Washington senior Sami Whitcomb was named Pac-10 Player of the Week today, the first time a Husky has been given the honor in nearly two years. And it was Whitcomb who was named then, tapped as the March 3, 2008 POW.
UW can thank No. 1 Connecticut and Utah for toppling No. 2 Stanford and Oregon, respectfully, because the weekly award would surely go there otherwise. Or is the conference making an effort to recognize a strong talent stuck in a murky situation?
Whitcomb, pictured right by Seattle Times staff, was given the nod after scoring 11 consecutive points in the second half of a 71-63 road win against Western Michigan on Tuesday. She finished with a team-high 20 points (7-for-15) and had six rebounds and three steals.
The game mirrored what she’s done her entire career at Washington, donning a super heroine cape to save Washington. Well, UW (5-5) has an RPI ranking of 190, so Whitcomb isn’t always successful, yet that uncanny ability to find a way to score when nothing else is working is a positive.
Washington coach Tia Jackson wants the guard to pick her moments, however. The Huskies rank last in the Pac-10 in assists (12.4), mostly appearing as if they’re uncertain what to do with the ball. Whitcomb worked on her passing, and you can see her trying to get teammates involved at the start of games. But desperation kicks in and she takes over in pursuit of the win.
Injuries didn’t help this season’s goals. Washington would look different if senior SG Sara Mosiman (shin) was by Whitcomb’s side. But UW has some glimmers of hope.
The Huskies open Pac-10 play on Jan. 1 at Oregon. UW has played quick teams in South Florida. Big teams in No. 16 Michigan State. And strong three-point shooting teams in BYU. Although not as talented overall, the programs have characteristics of Pac-10 foes that Washington has experience playing.
Out of the nonconference schedule, sophomore F Mackenzie Argens gained confidence in her knee, finally playing without any braces. Sophomore C Regina Rogers is developing a soft touch around the rim and improving her conditioning. And sophomore Charmaine Barlow is productive with an unexpected increase in minutes.
It doesn’t mean Washington will make noise in conference play. I agree with most that Stanford could go undefeated and Oregon or UCLA could offer some surprises.
But the Huskies, projected to finish 10th by media and coaches prior to the season, could be more competitive against familiar opponents than originally thought. Either way, Whitcomb should continue to entertain with her play.
And it was good for her to be recognized now because she doesn’t have another two years.
GET IT STARTED: The college women’s hoops world went dark for a few days due to the holiday. OK, really it’s because of all the men’s sports from NFL, to bowl games, to the NBA that dominate the airwaves not leaving much room for anything outside a Stanford-Connecticut matchup to grab attention. But I digress; there weren’t any games until Sunday.
Former Garfield star Vivian Frieson kicked things off with a bang, tallying a double-double in 25 points and 11 rebounds. The effort helped the senior’s Gonzaga defeat UC Irvine 96-57.
“Viv was terrific,” Zags coach Kelly Graves told Spokane reporters. His team improves to 10-4.
ALL DECADE: Storm All-Star Lauren Jackson was named The Seattle Times’ top female athlete of the decade. More than 6,800 readers participated in the non-scientific, online vote.
WAITING WORD: The holidays put a crimp in Seattle University’s hopes to reinstate all of its suspended players. Sophomore Elle Kerfoot was allowed to play earlier this month, but NCAA offices closed before word could be given on junior scorer Breanna Salley and senior Mercedes Alexander.
A source said a decision could be made on both in January. The Redhawks (3-12) play Tuesday at Cal Poly (6-4).
TWEET OF THE WEEK: “I believe in myself and my dreams. I am donating $2,000 to my minnesota project to get it started. We will fundraise from there on out”
That’s from Minnesota Lynx All-Star Charde Houston (@CharHouston) late Sunday night. She’s playing in France, but using Twitter to organize various fundraisers in the states, including funds for two children who went homeless when their mother was killed.