Nov. 6, 2005
SEATTLE, Wash. - Buoyed by a smothering defense that generated 24 turnovers and held its opponent to just 34 percent from the field, Washington's women's basketball team rolled to an 88-49 win over Baden Sports in the team's exhibition opener at Bank of America Arena.
Junior Cameo Hicks (Tracy, Calif.) led four UW scorers in double digits with 16 points, while sophomore Andrea Plouffe (Edmonton, Alberta) added 15 points and five steals in her first collegiate start. Plouffe filled in for injured forward Jill Bell, one of two returning starters - including point guard Emily Florence - who missed Sunday's contest due to injury.
Washington appeared jittery out of the gate, falling behind 7-1 in the first three minutes before taking command of the game with 13 straight points, sparking a 40-4 run that buried Baden in a 41-11 hole with three minutes to play in the first half. After allowing three field goals to Baden in the opening minutes, the Huskies allowed just three, total, for the remaining 17 minutes of the half, including separate scoreless droughts of 4:09 and 9:00.
"We were pretty psyched up for the game," said senior guard Kayla Burt, who finished with 13 points in 16 minutes of play. "Once we got out there and got things going, things started to calm down a little bit. Defensively, people were flying around. That's what we want to do for forty minutes."
Sunday's game featured the debut of two experimental rules, including an increase of nine inches in the three-point line - from 19-feet, 9-inches to 20-feet, 6-inches - and the implementation of a 10-second backcourt violation for teams that do not cross midcourt within 10 seconds after bringing the ball inbounds.
Washington - long known for its three-point prowess - seemed to struggle with the new line early, missing its first several three-point attempts. Junior guard Cheri Craddock, however, brought the drought to a dramatic end at the 10-minute mark, hitting threes on consecutive possessions, then adding a third just minutes later.
With Bell currently day-to-day with a sprained ankle, Plouffe earned her first-career start, while freshman forward Heidi McNeill (Oak Harbor, Wash.) saw increased time off the bench. Both were effective, with McNeill adding four points, five rebounds and two steals to Plouffe's 15, two and five, respectively.
"Andrea really took advantage of her off-season, and we are really excited about her as a player," said 10th-year head coach June Daugherty after the game. "She is just scratching the surface."
Washington will open its season Nov. 18 at Alabama, the first of two-straight road contests to open the 2005-06 season. The Huskies will return home to host Utah on Nov. 23, before the annual Husky Classic on Nov. 26-27.