Washington Women’s basketball is back in action this week.
Coach Tina Langley is facing a new challenge this season at the University of Washington by taking over a program that has been in the dark for years; and Langley needs to make a good on-court impression quickly.
However, the Huskies face a mixed bag of nonconference opponents that will challenge the program in multiple ways, next up:
NORTHERN ARIZONA (Nov. 14) @ 2pm
After a close win over San Diego, Washington’s second game of the regular season will come against Northern Arizona this Sunday afternoon.
Led by Coach Loree Payne, a UW WBB alum, Northern Arizona is a well-coached and experienced team with NCAA Tournament aspirations.
Last season, the NAU Lumberjacks had a 15-14 record overall.
Payne is another excellent mid-major coach that presents an interesting strategic matchup for new UW WBB head coach Tina Langley.
NAU Is coming off a close (54 – 62) loss at PAC-12 title contender Washington State.
More importantly, NAU got valuable experience running their offense against WSU’s 6″3 center Bella Murekatete who is a very active defender — although she pales in comparison to UW’s Nancy Mulkey.
NAU’s offense consistently pushed the ball in transition against WSU and succeeded setting the game pace to their liking.
However, NAU was average in transition scoring with only 1 5 points on 17 fastbreak possessions.
However, NAU is excellent at Pick & Roll (PNR) offense, as demonstrated against the PAC-12 defense of WSU — which they will quickly run if there is no fastbreak opportunity.
The Lumberjacks will run PNR at any location on the court including in the corner, attacking the lane, as well as the baseline.
NAU has an effective 1-2 offensive punch in guard (#30) Nina Radford and point guard (#2) Nyah Moran – – stopping one or both will be crucial to securing a Washington victory.
Nina Radford averages an excellent 1.083 per offensive possession (ppp), while Nyah Moran averages a very good .909 per possession (ppp).
The only other offensive player of note is big forward (#15) Khiarica Rasheed averaging .833 ppp.
For NAU to pull off the upset of UW at Hec Ed, they must neutralize the defensive effectiveness of Nancy Mulkey by pushing tempo.
However, if the Huskies effectively defend the pick-and-roll to limit NAU’s ability to find easy shots against Washington’s perimeter defense, UW WBB should be celebrating another home victory.
Expect a close game early with the Washington Huskies pulling away in the second half to secure the win.