[This chart illustrates a statistical comparison between the Washington Women’s Basketball program versus the Colorado Buffaloes.]
The Washington WBB Huskies will face Colorado in the PAC-12 conference tournament on Wednesday, March 2nd at 12noon PT.
The Huskies get a rematch with the Buffaloes, a team that smacked them hard with a 43-66 loss on February 6th.
In that game, the Buffaloes feasted on the Huskies’ tendency for scoring difficulties in the third and fourth quarter by outscoring the Dawgs 43-20 in the second half.
In their next six (6) games after defeating UW, Colorado has recorded a 5-1 record to close out the PAC-12 regular season, including a current streak of four victories (over Oregon State, Oregon, USC and UCLA), while losing only to Stanford.
In their last five games, the Buffs have struggled with midrange two-pointers (21.4% shooting) and three-pointers at the top of the arc (27.1% shooting).
Meanwhile, Colorado has excelled at scoring around the basket (61.3%) in bunches (46 for 75).
Colorado is also efficient shooting corner threes (40%).
The Buffaloes are very opportunistic with their fastbreak offense — running in transition 17% of the time and averaging a very good 0.947 points per transition possession.
It will take good transition defense by Washington to limit transition opportunities after missed shots ,i.e., by always rotating back quickly.
Primarily, however, Colorado runs a halfcourt offense (82% of the time), averaging a very good 0.811 points per possession.
First Team All-PAC-12 performer Mya Hollingshed and PAC-12 Sixth Player of the Year Quay Miller (a former Husky) do the most scoring damage in the post for Colorado.
The Dawgs will need excellent post defense and could possibly sag off Colorado’s guards on the perimeter in order to prevent easy post-entry passes.
The Huskies will also need to dominate the defensive boards to limit Colorado’s offensive rebounds and second chance opportunities.
Washington (3.5 blocks per game) holds a slight shot-blocking advantage over the Buffaloes (2.9 blocks); UW’s chances at victory would really benefit from a block party by Nancy Mulkey and company at Colorado’s expense.
The good news is that Washington is shooting much better over the last five games.
The Huskies are shooting 50% (29 for 58) from above the arc (“above-break 3s”); and are shooting a fairly efficient 35.7% on corner threes.
Overall, 56.3% of the Huskies’ jumpshots are three-pointers and they are averaging an excellent 1.01 points per possession from three-point range.
Washington is led by the recent hot-shooting of Lauren Schwartz from deep, she is averaging 1.18 points per possession (63.5% of her jumpshots are three-pointers).
The Dawgs are shooting even better around the basket — 67.2% (39 for 58) on an equal number of attempts as their above break threes.
Clearly, Washington has become a more balanced inside-outside offense — although, they continue to struggle to score in the second half.
As for post offense, Nancy Mulkey posts up on 62.2% of her possessions, averaging a good 0.826 points per possession (ppp).
However, it is interesting that Haley Van Dyke (0.889 ppp) , Darcy Rees (1.111 ppp) and Trinity Oliver (an amazing 1.5 ppp) are more efficient in the post than Mulkey.
Washington should make sure to give these players post-up opportunities versus the Buffaloes.
For the Dawgs to pull off an upset victory over Colorado, Washington’s offense will need to:
(1) remain balanced (inside-outside) and efficient against the Buffaloes; while,
(2) avoiding extended scoring droughts.
As mentioned above, a high level of defensive and offensive execution will give the Huskies a great shot at advancing to the second round of the PAC-12 Tournament.