The Huskies hope to build on their 2-game winning streak, after beating Weber State (1-4) and Seattle U. (0-5) at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Including their first victory over CSU-Bakersfield, the 3-1 Huskies have an impressive 38.6 point margin of victory over opponents.
In Puerto Rico, the Huskies will initially face of against a struggling Iona team (1-3) on Thursday, November 28th at 9:00 AM PT.
On Friday, November 29th Washington faces off with Howard University (3-2) at 9:00 AM PT; followed by the Dawgs closing out their tournament experience against Iowa (3-1) on Saturday, November 30th at 9:00 AM PT.
Ideally, the Huskies should win all three matchups.
But if someone were to design a 3-game tournament full of “trap games” the Huskies schedule may be it.
The Huskies are about to face a gauntet of opponents that will test their defensive prowess.
Two of the three scheduled opponents will emphasize three-point scoring. As a result, Washington’s ability to defend and discourage three-point opportunities will be thoroughly tested in Puerto Rico.
Washington’s progress towards preparing for upcoming PAC-12 opponents probably requires that, at a minimum, the Huskies win two of three tournament games.
Multiple losses would put massive pressure on the Huskies for a strong finish to the nonconference schedule before PAC-12 competition begins on Sunday, December 29th at Washington State (2:00 PM PT).
Our preview of the Huskies opponents in Puerto Rico starts with Iona.
IONA GAELS (1-3 MAAC) On paper, Washington is far superior in almost every offensive category with a glaring exception — Iona ranks 4th in the nation with a 44.1% 3-Point rate; meanwhile the Huskies defense is allowing opponents a 3-point rate of 29% which ranks them 187th. (per HerHoopStats)
A 15% difference in three-point shot production between offense versus defense is substantial and it is a sure sign that the Huskies defense must emphasize denying Iona three-point shot opportunities.
Indeed, Iona ranks 13th nationally in generating 40.2% of its points from beyond the three-point line; meanwhile the Huskies defense allows opponents to generate 30% of their offense from three-point territory, ranking 218th nationally. (per HerHoopStats)
Iona’s #14 Morgan Rachu is their best shooter*, so the Huskies defense will need to keep track of her on the court.
Iona’s offense is at its best when using player movement to score points, i.e., cuts and coming off screens.*
In fact, there is only one player, #22 Juana Camilion, that is above average in transition.*
Although Washington is the far superior team on paper, it is going to take a strong defensive effort from the Dawgs to prevent an Iona upset. If the Huskies are not locked in, they will get a rude awakening.
UPDATE: The Huskies defeated Iona 65 – 34.
[NEXT UP: Preview of the Huskies Second Game versus Howard University]