During an unprecedented run at the helm of the Rice women’s basketball team, Tina Langley has known nothing but success while guiding the Owls to the 20-win plateau in each of the past five seasons. 

However, she believes wins and losses will not measure her effectiveness with her new team the Washington Huskies, which opens the season at 7 p.m. Friday against San Diego at Alaska Airlines Arena. 

“We really have talked a lot about being process focused and what that mean for us,” Langley said. “If we become result (driven) as a new program with a new staff and new chemistry and new players, then that can be very difficult because you can be discouraged at times if maybe you’re not playing the way you would like to play.  

UW women’s basketball team lands top-10 recruiting class, highlighted by trio of California guards

“But if we stay focused on the process and growth, I think we’re going to really enjoy who we can become throughout this season.” 

Langley, who went 126-61 during her six-year tenure at Rice, established a reputation as a program builder after resurrecting a Conference USA bottom feeder that was 9-21 the season before her arrival. 


Following a 9-22 record in her first year as a head coach, Langley won 22, 23, 28, 21 and 23 games, which put her on UW athletic director Jen Cohen’s radar after the Huskies fired Jody Wynn in March with two years and $700,000 remaining on her contract. 

Washington made a significant financial investment in UW women’s basketball and lured Langley away from Rice with a six-year, $4,050,000 deal that pays her $650,000 this season.  

The Huskies also paid Langley’s $75,000 buyout with Rice.  

“I really love Washington,” Langley said. “When I met with Jen the first time, it was really neat to listen to how our values aligned from the basketball program to the athletic department. It’s such a great fit for me personally, for our staff and for the young women. When you come into an environment, you want to find that you fit the environment. The student-athletes that we’re recruiting are high character and driven to be the best they can be in the classroom and have career aspirations that are pretty lofty and exciting.  

“They want a place that’s going to support them in that aspect as well as basketball. We believe this can be a place where a student-athlete can pursue being a doctor and being in the WNBA. It’s just an amazing place to be. And you put it in the city of Seattle with the community and the alumni, it’s just a special place to be.” 

Of course, the luster of the UW women’s basketball team had lost its shine during Wynn’s regime, which included four losing seasons (7-23, 11-21, 13-17 and 7-14 last season). She was 38-75 overall and 11-58 in Pac-12 games with the Huskies. 

Langley had to salvage what’s left of a team that lost starting guard Tameiya Sadler and center Quay Miller via transfer to Colorado and forward Khayla Rooks, who went to UNLV. 


Langley offset the defections and brought in Rice transfers Nancy Mulkey and senior forward Lauren Schwartz as well as guard Trinity Oliver, who spent four years at Baylor. 

In what might be the most important offseason move, Langley convinced UW’s leading returning scorer Haley Van Dyke, who had entered the transfer portal, to remain for her senior season. 

The Huskies also retained center Darcy Rees and guards Alexis Griggsby, Jayda Noble and Nia Lowery as well as an incoming freshman class (Marisa Davis-Jones, Avery VanSickle and Olivia Pollerd) that’s ranked 16th nationally by ESPNW.  

“There’s a lot of challenges when you start anew,” Langley said. “There’s a new offensive system. There’s a new defensive system. There’s a new philosophy. There’s new culture. So everything is new. That actually makes it exciting and fun, but very challenging because we’ve had student-athletes say this is completely new to me.  

“They view that as something that can be an opportunity for growth. Their view on change is what excites us and actually prepares us to improve each day.” 

This summer, Langley and her staff brainstormed and settled on five tenets, upon which UW hopes to build its culture: unity, passion, humility, servanthood and growth. 

“After many years of working with young women, I’ve learned that you want to create an environment that is psychologically safe and has an opportunity for people to be their best,” Langley said. “Sometimes when you have shared values, that’s the thing that brings people together and helps everybody feel like they belong.  

“Our mission is to help young people in their pursuit of who they want to be become. We want to be able to support them through that in an environment that will provide safety, trust and love. That might sound kind of corny, but we felt those values would give us that ability to create that kind of environment.”