Washington could make its home debut on Friday without G Jazmine Davis and F Talia Walton, the top two scorers from the 2012-13 season. Walton has been out due to an injured right pinky while Davis suffered a concussion in the second half of a loss at Saint Mary’s last week.
Walton underwent surgery in October and had stitches removed on Wednesday, returning to practice. But she only participated in non-contact drills and is a game-time decision for UW’s game against Portland (1-1) at Alaska Airlines Arena. A redshirt sophomore, Walton averaged 13.6 points in an averaged 32.3 minutes for the Huskies last season.
Davis suffered a concussion after an accidental blow to the head. The Huskies led by 10 points when she suffered the injury with 8:01 remaining in the game. First-year coach Mike Neighbors said Davis had “that look that she was about to take over the game” before the injury. She finished with 23 points but the young team, already experiencing foul trouble, crumbled without her leadership.
“We didn’t have enough time to adjust to not having Jaz and they (SMC) saw it and seized the opportunity,” Neighbors said.
The Gaels used a 13-3 run over the next three minutes to tie the score at 76-76, according to team reports. SMC took the lead at the 4:56 mark. The Gaels made 20-of-25 field goals in the second half and grabbed 11 offensive rebounds for a 53-point onslaught that turned a 10-point Husky lead to the eventual 91-81 loss.
SMC senior Jackie Nared finished with 37 points on 14-of-19 shooting, playing all 40 minutes.
There’s extra precaution with Davis’ injury because this is her second within the calendar year. A junior, she suffered a concussion in a win at Washington State in January and missed the team’s two home games against the Oregon schools.
“It’s not a cumulative effect,” Neighbors said of the two head injuries. “We’ll see how she does with tests. Jaz was at least able to be at practice and the light isn’t bothering her. We’ll plan for the worst and hope for the best.”
Freshman C Chantel Osahor remains out with a shoulder injury.
Like last season, the injuries create some interesting lineups. Sophomore G Heather Corral, who’s 6-foot-1, played center against SMC. She’ll start at her normal position on the perimeter if Davis is unable to play. Redshirt freshman post Katie Collier was already moved into the starting lineup to replace Walton.
UW’s home-opener is odd, too, due to the noon tip. The game was originally slated for Friday night but was moved due to UW’s third-ranked volleyball team hosting fourth-ranked USC at 6pm on the Pac-12 Networks. Neighbors said he didn’t try to maneuver a different date. Portland plays at Montana (1-0) on Monday.
The Huskies (0-1) return to normalcy when its hosts Seattle U (0-2) at home on Tuesday at 7pm.
“The kids are fine, they’re used to being up and around and active at that time of day,” Neighbors said of Friday’s matinee. “But obviously it makes it harder for people who work, I get that. And it’s hard for me because I’m not ready to go at noon, either. My caffeine is just kicking in…One thing I can tell you about our fan base, whoever shows up, they’re in to it. But I hope (the crowd) is more than everybody anticipates.”