By Scott M.Johnson Herald Writer
SEATTLE — The University of Washington women’s basketball team will take its show to regional television this afternoon.
And it certainly doesn’t look like another super Sunday.
The struggling Huskies (9-13 overall, 4-8 Pac-10) have lost seven of eight games, the last two of which having been decided by a combined 52 points. Making matters worse, UW faces a Cal team that spanked the Huskies 60-43 in Berkeley one month ago.
“Cal is just playing remarkable,” UW coach Tia Jackson said last week. “They’re looking really, really good.”
Today’s game, which starts at 2 p.m., will mark the first of two regionally-televised games for the Huskies. They host Washington State on Feb. 27 in a game shown on Fox Sports Northwest, the same network that will televise today’s game.
UW may have preferred the televised games to happen earlier this season, when they got off to a surprise 3-1 start in Pac-10 play. But the Huskies have gone 1-7 since then, with their lone win coming in overtime against a WSU team that hadn’t yet won a conference game.
Barring a scorching finish to the season, UW is destined to finish below .500 again, which would be the third time that’s happened in as many years under Jackson. The coach’s job security, which began to take a turn for the better in early January, is becoming a hot topic again.
But there are elements of hope.
One example came in Friday’s 58-36 loss to second-ranked Stanford, a game that saw UW not only hold the Cardinal to their lowest point total of the season but also outrebounded them, 35-33.
“It was a collective effort for our team,” Jackson said after the Huskies became the first Pac-10 team to outrebound Stanford this season. “We just really focused on it. They’re big, and we knew we weren’t going to out-jump them, so we focused on (boxing out).”
Beating Stanford was a near-impossible task, while today’s opponent is only slightly less daunting. The Bears (13-10, 7-5) have won seven of their past nine games and are in the mix for the designation of the Pac-10’s best team not named Stanford.
Cal flexed its muscle in the Jan. 14 win over UW, outscoring the Huskies 36-18 in the second half while flustering UW with its full-court press.
“They pressed us the entire game. We just handled it in the second half differently than we did in the first,” Jackson said. “We tried to dribble through it. … We just stepped out of ourselves a little bit.”
Senior Sami Whitcomb is eager to get a chance to make amends.
“We just let it get away from us and got away from doing the things that were successful for us,” she said of the 17-point loss in Berkeley. “We’re excited about getting to play a full 40 minutes against them and seeing where it takes us.”
The Huskies, who have lost their past four meetings with Cal, will wear pink uniforms today to raise awareness for breast cancer.