Women's Basketball Season Preview: Posts
Oct. 18, 2011
SEATTLE - The Huskies are halfway into preseason workouts under first-year coach Kevin McGuff, who has now begun to install the type of basketball he wants to showcase on Montlake. To preview the season, GoHuskies.com will provide a scouting report of the team's three position groups.
Perhaps no group returns more talent than the posts, a gritty group of players who exhibit the toughness needed to be effective forwards in the Pac-12 Conference. Over the summer, the Husky posts honed their brand against European club competition, placing added emphasis on crashing the boards and running the floor. With a mix of senior leaders and talented newcomers, the Huskies will be able to cause a lot of matchup problems for opposing teams in the frontcourt.
The most notable returnee is senior Regina Rogers, who averaged 10.0 points despite playing less than 20 minutes a game. The 6-3 Seattle native is considered one of the most difficult players to defend in the league, one who demands a constant double-team in the low block and shoots nearly 60 percent from the floor. What's impressed the coaching staff is just how much Rogers has bought into the new system, establishing herself as one of the hardest-working players during individual and team workouts.
"Regina's been a leader on our team, and she's demonstrated that on and off the court in this offseason," said assistant coach Kevin Morrison, who helps develop the team's forwards. "She's really dialed in and we think she can do great things for us on the floor. She's an unstoppable player."
The Huskies are hoping to play Rogers between 25-30 minutes a game, which should increase her on-court production. Additionally, her presence on the floor frees up space for guards like Mercedes Wetmore and Jazmine Davis to knock down open jumpers.
"You have to double-team her," Morrison said. "We're hoping she can shoot between 60 and 65 percent from the floor. You can do that when Regina gets the ball as deep in the post as she does."
Mackenzie Argens started all 28 Huskies game last season, setting career-highs in both points (7.1) and rebounds (5.9). This is now Argens' fifth year in the system and the Roosevelt High School product provides the Huskies with both defense and size at both the four and five positions. What sets Argens apart from other Pac-12 counterparts is her ability to run the floor. Routinely one of the fastest posts during conditioning tests, Argens' ability to stretch the floor on the break offers an outlet options for the guards. During the Scandinavian tour, Argens led all Huskies in both points and rebounds, averaging near 12 and 10 respectively.
"She's such a versatile post player," Morrison said. "She can score around the basket with either hand, and then she can step out 12 feet and knock down a jumper. Her skill set provides a difficult matchup for a lot of teams, and her ability to run rim-to-rim is impressive."
Mollie Williams gives the Huskies another athletic option in the frontcourt. The senior had an impressive start to the 2010-11 season before she was slowed with ankle/knee injuries. Now healthy and coming off a productive summer, Williams is another matchup problem at power forward. With her muscular 6-2 frame, Williams is capable of running the floor and creating havoc on the offensive glass.
"She showed that throughout the summer in Europe. Her ability to run is going to be a great thing for us in our up-tempo system," Morrison said. "Mollie's been one of our better finishers this fall and then she can step out and knock down a shot."
Over the course of 28 games last season, Marjorie Heard rapidly showed herself to be a tireless worker on the court. The Snohomish, Wash., native proudly sports the No. 40 in honor of her idol Jon Brockman, and has modeled her game after the Husky legend.
At times last year, Heard showed flashes with her tenacity on the glass and her ability to knock down open shots. One of her best efforts came in Eugene, Ore., in front of a hostile crowd at McArthur Court. In 31 minutes, Heard set personal bests with 17 points and 12 rebounds, the first double-double of her career.
"Marjie's a super hard worker and she's someone who's really embraced the changes that we've made to the program," Morrison said. "I like how she runs the floor and the leadership she provides. She's grown and matured in this program."
Finally, Talia Walton is one of several young players the program feels could be impactful on the court. The freshman from Tacoma will miss the next 4-6 weeks following preseason knee surgery, but her 6-2 frame and versatile game are the reasons Walton was one of the top recruits on the West Coast coming out of Federal Way High School.
"Talia has some tremendous upside," Morrison said. "With her skill set and her athleticism, she could be a very, very good player for us, both this year and throughout the course of her career. She can put it on the floor, shoot the high post jumper; just been a great student of the game."