Looking back at UW Women’s disappointing loss to Hawaii, in retrospect, it is still just as ugly almost a week later.
The Washington Huskies entered the contest riding high upon a five-game winning streak; and 3-0 sweep of the Puerto Rico Clasico.
Then the Huskies played an unfathomable dud of a game against the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine resulting in an ignominious defeat that offset their recent progress.
Running Through the 206 with Shooting Woes
The game began with Hawaii smacking UW with two layups, one 3-pointer, and a two-point jumper to lead the Huskies 9-0 within the first two minutes of the game.
The Huskies subpar effort forced Coach Wynn to pull her entire starting five (Mai-Loni Henson, Missy Peterson, Amber Melgoza, Haley Van Dyke and Darcy Rees) from the game with 7:40 to go in the first quarter.
Washington led just once the entire game after starting the second quarter with a 10-0 run to lead by one point, a lead that lasted a mere 22 seconds.
The Huskies’ shooting misfired the entire game.
UW shot 11.8% overall in the first quarter; 27.3% overall in the second quarter; 19.0% overall in the thid quarter; and 29.2% in the fourth quarter.
For the game, the Huskies made only 18 shots out of 84(!) attempts overall (22.6%); and Washington tallied a season-low 8 assists — their only single digit assists total of the season.
Meanwhile, the Huskies shot 13.8% from beyond the three-point line (4-29); and 57.1% from the free throw line.
Digging a hole to begin the game seemingly gave Hawaii a mental edge the rest of the game.
From the sidelines, it was apparent the Rainbow Wahine were enjoying the game, smiling and encouraging each other throughout.
On the other hand, the Huskies looked more and more frustrated as the game continued; as each player seemed to be in their own heads instead of pulling together to solve their on-court problems.
Poor Shooting is No Defense
Despite the monumentally bad shooting performance, the lack of offense was not the main reason for the Huskies loss.
Although the Washington staff coached with urgency throughout the game, the UW players seemed like their minds were still in Puerto Rico.
Despite their 13 steals and 22 forced turnovers, the Huskies poor defensive effort was mirrored in Hawaii’s shooting success.
Against the Huskies, the normally poor shooting Hawaii Rainbow Wahine shot 40.0% in the 1st quarter; 21.4% in the second quarter; 54.5% in the 3rd quarter; and 45.5% in the 4th quarter.
By comparison, a few days before facing the Huskies, Hawaii lost 64-32 at Oregon State.
Against Oregon State, Hawaii shot 33.33 % in the first quarter; 23.08 % in the second quarter; 11.11 % in the third; and 30.77 %; as a benchmark comparison that does not bode well for the 2019-20 version of the Huskies.
Any careful observer noticed that the Huskies waited until the 4th quarter to play with any sense of urgency and purpose; it was as if the 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarter were less important.
Washington should have been motivated by their own shooting woes to shutdown Hawaii’s offense completely with a great defensive effort; instead it seemed UW was content to try and shoot their way out of their slump.
Unfortunately, the Huskies showed that they have yet to embrace the fact that they must win games with great defense, not their offense.
And it is impossible to play great defense without great effort.
It seems that these Huskies players take their Top 10 national ranking in forced turnovers and steals for granted; however, if current trends continue, they will not be there for much longer once PAC-12 play begins.
At a minimum, winning in the PAC-12 requires consistency of effort and precise execution of purpose.
Washington’s nonconference slate is drawing to a close and there should be a sense of urgency to establish winning habits before PAC-12 play begins.