A 10,000 word essay could be written about what went wrong in the UW Huskies 62-64 loss to Tulane on November 10th.
#AlwaysCompete is the mantra that the Huskies Women’s Basketball program has pledged its efforts to this season.
But the Huskies commitment to that mantra came to a head in the second game of the season, when the Washington women lost a home game on a last second layup by Tulane.
Despite Tulane’s 20-4 run in the fourth quarter, it wasn’t a late breakdown that allowed Tulane to come back in the final minutes.
Rather the recipe for this devastating (and predictible) loss was cooked up from the very start of the game.
It was clear early that the Huskies were sluggish and lacked the energy they showed less than 48 hours earlier in their Friday victory over Cal State – Bakersfield (CSUB).
After scoring the first points of the game on a Darcy Rees three-pointer, the Huskies proceeded to go scoreless for almost half the quarter until 4:33 remaining when Ali Bamberger hit a three.
Washington’s zone defense was not actively making Tulane uncomfortable in their halfcourt offense.
The Huskies seemed content to passively slide back and forth with their hands in the air, staying in front of the Tulane ball-handlers but not actually making plays on the ball.
It looked like the basketball version of football’s “prevent defense” to hold on to a lead except Washington was losing.
Coach Wynn played ten players but only four demonstrated consistent effort, passion and competitiveness that matched the previous games effort: the two freshman bigs, Ali Bamberger (5 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block in 17 minutes) and Quay Miller (8 points, 1 rebound in 16 minutes); Missy Peterson (15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 0 turnovers in 30 minutes); and Mai-Loni Henson (7 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 1 steal in 25 minutes).
Unfortunately, two key players in the Huskies 80-49 win over CSUB took a step backwards with their performances against Tulane: Amber Melgoza (7 points in 29 minutes; 0% from three-point line; 21.4% shooting overall; only 1 shot attempt and 0 points in the 3rd quarter; and 0 for 5 in the fourth quarter with one point by free throw) and Haley Van Dyke (0 points in the first quarter; a scoreless 3rd quarter on 0 for 1 shooting with 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals; and finished the game with a total of 8 points in 21 minutes, 0% from three-point line and 2 turnovers),
The remaining Huskies players gave inconsistent efforts, at best, with some giving a poor effort the entire game.
Huskies Women’s basketball resides in the toughest women’s basketball conference in the nation, high expectations precludes any sugar-coating of UW players’ poor efforts.
Simply put, the Huskies lost to an inferior team that lacked size and depth.
It is unfathomable to think that the Huskies became complacent after their first win of the season, so let’s categorically rule that out.
But a mystery remains.
What exactly happened in the time between their November 8th blowout victory over CSUB and the opening tip against Tulane at 2pm on Sunday November 10th?
Was there a change in strategy regarding game preparation?
Did they practice too hard or not at all?
Was there a change in their training table diet?
These are things only the Huskies coaches and players will know.
This was not an in-game strategy loss.
Rather, something affected this Huskies team that caused most of them to enter their second game of the season without enough passion or energy to win.
Whatever the cause, it must be nipped in the bud and fixed immediately.
The Huskies face Weber State at 10am on November 13th.
Weber State’s record is a winless 0-2 and, on paper, they are inferior to the Huskies in every significant category.
“A win is a win.” But this mantra doesn’t apply when your pride, integrity and respect for the game are on the line.
These Huskies cannot just defeat Weber State, they must show grit and determination to win throughout the entire game.
A subpar effort cannot be repeated if the Huskies women are committed to having a successful season.