The exciting news of a transfer commitment from homegrown star 6’3″ Dalayah Daniels, as well as, the addition of versatile 6’3″ Emma Grothaus to Washington’s roster, should have Huskies WBB fans celebrating.
The Huskies have significantly addressed their most glaring frontcourt need after the loss of 6’9″ Nancy Mulkey and 6’2″ Alexis Whitfield (transfer portal).
Dalayah Daniels is a 6’3″ multi-skilled thoroughbred that is a mismatch for 99% of opposing bigs, in part, because of her hybrid ability to thrive equally in an uptempo offense and halfcourt offense.
Dalayah Daniels has two years of eligibility remaining; and it will be Langley’s responsibility to maximize her opportunity and performance for two successful seasons with Daniels.
A step in the right direction would be to add some talent to the guard core, particularly, a guard possessing the ability to get Daniels the ball while taking defensive pressure away from her with their own offensive ability.
UW Guard Corps Needs Help
With the graduation of Missy Peterson, the Huskies lost significant veteran leadership and savvy from the backcourt.
One would think the Huskies are shopping for a guard transfer that could play immediately. However, all signs point to this not being the case, as the multitude of eligible point guards dwindles by the day.
The Huskies will add three freshman guards to the roster for the 2022-2023 season.
Finally, it is likely that combo guard Alexis Griggsby may earn a medical redshirt after injuring her knee last season; but Griggsby is the Huskies best three-point shooter (a blistering 45.8% from three) and will hopefully be allowed to focus on that role in her final season.
Huskies Offense Needs a Boost
Washington’s slow offense needs a proverbial kick in the rear end.
Last season, the Huskies’ offense seemed mired in side-to-side player movement without putting much pressure on opponents to defend the lane or the three-point shot (UW finished in bottom three of PAC-12 for made three-pointers).
In 2021-22, the Washington Huskies were last in PAC-12 offensive possessions, with 64.2 possessions per 40 minutes.
Likewise, in total games played overall, the Huskies finished 334th out of 356 Division One teams in offensive possessions (65.8 possessions per 40 minutes).
Another season of painfully slow offense will negate one of the major benefits that Dalayah Daniels brings to the table, i.e., her ability to run out on fastbreak opportunities, thereby putting immense pressure on the transition defense of opposing bigs.
If the Huskies can increase offensive tempo, it will generate more offensive possessions for Daniels and the Huskies plethora of athletic wings, e.g., Haley Van Dyke, TT Watkins, Nia Lowery.
The following moves may be unlikely but we believe consideration of guard transfer is paramount to the immediate success of the UW WBB program.
Point Guards – Recruiting Priority: High Returning: Trinity Oliver(Sr.) Incoming: PG Teagan Brown (Fr.), combo guard Hannah Stines(Fr.)
Possible Transfer Targets: Aaliyah Collins (Chicago State); Taylor Chavez (Arizona, Oregon)
A homegrown product, rising sophomore Aaliyah Collins is a Snohomish, WA native (Glaciar Peak HS) that plays bigger than her listed 5’7″ height.
As a freshman, Collins led Chicago State with 14.6 points per game and recorded 20+ points on eight occasions.
Aaliyah Collins also averaged 2.4 steals per game (33rd best in the nation); as well as, recording three or more steals 11 times during her freshman season.
Besides being an aggressive defender, Collins is an aggressive scorer off the dribble that demonstrates effective use of pick-and-roll to penetrate the lane and finish inside; hit the pull-up jumper from the free throw line; or create for others.
Collins provides quick dribble-drive penetration into the lane and excels at scoring within four (4) feet of the basket (61.7%), even in traffic.
Aaliyah Collins demonstrates a solid basketball IQ, both offensively and defensively.
Biggest knock on her game? Aaliyah Collins is not a good three-point shooter and is only an average mid-range shooter.
However, Collins would add athleticism to the Huskies’ guard unit, as well as diversity of play — fitting comfortably between the off-ball movement of Lauren Schwartz and the “bully ball” of Trinity Oliver.
At the end of her first collegiate season, Collins was selected Second Team, All-WAC Conference and named to the WAC All-Newcomer Team.
Her breakout freshman year shows an uncommon ability to prepare and execute beyond that of most freshman.
This is an important consideration, since adding Collins to the UW roster would reduce the need to rely on three incoming freshmen to make an early adjustment to college basketball.
TAYLOR CHAVEZ (ARIZONA, OREGON) – Rising Senior
As a sophomore, Taylor Chavez was named Pac-12 Sixth Player of the Year, while shooting 47.4% from three-point range and 49.7% overall; as well as, averaging 6.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per game.
However, Taylor Chavez’s career might be described as a bit of an enigma wrapped in an anomaly.
The 5’10” Taylor Chavez has good size for a point guard, yet only average PAC-12 athleticism.
Despite multiple opportunities at Oregon and Arizona, Chavez has never found her footing as a PAC-12 point guard, and has mostly excelled as a three-point shooter.
Chavez played three years for the Ducks, before transferring to Arizona for the 2021-22 season, as a junior.
Last season for Arizona, Taylor Chavez averaged 2.4 points, 0.6 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 11.7 minutes over 24 games.
Chavez shot 34.1% from three-point range (15 for 44); and 29.3% from the field overall.
After this lackluster season at Arizona, head coach Adia Barnes promptly recruited over Chavez at the point guard position; now Chavez is back in the NCAA transfer Portal.
Taylor Chavez was a Top 100 ESPN high school recruit, as well the Gatorade Arizona Player of the Year after her senior season at Valley Vista High School –the same high school as former UW freshman Marisa Davis, who recently transferred, so this may be an obstacle to attracting Chavez.
As a senior, Chavez will have one year left to play.
Low Risk Option
Thus far, Taylor Chavez may not have posted eye-popping statistics, but her advanced stats still show untapped potential.
Chavez’s assist-to-turnover ratio per 40 minutes of playing time is excellent.
At Arizona, her 40 minute projected assists / turnovers ratio was 1.69 — which placed her 199th out of 3,303 Division One players.
Likewise, at Oregon Chavez’s 40 minute projected assists / turnovers ratio was 2.00 — which placed her 124th out of 2,929 Division players.
Clearly, Chavez is a sure-handed guard with good decision-making ability.
She may not be the most dynamic guard, but the Huskies could trust that Taylor Chavez can get the ball to Dalayah Daniels; as well as, relieve defensive pressure with her three-point shot.
This may sound like damning with faint praise, however, Chavez would definitely increase the experience and talent level of Washington’s guard rotation.
Ultimately, there aren’t many guards left in the NCAA Transfer Portal with the ability to make an impact in the PAC-12 as a newcomer.
However, let’s not forget that California finished 2-10 (2021-2022) and 1-12 (2020-2021) in the PAC-12 with Dalayah Daniels.
Washington cannot afford to be conservative in upgrading their roster, if they want to avoid another bottom three finish in the PAC-12.
Daniels will need help and the Dawgs must provide it for the 2022-2023 season.