UW To Host USC On Friday Night
SEATTLE -- The Washington women's basketball team returns to Alaska Airlines Arena this weekend for two games against the Los Angeles schools. First up for the Huskies is USC on Friday night at 7 p.m. PT. The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks (Pac-12 Washington) with Elise Woodward and Stephanie Hawk-Freeman on the call. Gary Hill will call the action on 1090 KJR--AM.
Notable: Nancy Mulkey was recently named to the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Watch List and lived up to the accolade last weekend, blocking seven shots to increase her Pac-12-leading total to 53. ... Washington currently leads the Pac-12 and is second in the nation in fewest team fouls committed. The Huskies also headed into the weekend ranked 2nd in the Pac-12 and 11th in the country in fouls per game (13.0). The UW three-point defense holds opponents to a 27.9% mark, which is best in the Pac-12. Individually, Mulkey's 3.3 blocks per game are 1st in the Pac-12 and 3rd in the country, while her 53 total blocks are 1st and 14th, respectively. Haley Van Dyke's 8.2 rebounds per game are 3rd in the Pac-12.
Coach Langley (5-11 at UW/131-72 Overall, 7th season): Langley is in her first year at Washington after leading Rice through its most successful stretch in program history. She became the first Husky coach to win in their debut since UW Hall of Famer Chris Gobrecht did so in 1985. She joins Gobrecht and Sue Kruszewski (1980) as the only coaches to win their first two games. Langley was 126-61 in six seasons with the Owls, a tenure that was capped by winning the 2021 WNIT Championship. Her winning percentage of .674 is the best in program history and includes a 44-4 (.916) record in Conference USA action over the last three seasons, and a 2018-19 Conference USA Coach of the Year honor. Langley led the Owls to three-straight C-USA titles (2019, 2020, 2021) and five-straight 20-win seasons. During the last five years, the Owls have made post-season appearances in the NCAA Tournament (2019), WNIT (2018, 2021-champions) and WBI (2017-champions).
The Team: The Huskies return two starters from last season's squad, including forward Haley Van Dyke (12.0 ppg and 5.8 rpg), who earned honorable mention on both the All-Pac-12 and All-Pac-12 Defensive teams, and shooting guard Alexis Griggsby (5.7 ppg and team-high 27 3-pt makes). Other upper-classmen returners include Darcy Rees (8.3 ppg and 2.5 rpg), T.T. Watkins (opt out) and Missy Peterson (injury), plus four players who saw action as freshmen (Nia Lowery, Jess Finney, Jayda Noble and Alexis Whitfield). The Huskies will count on three transfers to provide proven experience and leadership from programs that had a high-level of success in 2021. Nancy Mulkey and Lauren Schwartz followed Langley from Rice, where they were the No. 1 and 2 scorers for the WNIT Champion Owls. Mulkey is preseason All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention and on the Lisa Leslie Watch List. Schwartz provides another deep threat with a versatile offensive arsenal. Trinity Oliver was a starting guard for Baylor and brings a winning pedigree to the Huskies' lineup. UW also has a pair of freshmen, who also bring unique talents and potential to the table: Olivia Pollerd (Australia U-19 Silver Medalist at FIBA World Cup) and Gatorade Arizona State POY, Marisa Davis-Jones.
Top-10 Recruiting Class Signed: Tina Langley and her staff amassed an impressive signing day class as announced on Nov. 10. She adds a trio of top-100 rated guards from California: Teagan Brown, Elle Ladine and Hannah Stines. Brown is rated 78th in the ESPNW 100 rankings after averaging 18.5 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 2.9 spg and 3.3 apg at Oak Ridge HS in El Dorado Hills, Calif. Stines is rated 39th by ESPNW and was All-CIF Southern Section, All-State First Team and San Joaquin League POY at Troy HS. Ladine is ranked 52nd by ESPN and helped Pinewood HS to the 2021 CCS Open Division Championship.