SEATTLE — Kristi Kingma took a pass on the wing, out in transition in the University of Washington’s new fast-break offense. Jazmine Davis hit her in stride, Kingma stutter-stepped past a Concordia defender, scored and got the foul.
It was one moment on an otherwise dismal night for Kingma, from a shooting perspective, but it was a key moment nonetheless. In a Tuesday night exhibition game with a relatively meaningless score — UW won 92-46, for the sake of full disclosure — Kingma’s 5-of-20 shooting performance was almost as insignificant. The fact that the fifth-year senior was back on the court, and making plays that proved her surgically-repaired right knee was healthy, was enough for the Huskies.
“I was happy for her to get the chance to be out there, and I was happy for us to have her,” coach Kevin McGuff said. “… She moved around really well, and that was encouraging. She missed a lot of shots that she’s going to make (when the season officially starts), but that’s what happens your first game back.”
After nearly a year of rest, Kingma showed plenty of rust, but she was happy to be back in the Huskies’ roost. She struggled with her shot, missing 13 of her first 15 attempts, but finished with a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds.
“I’ve dreamt about this day since Sept. 10 (2011), when I had my surgery,” said Kingma, who was playing in her first organized game since August 2011. “I was just excited to be out there and that we were able to get the win. … I was kind of in awe for awhile; I was kind of in la-la land. But it was great to be back out there.”
As expected, Kingma and sophomore point guard Jazmine Davis (a team-high 19 points on 7-of-21 shooting) carried the load offensively for the Huskies. But sophomore Aminah Williams (18 points, 20 rebounds) also had a big night against the overmatched Cavaliers from the NAIA school in Portland, while freshman Heather Corral made some noise in her unofficial debut as well, scoring nine points on 3-of-9 shooting from 3-point range.
But it wasn’t all 3-pointers and high-fives for the Huskies, who ran to an easy victory but had only seven healthy bodies by the final horn.
Talia Walton, a 6-foot-2 post who was supposed to be the Huskies’ lone inside presence, was a last-minute scratch due to an undisclosed medical condition that left her in the locker room until after tipoff and watching from the bench for the entire game. Junior Kellie McCann-Smith was unavailable because of a personal issue, and freshmen Katie Collier and Deborah Meeks were already sitting out with knee injuries.
UW lacked so much depth that 6-foot wing Jeneva Anderson started in the post, joining the 6-foot Williams as the only starters standing taller than 5-foot-something.
By the end of the game, not even Anderson was available after suffering what appeared to be a significant knee injury with just under two minutes remaining. But McGuff said after the game that Anderson had suffered a leg cramp, meaning she’ll probably be available when the regular season begins on Nov. 9.
The best news for UW was that Kingma was back. She missed what was supposed to be her senior year last fall, sitting out with a torn anterior cruciate ligament she suffered in an August exhibition game in Norway.
The former Jackson High School star went through a grueling rehabilitation process to get back on the court, and she was just happy to be playing in a game _ despite the rough shooting stretch to open Tuesday’s action.
“It was a good trial run,” said Kingma, who led the team in scoring as a junior in 2010-11. “I was excited to be out there for real.”