Escaping the deluge of rain and wind that’s hammered the Puget Sound for a weeklong getaway in paradise is seemingly the ideal scenario for a Washington women’s basketball team that’s still in the honeymoon phase with its new coach Tina Langley.
However, the Huskies didn’t travel nearly 3,000 miles to Bimini Island in the Bahamas for just a few days of sun, sand and a tropical Thanksgiving feast on the beach.
Washington (2-1) figures to face stiff challenges in its first nonconference road games at the Goombay Splash tournament, starting with Thursday’s noon PT matchup against VCU (2-1) at Gateway Christian Academy. UW also plays North Carolina (4-0) at 9 a.m. PT Saturday.
“It’s a great team, VCU obviously won the Atlantic 10 (last season),” said Langley, who spent the previous six years at Rice. “They beat some pretty solid teams and lost to a team (Middle Tennessee) that I know well. They’re very athletic. They shoot it. They defend exceptionally well. They’re going to be a big challenge for us.”
Since UW’s 57-51 win over San Diego in the season opener, Langley believes Washington has gotten better in each of its three games, including a 61-53 loss on Saturday against No. 10-ranked Louisville.
“We’re still learning each other,” she said. “Obviously, we’re working on being more efficient with the basketball. Each game we’ve improved with our turnovers and that’s something that we want to continue to improve on. Just grow and understand how our systems work.”
The Huskies committed 36 turnovers in Langley’s UW debut, followed by 24 in a 72-65 win against Northern Arizona and 20 in their last outing.
Aside from the rash of turnovers, Haley Van Dyke’s scoring has been the other consistent factor for an anemic UW offense that ranks last in the Pac-12, averaging 60.7 points per game.
The 6-foot-1 senior forward is the only Husky to score in double figures in every game and leads UW in scoring (15.3 points per game), rebounding (10.0), steals (2.3), field goal percentage (57.6%) and three-point field goal percentage (57.1%).
“Haley is so talented. … There’s times that she turns down shots that are good shots for her,” Langley said. “I think (it’s) her just understanding how capable she is as a scorer. She can score at three levels.
“She’s really grown and worked so hard on her shot all summer. She’s shooting it beautifully. Just an incredible athlete who turns defense to offense flawlessly. It’s really neat to see her continued growth and I think she’s got so much more that she’s going to show.”