Jan. 18, 2010
Huskies Will Take on USC At Bank of America Arena
The University of Washington women's basketball team (8-8, 3-3 Pac-10) looks to bounce back from a pair of tough road losses to California and No. 2 Stanford as they host USC (10-6, 4-1 Pac-10) on Thursday night at 7 p.m. and UCLA (10-6, 3-2) on Saturday (2 p.m.) at Bank of America Arena. The Huskies will try to extend their home conference win streak, currently at 2-0 after a sweep of the Arizona schools during their last homestand.
Entering his 11th season, Steve Sandmeyer will handle all play-by-play duties for the Washington Huskies - both home and away - on KKNW 1150AM. During home games, he will also be joined by former women's basketball letter-winner Elise (Niemela) Woodward, who will provide color commentary. Dan Giuliani calls home games for GoHuskies.com, part of a joint venture with Comcast On-Demand. Coach Tia Jackson's weekly press conference will be replayed on UWTV (Husky Hoops Talk) on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m.
About the Huskies
Sami Whitcomb leads Washington in scoring with 13.2 points and 6.0 rebounds per contest. The senior also crossed into rare territory when she became the 21st Husky to score 1,000 points or more with a 26-point game against Arizona State.
The Huskies are looking to start their league slate 3-0 against Pac-10 opponents at home, which hasn't happened since the 2005-06 season, when they beat California, Stanford and UCLA in their first three home conference games.
Kristi Kingma is second on the team in scoring, averaging 9.0 points per game. She had a breakout weekend against the Arizona schools with 36 combined points, and chipped in another 12 over the weekend against the Bay Area schools. She also leads the team with 30 steals.
Christina Rozier led the team with 13 points against No. 2 Stanford, including going 3-for-3 from three-point range.
UW is second in the Pac-10 in blocks per game, averaging 4.44 over 16 contests.
Mackenzie Argens is seventh in the Pac-10 in blocks with 1.25 per game. Kingma and Whitcomb are seventh and 13th in the league, respectively in steals (2.0 and 1.56).
Whitcomb is second in the conference in free-throw percentage, with 47 made in 53 attempts for a .887 average.
Charting Washington's Results
The Huskies put up a fight against California and No. 2 Stanford in two tough losses. UW led the Bears 25-24 at halftime before struggling with turnover issues in the second half in a 60-43 loss. Against the Cardinal, the Huskies could not overcome a slow start in a 66-51 defeat in Palo Alto.
The Cal loss snapped the Huskies' three-game win streak. It was first time since 2008 that UW had taken Pac-10 games in a row, which they accomplished after sweeping Arizona and Arizona State and a road split of the Oregon schools, culminating in a 69-64 victory at Oregon State in Corvallis. The Huskies shook off a limited Sami Whitcomb (foul trouble) to defeat the Beavers, who were 9-2 going into the game.
This helped take the sting off a tough 82-71 loss to Oregon, where a second-half UW rally fell short.
The Huskies came away with a split of their two games in Michigan, falling to nationally ranked Michigan State 69-52 in East Lansing in the first contest before toppling Mid-American Conference foe Western Michigan, 71-63, in nearby Kalamazoo.
The Huskies started the year with a late loss at Portland State when Vikings forward Kelli Valentine hit a 15-footer with .3 seconds remaining to give PSU a 67-66 win. Washington rebounded with a win over Brigham Young, which featured a gutsy performance from Whitcomb, who scored the last 12 points of the game and hit a late 3 with 4.0 seconds remaining to propel UW. But the Huskies could not sustain the momentum on the road, falling 81-52 to Gonzaga in Spokane on Nov. 22.
The team responded with a 64-46 win over Eastern Washington in the first round of the Husky Classic before losing in the tournament finale to Sacramento State.
A trip to Florida earned the squad a split against USF and UCF. The Huskies ensured a late win over the Knights when Whitcomb converted a three-point play in the final minute to give her team a 62-59 win. Washington returned to the Northwest to grit out a 58-53 win over city rival Seattle University.
Head coach Michael Cooper took over the USC women's program for the 2009-2010 season, though he hardly lacks in women's basketball experience. As coach of the WNBA Los Angeles Sparks for eight years, he won two WNBA Championships and five Western Conference titles. He also played 12 seasons in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers and was a member of five NBA championship teams. He takes over the program following the departure of Mark Trakh, who resigned as head coach after five seasons at USC.
The Trojans are coming off a 17-15 record in 2008-09, their sixth consecutive winning season and fifth straight with at least 17 wins.
USC had a tough opening slate, with eight of their first nine opponents having played in the NCAA Tournament last year. The women of Troy have posted three wins - all on the road or at neutral sites - over ranked teams to date: No. 13 Texas, No. 19 Mississippi State and No. 17 Arizona State.
Sophomore point guard Ashley Corral - who hails from Vancouver, Wash.'s Prairie High School - has been having a breakout season for USC, leading the team with 16.5 points per contest and 36.6 minutes per game. She's also a three-point gunner, having made 43 of 119 attempts this season.
Briana Gilbreath, a 6'1 sophomore guard, is an offensive and defensive threat for the Trojans. She is second on the team with 13.5 points per game and also has 27 blocks this season, good for a 1.7 per game average.
Other top scorers for USC include senior guard Heather Oliver, with 8.8 points per game and senior guard/forward Aarika Hughes, who averages 8.8 points and a team-leading 6.1 rebounds per contest.
Series Record: The Huskies lead the all-time series with the women of Troy, 28-23, including a 16-6 mark at home. But USC has won the last three meetings, including a 77-53 victory at Bank of America on Feb. 22, 2009. The Trojans have won five of the last six contests, and nine of the last 12.
The last UW win came on Jan. 13, 2008, a 60-45 victory at home.
Noteworthy: As in 2009, the Trojans will host this season's Pac-10 Tournament at the Galen Center...The Huskies will miss McDonald's All-American Jacki Gemelos this time around, but the Trojans expect her to return to game competition in February 2010. The 2006 top recruit has been sidelined with knee injuries for the past three seasons.