Softball Heads To Arizona For Season-Opener This Weekend
Feb. 5, 2001
SEATTLE - Start With A Fiesta Dip: Washington will kick off its 2001 campaign at the 17-team Fiesta Bowl Invitational in Phoenix, Ariz., February 9-11. The Huskies will play some of the nation's top perennial powers including Louisiana State, South Carolina and Nebraska, in addition to New Mexico State, Texas Tech and Georgia.
400 And Beyond: The UW enters this season just one win away from recording the program's 400th victory. After just nine seasons, the Huskies have won nearly 74 percent of their games, carrying a 399-141 record into this year.
Media Day: The Washington softball team will have a Media Day on Tuesday, February 6, at the Husky Softball Stadium at 12:45 p.m. (rain or shine) before practice starts at 1:30 p.m. Coach Teresa Wilson and players will be available for interviews at that time.
Four At First: The University of Washington softball team, which finished fifth in the nation last year at the College World Series, has been ranked fourth in the 2001 USA Today/NFCA preseason coaches' poll released January 24.
The Huskies' number four national ranking marks the 66th consecutive poll in which the team has been within the top six, dating back to the beginning of the 1996 season. Last year, the UW occupied the top spot for 12 straight weeks, including six as the unanimous selection, after being ranked second in the preseason poll. Washington has been in the top 25 every year since late in 1993, its inaugural season.
The UW, which kicks off its 2001 campaign in Phoenix, Ariz., February 9, will face 15 of the top 25 teams at least once during the regular season. Six other future Husky opponents also received votes in the poll.
UCLA, the 2000 national runner-up, tops the list with 13 of the 27 first-place votes, while fellow Pac-10 member Arizona is ranked third with four first-place votes. All eight Pac-10 schools which sponsor softball are ranked in the top 25, including Arizona State (sixth), California (seventh), Stanford (15th), Oregon State (16th) and Oregon (20th).
PAC-10 Power: The University of Washington softball team, which has made five consecutive trips to the College World Series, has been picked to finish fourth in the Pac-10 in a poll of conference coaches released January 16.
The Huskies, who finished their 2000 season with a number five national ranking, received 27 points overall to place behind Arizona (46), UCLA (46) and Arizona State (34). Arizona and UCLA both tied for first place with 46 points and four of the eight first-place votes. Behind Washington was Stanford (25), California (20), Oregon State (17) and Oregon (9).
Over the past three seasons, the Huskies have been picked by the conference coaches to finish second twice (1998, 2000) and third once (1999). Washington won the Pac-10 title for the second time in school history in 2000, compiling a 17-4 record during conference play.
Begin With A `W': The Huskies have had great success in season-openers, winning five straight and losing just two in the program's eight-year history. The Huskies are 29-11 (.725) on opening weekends, going undefeated in 1996 (6-0) and in 2000 (3-0), despite playing 21 ranked foes. The team has also kicked off its season in Arizona seven times and in San Diego the other two years.
Phoenix Forecast : The Huskies will make their way to the Fiesta Bowl lnvitational hosted by Arizona State for the sixth time in program history. This year's tournament will feature 17 teams in a scramble format with each team playing at most two, single games a day or six games over the three-day span. The games will be divided between two sites, the Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix, and Alberta B. Farrington Stadium on the campus of Arizona State. The UW will play all six of its games in Phoenix.
Scouting the LSU Tigers (0-0): The eighth-ranked Tigers enter the season with five starters returning from last year's team, which went 59-13 and fell to Southern Mississippi in the regional finals.
Leading the way will be a pair of returning pitchers in Ashley Lewis (0.84 ERA in 2000) and Britni Sneed (27-7 in 2000), while shortstop Stephanie Hastings and outfielder Dee Douglas add both speed on the basepaths as well as steady bats at the plate.
LSU, under first-year head coach Yvette Girouard, handed the Huskies their first loss of the 2000 season at the Texas Invitational, but the UW won the two schools' next two meetings. Washington holds a 5-1 all-time record against LSU.
Scouting the New Mexico State Roadrunners (0-2): Under second-year coach Lea Ann Jarvis, New Mexico State returns eight players from last year's squad which went 27-31 and 11-13 in the Big West (6th). Senior Lizette Olivares led the Big West Conference in stolen bases (24) in 2000, and also was first on her team in batting average (.302) en route to first-team all-conference honors. Last weekend, New Mexico State lost a pair of games to Texas Tech, and is scheduled to play a pair of doubleheaders versus in-state rivals, Western and Eastern New Mexico.
The Huskies hold a perfect 4-0 all-time record against the Roadrunners, recording a 5-0 victory on February 5, 1999.
Scouting the Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-0): Washington and Texas Tech will meet for the first time in the two schools' history in the second day of the Fiesta Bowl Invitational. The Red Raiders, who picked up a pair of wins over New Mexico State in 2001, are coming off a 19-34 season after reaching the NCAA regional final in 1999.
Under first-year head coach Bobby Reeves, the Red Raiders return five starters, including all-region pitcher Amanda Renfro (1.35 ERA) and second-team all-conference players outfielder Sandy Butler and catcher Shauna Briggs.
Scouting the South Carolina Gamecocks (1-1): In the first of two scheduled meetings with the Huskies, South Carolina enters the season ranked 18th in the preseason poll and split a doubleheader last week with North Carolina. Under 15th-year head coach Joyce Compton, the Gamecocks have six starters coming back from a team which went 41-28 in 2000 and advanced to the NCAA regionals for the 10th time in school history. Both starting pitchers, Megan Matthews (26-16) and Joyce McMillin (14-10), return as does leading hitter, Jodi Fittro (.307).
The UW and South Carolina have split their previous four meetings with the Huskies winning the last game, 6-0 in 1997. The Gamecocks will play Georgia Southern on February 6, before heading to Arizona.
Scouting the Georgia Bulldogs (4-0): Georgia and Washington will meet for the first time in the final day of competition at the Fiesta Bowl Invitational. Georgia, which began its program in 1997, finished 28-33 and 9-19 in the SEC last year with a notable four-game sweep of South Carolina. The Bulldogs' top hitter, Michelle Tyree (.321), returns to a team coached by former Southern Mississippi coach Lu Harris, now in her first season at Georgia.
So far in 2001, Georgia has posted a 4-0 record with doubleheader sweeps over Elon College and Appalachian State.
Scouting the Nebraska Cornhuskers (0-0): The Huskies face their third ranked team of the weekend when they play #12 Nebraska in the first of two scheduled meetings between the two schools in 2001.
Under head coach Rhonda Revelle, Nebraska finished 52-21 and won the Big 12 tournament before falling to Arizona in the regional final in 2000. The Cornhuskers will be led by All-American pitcher Leigh Ann Walker (21-6) and first baseman Jamie Fuente (.278), but will look to fill the shoes of three-time All-American Jennifer Lizama as well as school record-holder, pitcher Jenny Voss.
Washington and Nebraska have played each other five times before with the Huskies winning the last meeting, 10-2, to pull out to a 3-2 advantage in the all-time series.
Friend Or Foe: Senior Kim DePaul (Tomball, Texas) will face former high school teammate, LSU catcher Jennifer Scheulke ... freshman Shawna Norris (Littleton, Colo.) will see five of her former summer ball teammates from the Colorado Comets when the Huskies play Nebraska (Danelle Arnold, Briana Bates, Katie Decker, Nicole Trimboli) and Georgia (Nicole Urban).
The Freshmen 10: This year's UW roster includes 10 freshmen, marking the most freshmen on a Husky roster since the 1993 inaugural season. The 2001 team also includes three seniors, three juniors and three sophomores.
Far And Wide: The 2001 schedule will take the Huskies to seven different states beginning with Arizona, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, and Utah in just the first month of the season. The UW will later take trips to California and finally Oregon.
The Huskies trip to Tennessee for a mid-week doubleheader in Chattanooga will be their first to the Volunteer state. In the program's nine-year history, the team has traveled to 11 of the 50 states.
Coming Home: After playing their first 47 games away from Husky Stadium in 2000, Washington's road home will be much shorter this year. The Huskies are scheduled to play non-conference foe Texas in the first of two games on March 10. The pair of games against the Longhorns mark the earliest home games in program history with the previous coming in 1996 versus California on March 19.
Huskies On the Air Waves: The Washington softball team will have eight games broadcast live on KSRB 1150-AM in 2001. Mike Brown will handle play-by-play duties for the fourth- straight season, while John Cowley will provide color commentary.
UW is one of the few softball programs in the nation with regular-season games broadcast by a local radio station. This year's schedule begins March 10, with the first of a pair of games versus non-conference foe Texas, and includes four other Husky home games as well as two road games from Corvallis, Ore. Each game's broadcast will begin and end with a 15-minute pre- and post-game show, featuring interviews with UW players and coaches.
2001 Washington Huskies Softball
Saturday, March 10, vs. Texas, 1:45 p.m.
First Pitch Luncheon: Washington will play host to its second annual "First Pitch" luncheon, Friday, March 9, in the Don James Center at Husky Stadium. The luncheon, which honors the UW softball and baseball teams, will begin at 12:30 p.m.
Fans and supporters of the UW baseball and softball teams can mingle with players and coaches from the two teams. Husky football coach Rick Neuheisel will serve as the master of ceremonies. The cost of the event is $20 per person. For a $140 donation, a sponsor receives a table for seven, or a table for six, plus a spot for a player or coach. Reservations are due by March 5. For more information, call (206) 616-1180.
Keeping The Streak Alive: Washington will be looking to extend its streak of trips to the College World Series (CWS) to six in 2001, after qualifying in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000. In their five trips to the CWS, the Huskies have already posted the fifth-most victories with 16 to tie them with Cal State Fullerton. Only four other schools have advanced to the CWS more times, while the Huskies already have the eighth-most NCAA tournament wins with 32 in the history of the tournament.
Playing With Fire: Washington senior third baseman Kim DePaul was selected as the eighth pick overall by the Tampa Bay FireStix in the 2000 Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL) Senior Draft on December 2. DePaul, a second-round selection, was one of 24 college seniors picked by one of the league's four teams.
DePaul becomes the fourth Husky to be selected by a team in the WPSL's Senior Draft. Last season, standouts Jeanine Giordano (Tampa Bay FireStix), Jamie Graves (Akron Racers) and Jennifer Spediacci (Tampa Bay FireStix) were picked 19th, 20th and 22nd, respectively.
Attendance Figures Well for Huskies: In statistics released by the NCAA, the University of Washington was ranked second nationally in home attendance average last season with 1,497 fans per game. Fresno State was first with an average of 2,360, while Arizona ranked third with 1,330 fans per game. Fresno State, Washington and Arizona were the only schools in division I, II and III, to average over 1,000 fans per game.
The Huskies' average home attendance in 2000 also was up by 781 from 1999 (the most of any NCAA sponsored softball school), and the UW was ranked third in overall attendance, despite having only 15 home dates.
Dear Diary: Wonder what goes on behind the scenes and in the minds of Husky softball players and coaches? You will have two opportunities for the second year in a row to read a more personal account of Washington softball. Head coach Teresa Wilson will post bi-monthly diary submissions to the cnn-si.com site, while one Husky player per week will write about the team's fortunes on and off the field on the school's official site, www. gohuskies.com.
Meet Assistant Coach Drew Christmon: Drew Christmon, an assistant at the University of Kansas in 2000, has been named an assistant softball coach at the University of Washington. A native of Oklahoma City, Okla., he will serve as the team's hitting coach in addition to assisting UW head coach Teresa Wilson in all administrative aspects of the program.
Christmon most recently spent one season as an assistant under head coach Tracy Bunge at the University of Kansas. Prior to that, Christmon was the head softball coach at Gunn High School in Palo Alto, Calif., after completing a two-year stint as an assistant at Cal State Northridge. A 1999 graduate of Cal State Northridge with a degree in kinesiology, Christmon also served as an assistant softball coach at Stanford in 1996 and as an assistant for the Barry University softball team in Miami, Fla., in 1995.
Born June 8, 1972, Christmon played both football and baseball at the University of Oklahoma (1990-92), before spending four years playing baseball with the Detroit Tigers organization.
Head Coach Teresa Wilson: Teresa Wilson wasted no time in building a perennial contender for the NCAA Championship at the University of Washington. In eight years, Wilson has led the Huskies to five straight trips to the College World Series, including appearances in the championship game in 1996 and 1999. UW has earned seven straight berths in the NCAA tournament, a No. 1 ranking in the USA Today/NFCA poll, and two Pac-10 titles.
As the only head coach in Husky history, Wilson has led the Huskies to a 399-141 record, accruing an incredible .739 winning percentage. All totaled, Wilson's players have earned 19 All-America certificates, 58 mentions on all-Pac-10 squads, and 44 all-conference academic honors.
A fierce competitor, Wilson, a native of Pickering, Mo., was an All-American pitcher at the University of Missouri from 1980-83. Her 14-year career coaching record of 603-302 (.666) also includes stints at Oregon and Minnesota.
Rank Team (1st Pl. Vts.) W-L Vts LR
italics = 2001 Washington opponents
Washington in the NFCA Poll
2000 Week-By-Week Rankings
Pac-10 Preseason Poll
This Week's Opponents
UW History at the
2001 Pac-10 Standings
1. UCLA 5 0 0 1.000
Final 2000 Pac-10 Standings
1. Washington 17 4 0 .810
RECORD-BREAKING SEASON: -Washington concluded its record-breaking season tied for fifth at the College World Series. Their 62-9 mark was the best in the program's eight years, and the team broke more than 30 team or individual records during the season. The Huskies won the Pac-10 championship with a 17-4 mark, captured all six regular-season tournaments they entered, and went undefeated through the NCAA No. 1 Regional Tournament held in Seattle.
2000 National Attendance Average - Division I