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Women's Hoops

The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

February 23, 2009 at 5:12 PM

Mailbag: A look back at Washington’s “Senior Night”

Husky.jpgThanks for the info about Pac-10 schools regarding its treatment of seniors in pregame ceremonies. I can honestly say that before joining the blogosphere, I didn’t pay that close attention to the way Washington handled its seniors. I knew flowers were given and parents/family members walked on the court with the players, yet the fact that it is a tradition to give flowers to the opponent’s seniors is a classy-cool move.
But where y’all are coming from with wanting the seniors – particularly Michelle Augustavo and Heidi McNeill – to start the actual game because they’re seniors is beyond me. They are great people, seriously. Augustavo wants to be a coach and I think she’s going to be a good one considering her experience, which I hope to get into with a feature later. McNeill is warm and funny, seemingly able to relate to anyone. Still, I watch them play and see throwbacks of women’s college basketball past.
There was this one play in the second half of Sunday’s loss when Augustavo tried a pass inside to McNeill in transition and I gasped. Wrong person passing the ball to the wrong person inside. Reality check, McNeill doesn’t have handles or agility for that. And Augustavo’s aim is skewed.
I did ask coach Tia Jackson about her lineups, especially since there have been 13 this season. Yes, since the season is long lost, you do play with rotations and give players experience for the future — although Jackson said a lot of the varied combos on Sunday had to do with players being tired (not a good sign at this point in the season). But I don’t think you totally concede by starting two players who really shouldn’t be starting a Division I college basketball game. And you know what I’m talking about because McNeill has already started 12 games this season. Augustavo has started three times.
I mean, am I missing something? Don’t you play to win, always? I would. And I think that’s what Jackson meant by keeping a winner’s mentality in her players’ mind even though it’s a lost season. Plus, they had a chance to win back-to-back games for the first time since winning both exhibition matchups.
If people want to get gushy about the off-court significance of the game — that being Augustavo and McNeill’s final at Hec Ed — then get there early for the pregame program and stay for the afterparty. Once the ball is tipped, I want my best five on the court trying with the mindset of winning. Wouldn’t you?

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