Oct. 16, 2009
The Washington women's basketball team kicked off the start of their season with their first official practice on Friday, Oct. 16.
In front of a crowd of Fast Break Club members, the Huskies ran through a series of spirited drills that featured some light-hearted moments as well.
One benefit this season will come in the form of continuity. The Huskies have 12 returning players, compared to last year, when they had to fold in eight newcomers. The experience and leadership was on display Friday, as the Huskies had the look of a more focused team, according to coaches.
This was particularly clear to head coach Tia Jackson, who is entering her third season with Washington. Given what Jackson has already seen from her team, she's confident in their ability to put an 8-22 season behind them.
"We keep saying new year and new team, and (the players) keep showing that," Jackson said.
Among the returners will be senior guard/forward Sami Whitcomb, who led the Huskies in scoring with 12.8 points per game last season. Whitcomb was also the team leader in steals with 68.
She will be joined by junior post Laura McClellan and sophomore wing Kristi Kingma, both of whom averaged 8.7 and 8.2 points per game respectively. Also returning are senior point guard Christina Rozier and senior forward Lydia Young. Included as well are junior guard Sarah Morton, senior guard Sara Mosiman, forward/center Mackenzie Argens, forward Liz Lay and center Regina Rogers, who is eligible this year after transferring in from UCLA.
Washington welcomes a pair of newcomers in two incoming freshman. Amanda Johnson, from Manhattan Beach, Calif., will provide depth to the guard slot. Forward Jeneva Anderson, out of Spokane, is a 6-foot forward who helped lead Lewis & Clark High School to two 4A Washington State Championships.
The team began their first practice session with a series of introductions, along with a rehearsed skit for the crowd. After a set of drills, the team broke out into five-on-five scrimmages. The intensity was evident as players dove for loose balls, crashed the boards and set hard screens to free shooters.
"We look like we're in better shape," said Jackson, relaying several comments she heard after meeting with fans afterwards. "We don't have to use this first practice to get in shape. So now we can work on X's and O's."
To prepare for the season, the Huskies will play a pair of exhibitions. On deck is a meeting with nearby Seattle Pacific University on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m., and then Corban College on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.
Washington will then play two of its first three games on the road. The season opens at Portland State on Nov. 14, which will feature a 2 p.m. afternoon tip. A home game with BYU on Nov. 18 precedes another short road trip, this time with Gonzaga in Spokane on Nov. 22.
The always-competitive Pac-10 season opens on Jan. 1, 2010 with a road trip to Eugene, Ore., and the University of Oregon.