Washington State blew out the Huskies in a disappointing home loss.
Despite the final score, 60 – 52, this game was over in the first half.
Washington had a 4-0 lead with 7:52 left in the first quarter.
With 6:28 remaining, Washington State grabbed the lead, 5-4, and led for the remainder of the game.
Everything that went wrong in the first half needs to be fixed.
1. What Happened in Vegas, Didn’t Stay in Vegas
The Washington Huskies apparently never recovered from their 83 – 50 loss to Stanford in Las Vegas.
The Huskies showed signs of life in the first few minutes of the first quarter and then went flat as soon as Washington State grabbed the lead of 5-4.
Inexplicably, Washington only managed to score two more points against WSU (52) than they did against #1-ranked Stanford (50).
Objectively, it is hard to determine if the Huskies played worse in losing by eight (8) points to Washington State than they played against Stanford — in a 33-point loss.
Against WSU, Washington had 16 turnovers (against Stanford they had 15 turnovers); while also shooting 16.7% from three-point range (21.4% versus Stanford); and shooting 33.3% overall (29% versus Stanford).
Washington averaged only 0.64 points per possession (ppp) versus Washington State (compared to 0.60 ppp against Stanford).
2. WSU Figured Out Sadler, What Do They Know?
Tameiya Sadler had six (6) turnovers and three (3) assists.
Washington should be concerned that the relatively unathletic WSU players were able to cause this many Sadler mistakes.
Did they scout Sadler and figure something out?
If so, the Huskies need Sadler to make an adjustment or expect the rest of the PAC-12 to figure it out too.
3. Huskies Forgot Early Transition Offense?
After establishing an offensive identity as a fast-paced offense in their first four games, the Huskies became a half-court team against Washington State.
For the game, the Huskies only managed ten (10) points from their transition offense, their second lowest fastbreak point total of the season (7 versus Stanford).
Washington was 0 for 1 in transition three-pointer attempts and 83.3% from two-point range in transition.
In the first quarter, the Huskies had only one fastbreak shot attempt — which was a missed shot by Tameiya Sadler.
Meanwhile, in the first quarter, WSU scored seven (7) points in transition against the Dawgs.
Overall, Washington State scored 19 points in the first quarter and finished the first with an 11-point lead over the Huskies, by the score of 19-8.
In the second quarter, Washington had zero transition shot attempts (for zero points), however, Washington State scored nine (9) points in transition.
Overall, WSU scored 18 points in the second quarter to build a 21-point halftime lead over the Huskies, 37-16.
4. Huskies Forgot to Shoot Three-Pointers?
Likewise, the Huskies’ offensive identity of prolific three-point shooting was abandoned against WSU, as the Huskies attempted only six three-pointers in the first half.
In the first quarter against WSU, Washington attempted two (2) three-pointers and missed both attempts. And in the second quarter, the Huskies attempted, and missed, four (4) three-pointers.
By comparison, against Stanford, the Huskies attempted fourteen (14) three-pointers in the first half.
in the first half versus California, the Dawgs shot fifteen (15) three-point attempts.
In the first half against BYU, Washington attempted eighteen (18) first half three-pointers.
And in their first game of the season, against San Diego State, the Huskies shot fourteen (14) first-half threes.
Clearly Washington’s three-point shooting pulled a disappearing act, why this occurred is a question that needs to be answered before PAC-12 play resumes.
5. Washington State Drew Two Fouls from Quay Miller Early and Took Advantage
For the game, Quay Miller played 11 minutes (1 rebound, 1 assist, zero points).
Miller was subbed in and out of the the game because of fouls from the second quarter through the fourth quarter.
However, the Huskies were falling further and further behind without Miller in the game.
Washington was losing by 13 points, 58 – 45, with 3:13 left in the fourth quarter, when Miller was subbed in the game. The Huskies then went on a 7 -2 run to end the game down by eight points.
However, because the Huskies have only two bigs (Darcy Rees and Miller) their PAC-12 opponents are sophisticated enough to target Quay Miller early in the game to draw fouls, if the payoff is an early benching.
If early fouls leads to eleven (11) minutes of playing time for Miller, then expect the rest of the PAC-12 to attack her early in order to draw fouls and remove her from the game.
Benching a player for early foul trouble is pretty standard in coaching, however, it’s likely the Huskies can’t afford to play Quay Miller 11 minutes and still win a PAC-12 game.