Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Prospect Watch

I went out and caught the showdown between Meadowdale and Jackson and Eryn Jones and Kristi Kingma.

One word on Kristi Kingma, WOW!

Her oft-mentioned pull-up is pretty (and she'll pull up on a dime). She hit a couple defenders with a crossover that left them grasping at air. She showed off a decent outside shot. The thing that impressed me most was her quickness. Early in the game she picked off a pass and in the blink of an eye was off to the races for lay-in. Give the kid a hint of daylight and she'll take it to the basket and either finish, get fouled, or drop the pull-up on you.

The other thing that was pretty impressive was that despite scoring 32 points she wasn't playing a me-first game. On numerous occasions she drove in and a soon as she felt the double team coming quickly found the open team-mate for an easy lay-in.

Kristi also showed some great court vision by hitting a team-mate with a length of the court pass for easy deuces on the break.

With Lay and Williams and the now Fab 5 (Argens, Bennett, McCormack, Morton & Redmon) instead of Super6 plus Mo, Sami, Laura, Heidi, Michelle and Dom, things are looking quite good for the 08-09 Huskies.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thoughts on Exhibition 2 (SPU)

First off, congratulations to Seattle Pacific.

Man, the Daugherty's were sure right about Jackie Hollands. Kid can't play at a high level at all. I understand the back log of guards but the Huskies haven't had a shooter on the roster of Jackie's caliber the last 3 years. A good coach finds a way to get her involved. Particularly since she can play defense. With apologies to Angie and Cheri, she'd have done more for the team than they did the last 3 seasons.

A boatload of freshman mistakes and turnovers cost the UW this ballgame.

Let's not forget that the Huskies weren't at full strength with Plouffe, McClellan, Mosiman and Morton on the bench. They should all be back at some point soon.

You could tell Michelle's wrist was impacting her shot.

Mackenzie had some great moves on the block and just couldn't get the shots to fall.

Sami had some great moments and will be a huge part of the Huskies offense this year.

Katelan also had some nice moments.

Jess looked a lot more settled and showed the promise that made her the headliner of the recruiting class.

Heidi had her second straight solid game.

Kali had a good showing as well.

Em was hampered by foul trouble, and in particular her second foul was very suspect. Man that kid's incredible though, stopping a 3 on 1 and turning it in to a 3 point play, absolutely unreal.

Next up is K-State and to have a chance in this one the Dawgs have to take care of the basketball.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Exhibition 1 (Love & Basketball)

Another year, more unbelievably bad officials.

Outside of that, what a day for Heidi McNeill, 14 points and 17 rebounds. She showed the talent that was always there and it is evident that all she needed was a coach to spend time with her working on her game.

What a different kind of team this is going to be, we've got BIGs. Jess had a tough game and it will take her a bit to adjust to the American game but she can move and knows how to use her size.

The offense had some rough patches but the defense was pretty solid.

Sami Whitcomb may end up leading the team in scoring with her ability to penetrate and hit from the outside.

We've got another floater in Katelan Redmon. What I mean by that is that she showed the ability to stay in the air a little like Jill Bell did on her jump shots.

I like having bigs like Bennett, McNeill and Argens that can hit from the outside, as long as their primary focus is their inside game.

I was impressed with Mackenzie Argens hustle, mobility and skillset on the block. She's gonna be a big part of the Huskies sucess this year.

I really, really, really liked seeing the Huskies get the ball inside. On one sequence I saw Emily and Mackenzie pass it back and forth a couple of times either establishing an inside opportunity or an open look from the outside.

Candice Nichols has great athleticism and she reminds me of Dominique Banks in some respects, including teetering on the edge of being out of control like Dom was early in her career.

If Kali Bennett gets into the condition that Coach Jackson seems to be looking for from her players, look out.

I was also very happy to see Tia being very vocal and actively instructing the team on what she wanted. I didn't see a lot of that from June Daugherty the last few years.

I also want us to get healthy and soon, K-State is only a week away and we need a few more bodies to go into Manhattan and come out with a win.

Monday, October 22, 2007

2007-2008 Huskies Season Preview

Hello all and welcome to the new site, for some reason blogspot won't let me log in to the old one.

Without further ado, here's the outlook on the season ahead.

at Kansas State W (1-0, 0-0)
K-State is on the rise again but something tell's me the Huskies experience namely Florence, Banks and Plouffe will make a big impact in this one. Look out for Jessica McCormack with a statement game here. I will say that of the non-conference games this is the most likely loss.

at Gonzaga (2-0, 0-0)
Another team on the rise, but the Kennel is not the House of Pain for visitor's of the GU women as it is for their men's team. I just don't see the Bulldogs having the athletes to keep up with the Dawgs, particularly down low.

at Hawaii W (3-0, 0-0)
The quick start continues in the islands, the Huskies won't be distracted by the sand and sun and will take care of the Warriors handily.

vs Northern Arizona at Hawaii W (4-0, 0-0)
A lesser conference opponent with inferior talent? Not a chance for anything but a big win for the Huskies.

vs UC Davis at Hawaii W (5-0, 0-0)
see above

vs Idaho W (6-0, 0-0)
Back home for the home debut and a big win over the Vandals.

vs Weber State/Arkansas State W (7-0, 0-0)
Yawn, another minor conference opponent and another Husky Classic championship.

vs UC Irvine W (8-0,0-0)
Once again, not enough talent for the opposition to pose a threat.

vs Pepperdine W (9-0, 0-0)
The WCC's a decent league if you're just looking at Gonzaga, outside of that there's not much there.

at Boise State W (10-0, 0-0)
In a game that should have happened sometime in the last 4 years if the former regime had any honor at all. At least one of Boise's own gets to play in her neck of the woods. The Boise Buzzsaw aka Taz leads the Huskies to a win in her hometown.

vs Ohio State W (11-0, 0-0)
This is the biggest non-conference test for the Huskies, but something tells me that the loss of Jessica Davenport and the Storm's own Brandie Hoskins will have a big effect on this game. That and the game is in Seattle not Columbus. The Buckeye's brought in a bunch of talent but so did the Huskies. Look for an epic battle between Jess McCormack and the highly regarded Jantel Lavender. It will be a hard fought game but something tells me the Huskies pull this one out.

vs Purdue W (12-0, 0-0)
Purdue's losses from last year are huge both to graduation (the Storm's Katie Gearlds, and Erin Lawless) and to injury (Lindsay Wysdom-Hilton). There's still some talent but there's more turmoil in Boilermaker land. The non-conference slate ends with the Huskies unbeaten, at worst 10-2.

at Cal L (12-1, 0-1)
With the return of Alexis Gray-Lawson, Cal gets their playmaker in the backcourt back. The frontcourt of Hampton and Walker is the best in the Pac-1o. Add in a payback factor for the Huskies incredible comeback win in Berkely last year, and the Golden Bears will hand the Huskies their first loss of the season.

at Stanford L (12-2, 0-2)
Stanford is Stanford, and Maples is Maples. It won't be ugly like some previous trips but it will be a loss. Watch the battle between Appel/Pedersen and McCormack/Bennett.

at Washington State W (13-2, 1-2)
She who must not be named is in for a rough year on the Palouse where the Cougar women do nothing but Pa-lose. Minus their best player in Kate Benz and their biggest outside threat in Amanda DuRocher the Cougs have absolutely nothing in the cupboard. Coupled with the fact that half the Husky roster knows exactly what the Cougars will be doing on every trip down the floor (because let's face it, our former coachers aren't known for innovation or creativity) and it all adds up to a likely rout.

vs UCLA W (14-2, 2-2)
The Bruins brought in some talent, but they still are coached by Kathy Olivier who managed to do nothing with 3 WNBA 1st rounders on her roster. The Bruins are big, but so are the Huskies (finally). Regina Rogers will be gassed halfway thru the first half and the Huskies aren't likely to stop running.

vs USC W (15-2, 3-2)
If the Trojans could ever stay healthy (sound familiar?), they'd be scary. Camille LeNoir is back and so is Brynn Cameron and they're joined by a solid frontcourt but I don't see them having an overwhelming edge over the Huskies talent-wise. This one's in Seattle and I think the home-court makes the difference in a close game.

at Oregon State W (16-2, 4-2)
Perhaps no team in the conference loses as much as the Beavers who lose their leading scorer in Casey Nash, and their best rebounder in Judy Lomax. LaVonda Wagner is a top-notch coach and she'll do wonders for Oregon State but a win against the Huskies isn't in the cards this year.

at Oregon W (17-2, 5-2)
Mac Court has not been kind to the Huskies and the Ducks bring in some size but the Huskies youngsters are of a higher caliber and that makes the difference in this one.

vs. Arizona State W (18-2, 6-2)
The Sun Devils have had the Huskies number lately and for the first time they actually have legitimate size. That said, Dosty couldn't cut it at Tennessee and the Huskies have already handled the transfer from Minnesota. Kirsten Thompson does not equal Lauren Jackson who didn't score on Jessica McCormack at the Commonwealth Games when McCormack was only 16. By this time McCormack's campaign for freshman of the year will be rolling and in combination with the UW's experience in the backcourt mean a Husky victory over ASU for the 1st time in a couple of years.

vs Arizona W (19-2, 7-2)
Ever since the tragic death of Shawntinice Polk, Arizona has been in a downward spiral. The transfers of O'Neal and Burns along with the graduation of Hollingsworth leave the Wildcats with nothing in the backcourt outside of Ashley Whisonant. A big Husky win is in the offing in this one.

vs Washington State W (20-2, 8-2)
The Hooligans are really, really, really looking forward to this one as it will punch the ticket to the big dance with win #20 and it will be an absolute demolition of the Cougars. Will we boo the WSU coaches? Probably not, because as the PTH Alumni Adviser said they're the perfect coaches for the Cougars, if you're a Husky fan.

at USC L (20-3, 8-3)
They're riddled with injuries but the Women of Troy are talented enough to beat the Huskies on their home court.

at UCLA W (21-3, 9-3)
Again the Bruins have size but the athleticism of the Huskies bigs is on a different level than the Bruins. I see a win in Westwood for the Huskies.

vs. Oregon W (22-3, 10-3)
Back to back games in which the athleticism of the Huskies particularly in the post point to a big victory for Washington.

vs Oregon State W (23-3, 11-3)
Here again the Huskies have a tremendous advantage athletically over their oppenent and it translates into a big Husky win.

at Arizona W (24-3, 12-3)
Once again, this Hooligan will likely be making the trip to the desert to see the Huskies put the hammer to the Wildcats.

at Arizona State L (24-4, 12-4)
Last year what happened in Wells Fargo Arena was a tremendously well played basketball game by both teams. More of the same in store this year but the home court advantage at ASU (which is significant) makes the difference in this contest.

vs Stanford W (25-4, 13-4)
As the difference in Palo Alto will be Maples, so will Hec-Ed will be the difference in this one. A monumental win for the Huskies and Tia Jackson. The other swing in this contest comes from McCormack and Bennett getting the better of Appel and Pedersen et al.

vs Cal W (26-4, 14-4)
The season concludes with another battle of the bigs that the Huskies get the better of on their home court.

The Pride of the West will be exactly that this season. I could be wrong but I think the combination of young talent, a young, energetic coach with a sprinkling of upper classmen leadership and the Huskies are in store for a special season.

I acknowledge that I said much the same thing last year, but this is a new era in Husky Basketball and while the top of the conference is much stronger, the rest isn't as dangerous.

Here's my prediction for the Pac-10 final standings with all teams overall and conference marks

1. Stanford (24-5, 16-2)
2. Cal (23-5, 15-3)
3. Washington (26-4, 14-4)
4. Arizona State (23-8, 14-4)
5. USC (20-9, 10-8)
6. UCLA (18-11, 9-9)
7. Oregon (10-19, 4-14)
8. Oregon State (15-14, 4-14)
9. Arizona (8-20, 4-14)
10. Washington State (5-24, 0-18)

Pac-10 Tourney
Winners in Bold
#7 Oregon vs. #10 Washington State
#8 Oregon State vs. #9 Arizona

#1 Stanford vs. #7 Oregon
#2 California vs. #8 Oregon State
#3 Washington vs. #6 UCLA
#4 Arizona State vs. #5 USC

#2 California vs #3 Washington
#1 Stanford vs #4 Arizona State

#2 California vs #1 Stanford

Post-Season Predictions

Stanford - Elite Eight
California - Final Four
Washington - Sweet Sixteen
Arizona State - Sweet Sixteen
USC - Round of 32
UCLA - Round of 32


Player of the Year - Candice Wiggins (Stanford)
Fresham of the Year - Jessica McCormack (Washington)
Most Improved Player - Dominique Banks (Washington)
Defensive Player of the Year - Emily Florence (Washington)
Coach of the Year - Tia Jackson (Washington)

1st Team All Pac-10
Candice Wiggins - Stanford
Briann January - ASU
Ashley Walker - California
Jayne Appel - Stanford
Devanei Hampton - California

2nd Team All Pac-10
Emily Florence - Washington
Alexis Gray-Lawson - California
Jillian Harmon - Stanford
Lindsay Pluimer - UCLA
Jessica McCormack - Washington

3rd Team All Pac-10
JJ Hones - Stanford
Jill Noe - ASU
Kayla Pedersen - Stanford
Christina Nzekwe - UCLA
Ashley Cimino - Stanford

Honorable Mention
Ashley Whisonant (UA), Dymond Simon (ASU), Danielle Orsillo (ASU), Sybil Dosty (ASU), Natasha Vital (Cal), Taylor Lilley (UO), Kaela Chapdelaine (UO), Mercedes Fox-Griffin (OSU), Stacey Nichols (OSU), Michelle Harrison (Stanford), Sissy Pierce (Stanford), Regina Rogers (UCLA), Camille Lenoir (USC), Aarika Hughes (USC), Morghan Medlock (USC), Dominique Banks (Washington), Andrea Plouffe (Washington)