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January 9, 2009 at 2:28 PM

More on Washington’s historic 77-point loss

PaperBagFan.jpgI know you want the hammer. You want me, as the commentator of this blog, to squash Washington coach Tia Jackson like a bug for the 77-point loss to No. 11 Stanford on Thursday. But I can’t. Not because I find any of it acceptable. Even when people describe it as “one of those nights.”
After reading story, after story, and even more stories regarding the defeat and talking to reporters who were at the game, I can believe that the Cardinal is vastly more talented. I knew that. The Cardinal rushed out the gate and by the time Jackson called a couple of timeouts, her Huskies were down 31-4. UW was completely outplayed and overmatched.
Yet, this game creates some serious questions. Like how a conference team that says it’s on the way up can possibly lose by 77 points. Seventy-seven points. This is Washington! The Huskies were an Elite Eight team in 2001. They defeated Minnesota in the NCAA first round in 2006 and appeared as if they may return to prominence.
And why was senior Heidi McNeill starting over junior-college transfer Lydia Young? The Huskies have never gotten off to a good start with McNeill among the opening five and the Stanford matchup was the wrong time to return to that look.
And why can’t Jackson’s team play against Stanford’s deep reserves? Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer is the ultimate in class and she only played her best players for basically a half. You’re telling me emerging players Sami Whitcomb and Laura McLellan can’t pull it together against the bench? The talent should have been a little more equal at that point and even they (Washington) didn’t play longer than the equivalent of a half.
Lastly, where’s the experience that losing to No. 1 Connecticut by a then-record 58 points gives you? Again, when the score was run up to, oh, 62-15 at halftime, I might have railed in the locker room about pride and how this team isn’t No. 1 in the country and they aren’t going to punk me like this. I wouldn’t have allowed a freshman returning from injury (Grace Mashore) debut by hitting two threes in my face.
Injuries or not, this Washington squad is showing some glaring problems.
After the Huskies’ nonconference showing, athletic director Scott Woodward said he wasn’t going to get freaked by a few losses, stating that he was going to be patient with Jackson. I think he should. A lot of what you’re seeing stems to a flawed program design under former coach June Daugherty.
Daugherty recruited a type of player — usually guards — that played really well in her system but really weren’t going to go too much further in their basketball careers than college or really make the UW a competitor in the postseason or Pac-10. A change needed to be made.
But Daugherty never suffered these kinds of embarrassing defeats.
And Jackson shouldn’t either.



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