Here are some of the biggest positive takeaways from the Huskies’ disappointing last second loss to Tulane 64-62 on November 10th.
1. Missy Peterson Stepped Up Her Leadership & Revealed New Mid-Range Weapon
By far, Missy was the Huskies’ player of the game against Tulane with 15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 0 turnovers in 30 minutes on 60% shooting overall and 42.8% from three.
Peterson assumed the lead role in a game where Amber Melgoza struggled mightily.
Peterson’s ability to compete every possession on defense, while thinking the game for herself and her teammates on offense was impressive.
Missy also showed a beautiful turnaround elbow jumper that could be a dangerous weapon going forward.
Currently, Missy is the only Husky player thriving regardless of competition — shooting 75.0% on 2-pointers and 54.5% on 3-pointers over two games.
Missy is also ranked 5th nationally with an 8.0 Assist/Turnover ratio.
2. Quay Miller is a Potential Offensive Force
Quay Miller displayed why she was a highly regarded recruit by those in-the-know and underrated by those who only gave her a 4-star ranking out of high school.
In her first game (she sat out against CSUB), Quay began to establish herself as an offensive force down low — by demonstrating strength to hold an opposing big on her back; soft hands to receive the entry pass; plus nimble footwork to spin towards the basket into her shot.
Quay Miller's combo of size, strength and agility is a problem. she just needs game experience 🙌🏾
Quay seemed to have early jitters against Tulane that caused her to rush a few point-blank shots.
However, after Quay made her first field goal, she settled down into the right combination of patience and explosiveness.
Finishing with 8 points, Quay also showed off a solid handle when driving to the basket from the wing with her left-hand.
Quay demonstrated offensive versatility and made a very strong bid for increased playing time from Coach Wynn.
3. Frosh “Twin Towers” Ali Bamberger and Quay Miller Playing Together is a Thing
Ali Bamberger had her coming out party in the Huskies victory over CSUB. Quay Miller had her coming out party versus Tulane.
These two 6’3″ frosh bigs have demonstrated high basketball IQ that makes both ready for college play right now.
Bamberger and Miller are similar in the ability to hold offensive post position down low to receive the entry pass — although Bamberger’s style is more technical, while Miller is more physically punishing with defenders bouncing off of her.
Both Bamberger and Miller demonstrate nimble footwork and smart body positioning after receiving the ball and going into their offensive move.
Both Bamberger and Miller have soft hands for the catch and the shot. Bamberger is a better passer out of the post, with the ability to find open teammates even when surrounded by defenders.
Miller is a more brazen scorer inside that plays to dominate defenders regardless of size.
Quay Miller is also a threat to score from the wing by taking bigs off-the-dribble to the basket.
Thus far, with a small sample size, Ali Bamberger (1 of 2) demonstrated slightly more ability to shoot the three than Quay Miller (0 for 1), but Miller demonstrated three-point range in high school and should be equally successful.
On defense, Bamberger and Quay demonstrated against Tulane that their individual mobility works well together on the backline of a zone or zone press; and gives the Huskies the physical presence along the frontline they’ve been missing in Jody Wynn’s first two years.
4. UW Scored 36 Points in the Paint
Although 62 points is a subpar offensive performance for UW, more than half of the Huskies scoring was in the paint — 20 points of which came from layups.
Last season, the Huskies offense relied heavily on 3-point shots, attempting 404 three-pointers(3rd – PAC12) but only converted on 31.9%.
Against Tulane, the Huskies shot 30.4% from three on 7 of 23 shooting, missing multiple open threes.
Over Washington’s first two games, 53.5% of Huskies points were two-point field goals and 31.7% of Huskies points came from three-point distance.
If the Huskies can establish a consistent scoring threat in the paint, it will become more difficult for defenses to overplay the three-point line and better quality threes should result.
It will take time to establish Washington’s new offensive presence in the paint, but it will be shocking if the Bamberger-Miller “Twin Towers” lineup is not used more by Coach Wynn this season.
5. T.T. Watkins Reminded Us of Her 3-Point Shooting Ability
T.T played 25 minutes and only scored 3 points on 1-4 shooting against Tulane.
Of course, T.T. contributed her usual stellar defensive highlights by blocking two shots along the baseline, as well as grabbing 3 rebounds in 18 minutes of play.
However, a single beautiful three-point jumper by Watkins from the high wing flooded our minds with possibilities if Watkins could develop a consistent three-point shot as part of her game.
T.T. Watkins is an elite athlete that doesn’t get to use her athleticism much on offense, because when she is out on the wing defenses play off her conceding the jump shot and making it difficult to dribble-drive to the hoop.
Last season, Watkins shot 40% from three (on 6 of 15 shooting) in 20 game appearances.
The Huskies need to increase Watkins’ three-point attempts because 15 attempts in 20 games is simply not enough for a 40% shooter.
If T.T. Watkins can increase her three-point production to make approximately one three-pointer per game, it should open up driving opportunities for Watkins. Increased driving opportunities should increase her free throw opportunities (T.T. shot 80% from the free throw line last season). A win-win for the Huskies.