Huskies Will Sport New Look Next Year

April 19, 2010

SEATTLE - As the Huskies take to the weight room and meet with their position coaches for individual workouts this week, the goal, as always, is improvement across the board.

This was a theme throughout the 2009-10 season as the Huskies belied preseason expectations, finishing in a tie for sixth in the Pac-10 Conference. The program was also rewarded with its first postseason berth in four years, advancing to the quarterfinals of the inaugural Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI).

Now the team shifts its focus to next season, and must do so without a handful of seniors who made a considerable impact during their time on Montlake. No longer do the Huskies have Sami Whitcomb to lean on offensively, or the instant offense Laura McLellan, Christina Rozier and Sara Mosiman provided off the bench. But sensing the void had to be filled, Coach Tia Jackson went out and signed an impressive trio of recruits.

Entering are freshmen Mercedes Wetmore, Ashley Moore and Marjorie Heard, who give the Huskies a blend of leadership, scoring and rebounding.

The highlight of the class is Wetmore, who led nearby Auburn-Riverside High School to three state championships in four seasons. Wetmore also racked up an impressive array of postseason awards, most notably the Gatorade State Player of the Year and the Seattle Times player of the year. The 5-7 guard is proficient at driving the lane, and her game will only improve at the college level once she develops range on her shot. She's also a capable ball-handler, which will help a team that struggled against full-court pressure at times last season. She'll have the leadership example of Sarah Morton - who is the team's lone senior - to help shape her career.

In the 5-10 Moore, the Huskies have a player who should thrive in their up-tempo system. The Vallejo, Calif., native led her high school during an impressive four-game run in the Division II San Joaquin sectionals, scoring a combined 116 points. She was just the fourth female basketball player in the state of California to accomplish such a feat.

Heard will provide the Huskies two important assets next year in toughness and rebounding. A native of Snohomish, Wash., the 6-1 Heard models her game after another famous Husky from that area - Jon Brockman. She'll bring a tenacity on the glass that will help a Huskies team that was a -1.7 on the boards last year.

The Glacier Peak High School graduate joins a frontcourt that should cause plenty of matchup problems in the Pac-10, with Regina Rogers, Mackenzie Argens and Mollie Williams teaming to give the Huskies a combination of size and athleticism in the low blocks. The scoring load, though, will come from Kristi Kingma. The sophomore guard was perhaps the most complete Husky on the stat sheet, providing rebounding, steals and assists in addition to her prodigious scoring capabilities. She also displayed one of the best mid-range games in the league, coming off screens to hit 15-foot jumpers.

The Huskies also return Liz Lay from a season-ending knee injury. The 6-0 sophomore forward was one of the top recruits in the country during her class, and will provide depth at the four position.

This spring, the Huskies will look to get stronger under the direction of strength coach Matt Ludwig, who did wonders for the team's conditioning prior to the 2009-10 season. Added muscle is needed in the physical Pac-10 conference, where big-shouldered guards are commonplace up and down the West Coast. But the Huskies will be one of the more intriguing teams in the league, considering the teams above them last season lose a lot in terms of scoring and senior leadership.

While we think forward to next year, here are some of the highlights from the past year, as compiled by correspondent Max Sitcov:

Whitcomb Beats the Buzzer
Starting senior Sami Whitcomb overcame all obstacles in UW's game against BYU when she knocked down a game winning three-pointer with 4.0 seconds left, pushing the Huskies past the Cougars, 67-66. Whitcomb also scored the Huskies final 12 points and lead all scorers with 25.

Arizona Sweep
The Huskies won their first two games at home by beating both Arizona schools comfortably and continued their dominance at home. Senior Sami Whitcomb scored a season high of 26 against Arizona State, which pushed her career scoring to over 1,000 points, making her the 21st player in Husky history to reach the mark.

Rogers' Presence Felt
After transferring from UCLA and redshirting last season, Regina Rogers got her Husky career off to a great start. Regina started 29 of 30 games this season, averaging 7.3 points and 4.4 rebounds. She scored a career high of 23 points against Washington State and finished the season as the team's second leading rebounder.

Overtime in Pullman
On the road against Washington State, the Huskies were able to overcome the Cougars as Washington pushed to win, 67-60, in overtime. Forward Mackenzie Argens racked up a career-high 11 rebounds, helping the Dawgs attain their 29th straight win in the rivalry.

End of the Season Splash
UW women ended their regular season by winning their last three games at home, finishing out by beating rival Oregon 62-53. The Dawgs celebrated in the locker room by dumping Gatorade on coach Tia Jackson to end the regular season on a high note.

Postseason Berth
UW accepted their invitation to play in the Women's Basketball Invitational, a new 16-team postseason tournament. Washington was named the No. 3 seed. The Dawgs won their first game against Portland, but lost in the second round in a heartbreaker to Texas A&M Corpus Christi by 1 point. The Huskies finished seventh in the Pac-10 with a record of 7-11 and 13-18 overall.

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