HEY GIRL: They’re no pregame serenade, but former UW players Kristen O’Neill and Michelle Augustavo should receive a warm reception. They work for the opposition, O’Neill as an assistant and Agustavo as a department intern. But once a Husky…
If anything depicts the possibility of women’s basketball in the city, it’s tonight’s game between Washington and Seattle University. True, the Huskies and Redhawks played last year at Edmundson Pavilion, but tonight is the first with both officially being Division-I schools.
SU assistant coach Joy Hollingsworth, a native, likes to tell a story about how she attended a Redhawks camp as a youth and how it impacted her game — going on to play college hoops at Arizona. UW and SU used to play each other regularly in 1980s and when you have that, you have young women thinking about athletics as a possibility. Picking a side on the playground courts and dreaming. It only increases the already solid development on the AAU level in the area.
Add the WNBA Storm, and what the Sonics had — that boomed into more than a dozen local men playing in the NBA — could happen for the women.
Of course you have to start somewhere and tonight’s matchup isn’t exactly stellar. Washington is better than its 3-4 record and could be 6-1 if it weren’t for tacky late breakdowns. It’s nowhere near the talent of Gonzaga, but you’d expect them to handle the likes of Sacramento State and Portland State no matter how those teams performed last year.
Washington has been hit by injuries. F Liz Lay, a top recruit, is out with knee tendinitis, and G Sara Mosiman is out with shin splints. But there should be enough talent developed to fill the gaps.
Meanwhile SU (2-8) won 20 games last season, but with a totally different schedule, under a different coach, and with star transfer Breanna Salley pouring in the points. Salley, Elle Kerfoot, and Mercedes Alexander were suspended as part of a self-reported NCAA violation.
SU applied for their reinstatement and first-year coach Joan Bonvicini said a ruling could be made as early as Friday.
She’s struggled to get the team acclimated to her system, but likes the way the team is improving daily. Yet, they aren’t where she wants them, which is on the level of her former Arizona teams.
Tonight will be entertaining regardless. The crowd is expected to hyped, filling the Connolly Center with purple and plenty of red. The Storm even jumped into promotions, telling their season-ticket holders to attend and have a chance to talk with CEO Karen Bryant and co-owner Lisa Brummel.
Bryant played at UW while Brummel developed a friendship with Bonvicini and bought season tickets for the Redhawks. See, the rivalry is already stretching its tentacles.
Here’s your starting lineups.
F Sami Whitcomb
F Mackenzie Argens
C Regina Rogers
G Sarah Morton
G Kristi Kingma
F Ashley Brown
F Maggie McCarthy
C Tatiana Heck
G Cassidy Murillo
G Kourtney Parks
Tonight’s officials are Karen Lasuik, Taryn Reynolds, Jim Morrell.