March 2, 2010
By Michael Jeremiah
SEATTLE - Fans of Husky women's basketball will say goodbye to five seniors this weekend when Washington plays host to the Oregon schools. Sami Whitcomb, Laura McLellan and Sara Mosiman came to Washington at of high school, while Christina Rozier and Lydia Young joined the Huskies after two years at Southeastern Illinois.
Coach Tia Jackson had high praise for all of her seniors. Whitcomb has gotten better every year, not only as a player but as a leader. McLellan has learned to control her passion to improve her game and is a role model for the talented young posts in the fold. Rozier has improved her scoring skills as a senior, while Young has brought energy despite being injured this year.
Perhaps the most impressive story among the seniors is Mosiman's. A highly touted player coming out of local King's High School, Mosiman fought through injuries in her first three years. This season was supposed to be her year to shine as she earned a starting spot, but found out in December that she would require surgery to fix shin splints.
Although Jackson initially thought it would be a stretch for Mosiman to return this season, its no surprise that she was the player that was able to return to the court just 43 days after surgery.
"She has exemplified tremendous resiliency with the way that she has bounced back injury upon injury and come back and shown her competitive nature on the floor," said Jackson.
With Mosiman's return, four of the five senior will be able to play. A degenerative knee condition ended Young's playing career earlier this year, but she is still a major part of a close knit team.
It's been a tougher road for this class than expected, as Young and Rozier had to adjust to new surroundings midway through their college careers, while the original three went through a coaching change after their freshman year.
Whitcomb, McLellan and Mosiman all had to decide whether to buy in to a program that was different than the one they committed to. After meeting Coach Jackson before their sophomore year, they were able to get behind their new leader.
"I want to win for myself and my teammates just because I hate losing, but I also want to win for my coach too because they put in just as much energy," said Whitcomb. "That's one of the things that I looked for when I met Coach J, is this someone that I'll want to play for, win for and work my butt off for. I found that with her."
There's no doubt that this team has found that intensity this year. The change in team performance this year hasn't shown the standings, but according to Whitcomb, is doing all that is necessary to win. The next step is to make the plays necessary to close the door on opponents. They did that last weekend against Washington State, and hope to continue that this weekend.
The senior class is an important part to setting the table for the turnaround, and is hoping to get momentum this weekend against the Oregon schools for a strong showing in the Pac-10 tournament and beyond.
Wins this weekend will help that cause, as the Huskies face off against Oregon State on Friday and Oregon on Sunday. Before the Oregon game, there will be senior recognition, hugs, flowers and probably a few tears. Once the ball is tipped though, its just about getting a victory.
"We're trying to win basketball games and trying to put the best product out on the floor," said Jackson. "Our seniors will see action...as they have all year."