By Scott M. Johnson Herald Writer
SEATTLE — Kevin McGuff’s first season at the University of Washington had plenty of built-in obstacles, but the new women’s basketball coach could take solace in knowing that he had a proven scorer in Regina Rogers and a nearly-month-long exhibition tour to get to know his team.
This time around, he has neither.
And so McGuff, with a new up-tempo style that will feature point guard Jazmine Davis and a healthy Kristi Kingma on the wing, will get his first look at the 2012-13 Huskies in competition when UW hosts Concordia (Ore.) University in an exhibition game tonight.
“I’m excited to see what this gives us in terms of information on where we need to go,” the second-year coach said Monday afternoon, still 11 days from the official season opener against St. Mary’s.
The biggest question marks for UW heading into this season might involve the most obvious area of weakness, as well as the team’s most obvious area of strength. Replacing Rogers will be a tall task — both literally and figuratively — and McGuff plans to address that massive hole in the middle by playing a faster-paced game. The other question is how Davis and Kingma, who have each carried the scoring load at times but have never played together in a game, will co-exist in the offense.
“It’s looked good in practice,” McGuff said. “They’re both different, but dynamic scorers. This style of play kind of suits them both, so I think that’s going to be a real positive. It’s going to be fun to watch them.
“Like anything, we’re going to have to make sure it goes right. But so far, I really like what I’ve seen out of those two.”
Kingma missed the entire 2011-12 season following knee surgery, and she’s put in countless hours getting herself ready for this point. The former Jackson High School star hasn’t played any kind of an organized game in almost 20 months.
“I’m excited for her because I know how hard she’s worked,” McGuff said. “Coming off the injury, she’s really put in a lot of time and effort, and now she’s finally getting to the day when she can finally be out there on the court with us.”
Although McGuff has yet to settle on a starting lineup, it would appear that four of the five spots for tonight’s game would go to Davis, Kingma, off-guard Mercedes Wetmore and 6-foot-1 post Talia Walton. … Concordia’s roster includes guards Ashley Hope (Everett High School) and Gabi Beyer (Meadowdale), both of whom were reserves last season.