Pac-10 play has already jumped off to an interesting start with No. 19 Arizona State losing to Southern California this afternoon. As you probably read in our story today, first-year coach Michael Cooper is primed to shake things up in the conference with his pro experience in the NBA and WNBA.
The other new coach this season makes his debut in Oregon coach Paul Westhead against Washington (5-5). The schools have an intense rivalry no matter the sport, but the Ducks (9-3) haven’t lost to the Huskies at home since February 2006.
It’s Washington’s final game at McArthur Court. The quaint facility will close and Oregon will play its games at the new Matthew Knight Arena, hoping to open in December. If you haven’t seen it, the palatial facility seems big enough to hold a football game.
UO and UW have had ample time to prepare for the conference opener, playing their respective final nonconference games on Dec. 22. Washington, which has won three of its past four, defeated Western Michigan while Oregon lost to Utah by three in overtime.
Westhead said he spent the break working on pressing and running, leading the conference in scoring (86.6). Washington worked on slowing the pace and getting stronger with its backcourt play — especially getting the ball inside to the posts.
It’ll be interesting to see who’s able to impose their style.
“I’ll know more about this league as I start going through it,” said Westhead, who rested his players’ legs with a slow practice on Thursday. “But it looks to me that there’s a cluster of teams that on any given night that can beat each other. Everybody talks about the one or two standouts that you’re going to have trouble beating — Stanford as an example. For the most part, it looks like it’s a league where you show up and you better be ready to play. You’re not that much better than anyone or that much behind the eight-ball that you can’t win.”
Well, with ASU and USC, that proved to be true. Let’s see what happens tonight.
Here are your starting lineups:
F Sami Whitcomb
F Mackenzie Argens
C Regina Rogers
G Kristi Kingma
G Sarah Morton
F Micaela Cocks
F Victoria Kenyon
C Amanda Johnson
G Nia Jackson
G Taylor Lilley
Tonight’s officials are Melissa Barlow, Anita Ortega, and Michelle Russi.