Washington Women’s basketball is back in action on Thanksgiving.
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: VCU (No. 25) @ 12 Noon.
Washington’s fourth game of the regular season will come against VCU on Thanksgiving Day in the Bahamas.
Last season, the Rams had a 16-11 record overall, finishing 10-5 in the Atlantic 10 and ultimately winning their first ever A-10 conference tournament championship.
Led by coach Beth O’Boyle, VCU made its second-ever NCAA appearance as a No. 5 seed, losing to Final Four participant Indiana. However, VCU did beat No. 4 Rhode Island and upset the region’s top seed Dayton in the NCAA Tourney.
O’Boyle is an excellent mid-major coach and makes another interesting coaching matchup for the new Huskies head coach Tina Langley.
VCU returns 10 veteran players, including all four starters, led by All-A10 guard #1 Taya Robinson.
Last season, Robinson was VCU’s leading scorer with 14.3 points per game (as well as 6.0 rebounds per game).
Robinson is also considered an elite defensive player who will guard the Huskies’ biggest offensive threat.
Another player the Huskies must account for is VCU sophomore guard #0 Sarah Te-Biasu.
Te-Biasu was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team last season after averaging 10.8 points per game.
VCU also had two bigs transfer in that are expected to be impact players for the Rams.
#34 Mykel Parham, a 6-2 junior forward transferred from Creighton where she started 17 games last year – she is expected to be VCU’s leading rebounder this season.
Another 6-2 junior forward, #32 Keowa Walters — a strong and physical player — transferred from Buffalo where she averaged 6.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
VCU also has sophomore guard #4 Grace Hutson, former West Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year, returning from injuries this season.
The Rams are expected to make another NCAA Tournament appearance this season.
To secure a victory, the Huskies cannot afford any drop-off from the progress they showed against Louisville.
Washington’s defenders should expect better three-point shooting from VCU than what the Huskies have faced so far this season.
However, a tough perimeter defense and dominating the boards should be enough to control the game and secure a victory.