WASHINGTON WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
Coach: Jody Wynn, third year.
2018-19: 11-21 overall, 2-15 Pac-12 (11th).
Starters returning: 4.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Amber Melgoza, G, 5-10, Sr. – Received Pac-12 honorable-mention honors last season after being voted All-Pac-12 first team as a sophomore. Led UW in scoring (18.1), rebounds (4.3) and assists (2.8) last season.
Missy Peterson, G, 5-11, Jr. – Had a breakout year last season while finishing second on the team in points (9.4), assists (2.0) and minutes (25.9). Hit the game-winning three-pointer with 2.3 seconds left in Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals to beat No.11-ranked Oregon State.
Darcy Rees, F, 6-4, So. – UW’s third-leading scorer who averaged 7.3 points and was second on the team in rebounds (4.1). Started 23 of 32 games and gave the Huskies much needed size inside.
THREE KEYS TO THE SEASON
Get help for Melgoza: No Pac-12 team is as dependent on one player as much as Washington, which relies on Melgoza. The Huskies must establish more scoring options and it starts with Peterson, a three-point sniper who averaged 21.7 points in three of the final five games last season.
Size matters: Washington won the rebounding battle in just two Pac-12 regular-season games last season. In four contests, UW was outrebounded by at least 13 boards. Too often, the Huskies were physically outmatched beneath the basket, which put a tremendous amount of stress on a defense that ranked next last in the Pac-12 while allowing 71.4 points. Rees and a pair of 6-3 freshmen centers, JaQuaya Miller and Ali Bamberger, give UW much-needed size inside.
Remember the Pac-12 tournament: In the previous two seasons, the Huskies were 0-27 against Pac-12 teams with a winning record until a 64-54 victory over Utah in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament last season. The next night, Washington stunned No. 11-ranked Oregon State 68-67 for the biggest victory in the Wynn era. UW lost 72-61 in the semifinals to eventual tournament champion Stanford. If the Huskies can recapture the March madness, then they’ll be able to pull off a few more upsets in a conference loaded with five teams ranked in The Associated Press Top 25.