Here’s a quick overview of the Huskies (57 – 51) victory over the San Diego Toreros.
Of course, the number one priority is to win the game and that’s what these new Washington Huskies did.
As we predicted in our game preview this was a very close game that tested and pushed UW to their limits in their first game of the season.
As we expected, the Huskies defense, particularly their perimeter defense, was how they won this game.
The Huskies defense had a notable third quarter in which they held the San Diego Toreros to five (5) points and forced six (6) turnovers, pulling ahead 46 – 30 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Huskies had 14 steals overall led by Lauren Schwarz with 5(!), both Haley Van Dyke and Alexis Griggsby with three steals each, and one steal a piece by Missy Peterson, Jayda Noble and Nancy Mulkey.
More notable defense, Mulkey had 5 blocks(!) along with a block by Alexis Whitfield for a team total of six blocks.
Finally, the Huskies held the normally hot shooting Toreros to 21.7% shooting from the 3-point line (28.1% overall).
Meanwhile, on offense, the Huskies shot 44.9% from the field overall.
1) Turnovers. Turnovers. Turnovers.
The Huskies turnover bug may have followed them from the Wynn era, as the Dawgs recorded 34 turnovers(!) for the game.
The Huskies doubled last season’s 17 turnovers per game average.
Washington also surpassed last season’s game high of 23 turnovers (vs UCLA).
There were multiple instances of UW ballhandlers being run down from behind by San Diego defenders with no warning from Huskies teammates.
There was also some obvious difficulty in making a proper post entry pass to the 6’9″ Mulkey.
2) The Huskies press break was bad, very bad. Not sure what they were trying to do but UW definitely was not passing the ball enough against the press, instead dribbling into pressure first before trying to pass.
That didn’t work out well.
Ultimately, the Huskies never effectively used the tallest player on the court, 6’9″ Nancy Mulkey, to act as a big target against the press whom they could throw the ball ahead to — preferably at or near the top of the key.
Thankfully, these are all fixable problems. With a day of practice, the Huskies should show great improvement in both areas in their next game.
OVERALL IMPRESSIONS: The Huskies generally made a good impression in winning a tough game.
It’s clear this team is very deep with talent. The only super frosh that saw any time was Olivia Pollerd (2 minutes).
Otherwise, Coach Mulkey wisely went with her experienced veterans the entire game — starting senior Mulkey (32 minutes, 6 points, 5 blocks, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and one steal); senior Peterson(31 minutes, 13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and one steal); senior Van Dyke(31 minutes, 12 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists); senior Griggsby(28 minutes, 4 points, 3 steals and 3 rebounds); and ex-Rice star Schwartz (30 minutes).
T.T. Watkins also contributed 20 impactful minutes with 7 points and 3 rebounds.
The only other significant time went to Alexis Whitfield (14 minutes, 2 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block) and Jayda Noble (10 minutes, 4 points, 2 rebounds and 1 steal).
I’d expect more players to see the court against Northern Arizona on Sunday, November 14th.
However, the game against NAU is a potential “trap” game, so the Huskies will need to improve with a better and more consistent performance.