Jan. 4, 2010
Huskies Finally Return To BOA For Date With Arizona Schools
The University of Washington women's basketball team (6-6, 1-1 Pac-10) is (temporarily) off the road. For the first time since Nov. 29, the Huskies will play at Bank of America Arena when they entertain Arizona State (8-5, 0-2) on Thurs., Jan. 7 and Arizona (6-6, 0-2) on Sun., Jan. 9.
In between the home games, the Huskies have flown over 8,600 miles in playing games in Florida and Michigan. The seven straight road games was the longest stretch for the Huskies in their history, topping the six straight they played away from home in the 1988-89 season.
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 13.4 points per game. She is also the team's leading rebounder with 5.6 boards per contest. She enters the game 16 points away from 1,000 for her career. The Huskies split their opening Pac-10 road trip. Their late rally against Oregon fell just short, falling 82-71, but the Huskies rebounded to power past Oregon State in Corvallis, 69-64. It was the first win for UW at OSU since Dec. 23, 2006.
Mackenzie Argens has scored 47 points in her last three games, which is exactly half of her point total from all of last season (94). She's averaging 15.5 ppg in conference play, tops on the Huskies.
Argens is now second on the team in field goal percentage (.524), behind Regina Rogers (.544).
Washington is holding teams to 38 percent shooting from the floor, which ranks sixth in the Pac-10. The Huskies are also sixth in the conference in shooting percentage (.415).
UW is second in the league in blocks (4.6 per game), which ranks a hair behind Stanford (4.8).
Argens is seventh in the Pac-10 in blocks with 1.3 per game.
Charting Washington's Results
Washington escaped the Willamette Valley with a much-needed split after an impressive, 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 Sami 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.
About Arizona State Arizona State is coached by Charli Turner Thorne, who is in her 12th year with the program. She is the winningest coach in Sun Devil history (259 wins) and 4th in the Pac-10 for most career wins. Thorne has lead the Sun Devils to the NCAA Tournament seven times in the last nine years, including the last five seasons in a row. The summer of 2009, Coach Thorne served as head coach of the USA Women's World University team who captured the gold medal at the games in Belgrade, Serbia.
The Sun Devils are 8-5 on the season, but have slumped of late, having lost four of their last five, including a sweep at home by the Los Angeles schools. Those losses dropped ASU out of the Top-25 AP poll.
ASU went 26-9 last year and made the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, where they fell to the eventual National Champion - Connecticut.
Arizona State has lost two in a row at home, including a 74-56 loss to UCLA on Jan. 3.
Danielle Orsillo leads the Sun Devils in scoring at 13.6 ppg. The only other ASU player averaging in double-digits is Becca Tobin (10.2), although Tobin is sixth in the league in FG percentage (.636).
Arizona State is last in the Pac-10 in scoring (56.0 ppg), and field goal percentage defense (.490) after their weekend's game against UCLA and USC.
Series Record: The Sun Devils have dominated the series in recent memory, having won the last 10 matchups with the Huskies. Last year, Arizona State won 80-64 at Bank of America, withstanding a career day from Sami Whitcomb, who scored a personal best 29 points.
Noteworthy: Former Husky Kali Bennett is now eligible at Arizona State after transferring out of Seattle following the 2007-08 season. Bennett is averaging 7.2 points per game in 13 games, two of which were starts. ... Bennett hails from Ventura, Calif., the same hometown as Sami Whitcomb, although Bennett went to Ventura while Whitcomb graduated from Buena. ... Sun Devils coach Charli Turner Thorne needs one more victory to reach 300 for her career.
Arizona is coached by Niya Butts, who is in her second year with the program. The Wildcats are 6-6 on the season, 0-2 in the Pac-10. Butts played for the legendary Pat Summitt at Tennessee, where she was a four-year letterwinner and won back-to-back National Championships (1997-98).
The Wildcats are coming off a 12-19 season, which included a 4-14 mark in Pac-10 play.
Like the Sun Devils, the Wildcats were also swept at home last weekend by the L.A. schools, punctuated by an 81-78 OT win by USC on Jan. 3.
Freshman Davellyn Whyte leads Arizona in scoring with 16.3 ppg. She also leads the league in conference game scoring with 25 ppg, buoyed by a 34-point outburst against USC. Soana Lucet is second on the team in scoring, posting 12 points a game.
Arizona is the third-best team in the Pac-10 in FG percentage (.427).
Series Record: For much of the teams' history, Washington has controlled the matchup. But Arizona has had the edge lately, sweeping both games against UW last season. This included a 65-51 win at Bank of America. Sami Whitcomb led the Huskies with 15 points but struggled from the floor (5-of-15).
Noteworthy: Assistant coach Sue Darling was an assistant with the ABL's Seattle Reign from 1996-97. ... Prior to joining the Wildcats last year, Darling was a police officer in Boulder, Colo. ... Soana Lucet hails from the tiny island of New Caledonia, which is 1,500 km east of Australia in the Pacific Ocean. She is the only female athlete from the island to play collegiate basketball.
Injury Report: Liz Lay will miss the remainder of the 2009-10 season after it was announced the sophomore would need surgery for a severe case of patella tendinitis. Earlier this season, both Amanda Johnson and Lydia Young had season-ending knee surgeries as well. Sara Mosiman had surgery to insert a rod in her leg on Dec. 16, which will alleviate the pain the senior was suffering from shin splints. She should return in 2-3 months.
Up Next For The Huskies
The Huskies are back on the road following the quick homestand with the Arizona schools. But this time it's one of the toughest trips in the Pac-10 Conference - the Bay Area. UW will tip-off with Cal in Berkeley on Jan. 14 before traveling to Palo Alto and Stanford on the 16th. The Cardinal are second in the nation with an 11-1 record. Their lone loss came in the state of Connecticut to top-ranked UConn, which used a second-half run to race past Stanford. The Golden Bears are typically in the upper-echelon of the Pac-10 but have struggled out of the gates season to a 6-6 record.