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

December 9, 2009 at 6:39 PM

Game thread: Washington at Seattle University

HUSKIES WIN: Seattle U. played some questionable defense down the stretch, eliminating their chances to win. But UW is versed in the close game and finally clicked that they’re the physically better team. McLellan had a key block against Heck and Sarah Morton made two free throws to seal a 58-53 win. Brown was the game-high leader with 19 points, attempting 14 three-pointers. Argens, who scored all of her points in the opening half, led UW with 10 and Kingma added nine – all in the second half. UW (4-4) won the rebounding battle 39-27 and calmed its turnovers to 15. The Huskies, however, still need work on breaking the zone. They’re weak at it against schools with borderline DI-DII players. Imagine if Stanford or even Oregon State decides to sit in it for an entire game? Well, the Huskies have plenty of time to practice. They continue their seven-game road stint against No. 21 Michigan State and Western Michigan next week. Since the school is on break, injured senior Lydia Young will be able to travel with the team to her native state. SU, which should again be proud of its effort tonight, is back at Connolly Center on Monday and Tuesday for games against Saint Mary’s and Evergreen State. The Redhawks are looking to improve their 2-9 record.
KING ME: Kingma nailed two three-pointers and despite her only attempting four FGs tonight, the baskets have helped UW take control of the game. The Huskies lead 54-48 with 3:02 remaining. It’s their largest lead of the matchup.
BREAKTHROUGH?: Whatever Whitcomb was screaming at Rogers about on the bench worked. The duo connected twice, once a blind pass by Rogers, to put UW ahead 46-40 with 9:32 remaining in the game. For a short stretch, Washington looked like the dominant team expected. SU called a timeout, so we’ll see if it sticks.
HEATED: There’s a lot of discussion happening on the UW bench. The Huskies are having some breakdowns and SU is starting to believe they can win. Why not? They’re only down 39-38 with 11:06 remaining.
HALFTIME: It’s intense in Connolly and I’m not even cheering for anyone. SU always plays hard and tonight is no different. The Huskies’ defense has forced them to work the shot clock down to the buzzer twice, but the Redhawks found ways to score. The last a short jumper by Murrillo with 1:17 on the clock to tie the game. McLellan’s tipin with 10.3 seconds remaining gave the Huskies a 29-27 lead at the break, but it shouldn’t be this close. UW is having trouble against the zone and not using their size advantage. Rogers is 0-for-3 from the field because UW can’t get the ball inside and she attempted a shot out of her range. Argens is playing a textbook game inside and has a career-high 10 points on 5-for-8 shooting. For SU, Murillo made her first shot and she’s hot from the field. She made all three three-point attempts for 13 points. The Redhawks just need to more a little quicker in their offense and keep the defensive intensity.
ARGH!: Argens has been coming along this season, her first fully back from a right knee injury. She’s out of the brace and said she’s finally feeling like the player she was when entering UW out of Roosevelt High. Back-to-back buckets by the post has UW up 24-22, but the threes by Brown continue to keep SU close.
TREY ZONE: SU is hitting the three (4 of 8) and playing a good zone defense that UW is having trouble breaking to make this interesting. A trey by Murillo with 8:45 remaining in the half gave the Redhawks a 17-15 lead and forced Jackson to call time.
PLAYER DOWN: In transition, Whitcomb and freshman C Carley Butcher crumbled to the ourt and Butcher needed help getting up. She’s already recovering from a knee injury and wearing a brace. Huskies are up 11-8 with 12:38 left in the first half.
ROCKY START: Lots of bad misses and awkward moments to open the game. Two three-pointers by Brown made the score 8-6 SU with 14:09 remaining in the opening half.
STAT FACT: Washington is 11-3 against Seattle U all-time and just because Bonvicini is new to SU, that’s doesn’t mean she isn’t familiar with Huskies coach Tia Jackson. Hired in 2007, Jackson is 4-0 against Bonvicini’s former Arizona teams. Bonvicini was fired in March 2008.
HEY GIRL: They’re no pregame serenade, but former UW players Kristen O’Neill and Michelle Augustavo should receive a warm reception. They work for the opposition, O’Neill as an assistant and Agustavo as a department intern. But once a Husky…
If anything depicts the possibility of women’s basketball in the city, it’s tonight’s game between Washington and Seattle University. True, the Huskies and Redhawks played last year at Edmundson Pavilion, but tonight is the first with both officially being Division-I schools.
SU assistant coach Joy Hollingsworth, a native, likes to tell a story about how she attended a Redhawks camp as a youth and how it impacted her game — going on to play college hoops at Arizona. UW and SU used to play each other regularly in 1980s and when you have that, you have young women thinking about athletics as a possibility. Picking a side on the playground courts and dreaming. It only increases the already solid development on the AAU level in the area.
Add the WNBA Storm, and what the Sonics had — that boomed into more than a dozen local men playing in the NBA — could happen for the women.
Of course you have to start somewhere and tonight’s matchup isn’t exactly stellar. Washington is better than its 3-4 record and could be 6-1 if it weren’t for tacky late breakdowns. It’s nowhere near the talent of Gonzaga, but you’d expect them to handle the likes of Sacramento State and Portland State no matter how those teams performed last year.
Washington has been hit by injuries. F Liz Lay, a top recruit, is out with knee tendinitis, and G Sara Mosiman is out with shin splints. But there should be enough talent developed to fill the gaps.
Meanwhile SU (2-8) won 20 games last season, but with a totally different schedule, under a different coach, and with star transfer Breanna Salley pouring in the points. Salley, Elle Kerfoot, and Mercedes Alexander were suspended as part of a self-reported NCAA violation.
SU applied for their reinstatement and first-year coach Joan Bonvicini said a ruling could be made as early as Friday.
She’s struggled to get the team acclimated to her system, but likes the way the team is improving daily. Yet, they aren’t where she wants them, which is on the level of her former Arizona teams.
Tonight will be entertaining regardless. The crowd is expected to hyped, filling the Connolly Center with purple and plenty of red. The Storm even jumped into promotions, telling their season-ticket holders to attend and have a chance to talk with CEO Karen Bryant and co-owner Lisa Brummel.
Bryant played at UW while Brummel developed a friendship with Bonvicini and bought season tickets for the Redhawks. See, the rivalry is already stretching its tentacles.
Here’s your starting lineups.
F Sami Whitcomb
F Mackenzie Argens
C Regina Rogers
G Sarah Morton
G Kristi Kingma
F Ashley Brown
F Maggie McCarthy
C Tatiana Heck
G Cassidy Murillo
G Kourtney Parks
Tonight’s officials are Karen Lasuik, Taryn Reynolds, Jim Morrell.



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