florida State

Nov. 15, 2005

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This Week:
Washington women's basketball (0-0) makes its offical season debut this week, heading out on the road to face Alabama (0-0) and Florida State (0-0). The Huskies take on Alabama, Friday, Nov. 18, at 3:30 p.m. PT at newly renovated Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa before facing Florida State, Sunday, Nov. 20, at 11 a.m. PT at Donald L. Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee. The trip marks the first time in program history the Huskies have traveled to either Tuscaloosa or Tallahasee. Washington, though, is no stranger to opening the season on the road having done so six times in the last eight seasons. The Huskies had one exhibition tune-up prior to Friday's opener, defeating Baden Sports, 88-49, Nov. 6. Friday marks the season opener for Alabama as well, while Florida State faces Georgia Southern in its opener Friday before hosting UW, Sunday.

Radio Coverage:
All Husky women's basketball games can be heard live on the radio at KKNW AM 1150. Steve Sandmeyer, in his seventh 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 www.gohuskies.com with a Dawg Channel All-Access pass.

2005-06 Season Outlook:
The Huskies' outlook for the coming season is quite optimistic, considering they return 14 letterwinners and all five starters from last year's squad. Despite finishing the season with a sub-.500 record (14-16), UW won eight of its last 13 games - including five of the last seven. One of just seven NCAA Division I programs without a senior on its roster last year, the squad has a much more veteran look in 2005-06. The Huskies boast 10 upperclassmen (seniors and juniors) including senior tri-captains Kayla Burt (G), Nicole Castro (G) and Kristen O'Neill (G). Included among those upperclassmen are juniors Jill Bell (F) and Cameo Hicks (G), both All-Pac-10 honorable mention selections. Sure to also benefit from increased experience are junior forwards Breanne Watson and Maggie O'Hara, who started seven and eight games respectively last year. The underclassmen on the UW roster should certainly not be overlooked. Although just in their sophomore campaigns, guards Dominique Banks and Emily Florence saw quite a bit of playing time as rookies. Florence started all but three games at point guard, while Banks shared a starting role with Kayla Burt at the No. 2 guard. Banks was also named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman honorable mention team. The Huskies welcome one newcomer in 6-3 freshman forward Heidi McNeill from Oak Harbor, Wash.

Scouting Alabama:
The Crimson Tide finished the 2004-05 season 14-15 overall, and 4-10 (ninth) in the SEC. Four starters return from last year, including junior guard Kate Mastin, junior guard Marverly Nettles, junior guard/forward Navonda Moore, and senior center Dee Merriweather. Under the direction of first-year head coach Stephany Smith, Alabama came away with a pair of wins in its exhibition contests, defeating Western Alabama, 69-46, and Henderson State, 76-57. Junior forward Lauren Hill scored 15 points and added five boards versus Western Alabama, while Nettles led the squad with 17 points, along with eight rebounds, versus Henderson State. Junior forward Harriet Barnes added a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds versus Henderson State as well.

The Series With Alabama:
Washington and Alabama met for the first time last season in Seattle at the Husky Classic (Nov. 27, 2004), with the Crimson Tide rolling to a 76-56 victory over the Huskies to claim the tournament title. Marverly Nettles, the Husky Classic MVP, had 19 points and eight rebounds versus the Huskies. Then-freshman Dominique Banks was the only Husky to score in double-figures with 12 points. The 20-point loss was UW's second-largest losing margin of the year, second only to a 22-point defeat to Stanford (82-60) in Seattle, Jan. 27.

Scouting Florida State:
The Seminoles advanced as far as the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year, compiling an overall record of 24-8. Florida State defeated Richmond (87-54) in the first round before falling to Connecticut (70-52) in the second. FSU finished fourth in the ACC with a 9-5 league mark, with head coach Sue Semrau earning ACC Coach of the Year honors. Three starters from that squad return this season including junior guard Alicia Gladden, senior guard Ganiyat Adeduntan and senior guard Holly Johnson. FSU won both their exhibition games, defeating Athletes in Action, 73-60, and EA Sports, 77-63. The Seminoles, who play their first seven games at home, host Georgia Southern before the Huskies come to town, Sunday.

The Series With Florida State:
Sunday will be the first ever meeting between Washington and Florida State.

Huskies Drown Baden Sports In Exhibition Win:
Washington defeated Baden Sports, 88-49, in its lone preseason tuneup, Nov. 6, at Bank of America Arena. Junior guard Cameo Hicks led four players in double-figures with 16 points. Sophomore forward Andrea Plouffe, making her first unofficial collegiate start, scored 15 points. Senior guard Kayla Burt (13) and junior guard Cheri Craddock (11) added scoring totals in double-digits. The UW defense forced Baden Sports to commit 32 turnovers, led by five steals a piece from Plouffe and senior guard Kristen O'Neill. O'Neill also added nine points, eight rebounds and four assists.

Season Openers:
Washington is 21-10 in season openers, having won the last four straight. The Huskies have opened on the road 17 times, including four times in the last five years and six in the last eight. Washington defeated South Carolina, 65-53, in its season opener at the BCA/BTI Classic last year. UW's last season opening loss was at Indiana on Nov. 17, 2000 (77-74).

Off To The Races:
The Huskies' endurance will be tested early, as they play five games in the first 10 days of the season. After this week's cross-country trip, UW will make its home debut hosting No. 22 Utah, Wednesday, Nov. 23 (7 p.m.) and play two more games Saturday, Nov. 26 and Sunday, Nov. 27. UW hosts the Husky Classic, facing San Diego on Nov. 26 and either Rice or Pennsylvania on Nov. 27.Dawg Bites: The Huskies are three victories away from reaching 600 in program history...Kristen O'Neill enters her senior season already ranked on three UW career lists...she ranks ninth all-time in three pointers made (101) and three-pointers attempted (292)...she also ranks 10th in three-point field goal percentage with a 34.6 percent clip...just a junior, Jill Bell ranks eighth on UW's career list for blocked shots (56)...her 31 blocks last season ranked fourth all-time on UW's single-season list...junior Cheri Craddock (36.8) and senior Kayla Burt (35.6) rank seventh and eighth, respectively, on UW's career list for three-point shooting percentage.

The Schedule:
Washington's 2005-06 schedule features nine opponents that appeared in last year's NCAA Tournament including the defending NCAA champion Baylor Lady Bears. Baylor highlights a formidable preseason slate that includes the likes of Florida State, Utah and Rice, while Pac-10 steams Stanford (Elite Eight), Arizona State (Sweet 16), USC, Oregon and Arizona are also squads that participated in postseason play last year.

Ranked Opponents:
Washington is slated to face five opponents ranked in the latest Top-25 polls. Defending NCAA Champion Baylor heads the list, ranked sixth in the Associated Press poll and fifth in the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA poll. Also ranked are Stanford (No. 11 AP/No. 9 WBCA), Arizona State (No. 20 AP/No. 15 WBCA), Utah (No. 22 AP/No. 21 WBCA) and USC (No. 24 AP/No. 23 WBCA).

Huskies On Television:
At least six of Washington's games have been picked up for television broadcasts by FSN including a pair of national telecasts. UW's home game with Washington State (Sunday, Feb. 5, 1 p.m.) and a road game at UCLA (Saturday, Feb. 11, 1 p.m.) will be shown to a nationwide audience. UW will have four more games televised regionally by FSN Northwest versus Eastern Washington (Dec. 12, 7 p.m.), at Arizona State (Dec. 29, 5:30 p.m.), at Arizona (Dec. 31, 3 p.m.) and at Washington State (Jan. 7, 1 p.m.). Two dates remain 'wildcard' time slots national telecasts by FSN - UW's home game versus Oregon State (Feb. 18) and a road game at Cal (Feb. 25). Selections for wildcard broadcasts will be made two weeks prior to those dates.

UW Picked Sixth In Pac-10 Media Poll, Seventh In Coaches Poll:
The Huskies were picked to finish sixth in the Pac-10 according to a poll of media members who regularly cover the league. UW was tabbed to finish seventh according to the Pac-10 Coaches Poll. Stanford was selected by both the media and the coaches to claim this year's conference title.

Head Coach June Daugherty:
June Daugherty enters her 10th season as the head coach of the Husky women's basketball team, having led Washington to the postseason seven times. 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. Daugherty has compiled a UW record of 154-115, and a career record of 277-189. 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 10th year with the team, while Soderberg begins her second season and Lewis-Jay enters her third year.

Burt Receives National Recognition For Comeback:
Following the end of last season, senior guard Kayla Burt received a pair of national honors for her comeback to basketball after suffering a cardiac arrest epidsode on New Year's Eve, 2002. In her first year back on the court, Burt led the Huskies in scoring (9.6 ppg), assists (2.9 apg), free-throw percentage (75.8) and free-throws made (69). In March she was named the 2005 recipient of the prestigious V Foundation Comeback Award and during the summer made a trip to Hollywood for the 2005 ESPY Awards as one of four nominees for Best Comeback. Burt will be presented the V Foundation Trophy prior to a game this season. At the local level, Burt was also named the Everett Herald's Woman of the Year in Sports.

Watson Gains International Experience:
Junior forward Breanne Watson represented her native country as a member of the Canadian National Development Team that competed at the 2005 World University Games held in Turkey in August. A starter on the squad, Watson averaged 6.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in six games. She missed the seventh game after injuring her elbow. The Canadian team finished 11th overall with a 4-3 record. It was the second time Watson competed in the World University Games, as she was a member of the Canadian National Development Team that competed in Korea during the summer of 2003.

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. Junior Maggie O'Hara and sophomore 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.

Pac-10 Tournament:
The Pac-10 Conference plays host to the fifth annual State Farm Women's Basketball Tournament, March 3-6, 2006, at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. This year marks the fourth year the tournament has been held at that site. A total of nine games will be played, with the champion earning the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Arizona State won the inaugural tournament in 2002, while Stanford has won the last three.

Roster Note:
Sophomore guard Stefanie Clark is redshirting the 2005-06 season.

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