The Huskies Women’s Basketball program took a giant step forward last night in defeating Cal-State-Bakersfield 80 – 49.
A noteworthy win because it was the largest margin of victory by Jody Wynn’s program, but also that they won with a total team effort is significant.
The Huskies leading scorer was not Amber Melgoza with 14 points, instead it was sophomore Haley Van Dyke with 15 points.
In fact, a total of four players finished with double figures points– Van Dyke, Melgoza, Missy Peterson for 11 points, and 10 points for Darcy Rees.
Notably, in 2018-2019, only Amber Melgoza averaged double-figures in points
Equally significant to the 80 points scored by Washington was the Huskies defense forcing 31 turnovers.
Coach Jody Wynn did an excellent job on rotating her lineups to keep players fresh; switching up defensive alignments; holding players accountable from the bench and calling timeouts at opportune moments.
A summary of observations from the game:
Haley Van Dyke sported a new leaner physique, and was noticeably more mobile, more active and more engaged on both ends. Van Dyke looks comfortable handling the ball in halfcourt. Haley showed an ability to be both aggressive and deliberate in dribble-drive situations using her length and body positioning to turn the corner on defenders. Van Dyke was really locked in on defense and it is clear that she wants to be an excellent defender. Van Dyke finished with 15 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals in 26 minutes. Haley looks like she is just scratching the surface of her potential.
Missy Peterson demonstrated leadership and accountability throughout the game. Peterson picked her spots by hitting shots early and then down-the-stretch setting up teammates to be successful offensively. Peterson played a very efficient, precise game and finshed with 11 points, 4 assists and 2 rebounds in 17 minutes.
T.T. Watkins returned to action and looked like she never left (due to injury).
T.T. is a matchup nightmare that just plays at a faster pace than everyone else. Defensively, Watkins stymied CSUB guards repeatedly, as well as demonstrating excellent offensive IQ with sharp cuts to the basket. T.T. took the ball hard to the basket but tends to bring ball down low where smaller defenders can make a play on the ball. With T.T.’s combination of athleticism and length to attack the defense, she must learn to protect the ball better, if T.T. could master the “Euro-step” it would be a huge weapon for her in transition. Watkins finished with 9 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block in 21 minutes.
Ali Bamberger really showed up to compete in the first college game of her career. Bamberger demonstrated a high basketball IQ, her positioning in the low post was elite at times. Defensively, Bamberger just knows where to be sometimes to disrupt the offense. Bamberger did a nice job fighting for rebounds and is stronger than she appears. Ali is an excellent passer from the post even when surrounded by defenders. Bamberger struggled from the three-point line but still demonstrated a good shooting form from distance. Ali finished with 8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 assist in 22 minutes.
Khayla Rooks also looks leaner with improved conditioning as a result. Rooks is a ball hawk that is always present on the boards and defensively all game. Rooks finished with 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 stealsin 22 minutes. Although her offense didn’t quite come together (1 for 7 from three-point line), she took 3-point shots that she would normally make.
Amber Melgoza was very unselfish all game, letting her teammates get comfortable assserting themselves offensively. Amber didn’t put her stamp on the game until the 3rd quarter when the Huskies fell into a lull offensively. Melgoza finished with 14 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds in 20 minutes.
Mai-Loni Henson picked up where she left off last season, leading the team in intensity and will to win. When her teammates seemed tired or unsure, Henson would make a play. Henson’s impact went beyond her box score stats that would still impress any educated basketball observer: 6 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds and 1 steal in 23 minutes.
Rita Pleskevich showed flashes of the skills that could make her a special player. The Huskies relied heavily on her ability to bring the ball upcourt under pressure. Rita’s three turnovers were mostly the result of trying to force passes into tight windows. Pleskevich hit a deep corner three-point shot that she should feast on throughout the season, however, she was 1 of 7 shooting overall with many shots looking rushed. Defensively Pleskevich didn’t seem to play with a low center of gravity against CSUB’s quick guards, which caused her to give up dribble-drive penetration too often. Pleskevich looked to be thinking too much instead of letting her game flow naturally. Pleskevich finished with 4 points, 1 steal, 1 assist (3 turnovers) and 3 rebounds in 24 minutes.
Darcy Rees also sported a leaner physique, as a result she looked quicker with more stamina. Rees showed excellent instincts for tracking rebounds and got a hand on quite a few, but was only able to corral three–possibly from pursuing the ball without first blocking out. Rees still has excellent low post offensive footwork but rushed a few of her shots and missed from close range. Rees couldn’t get it going from three-point range going 0 for 2. Darcy finished with 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 block in 25 minutes.
Overall, a good balanced team effort that signals a new outlook for Jody Wynn’s program.
The Huskies host Tulane on Sunday, November 10th at 2pm.