By Scott M. Johnson Herald Writer
During national anthems, the University of Washington women’s basketball team is an intimidating bunch.
Six-foot-5, 6-foot-3, 6-foot-2, 6-foot-1, all standing in a line, along with a 5-foot-11 athlete with the muscular frame that’s ready for the rigors of the WNBA.
But those are the ones in street clothes.
Beside the towering director of basketball relations, and the even taller assistant director of basketball relations, and the 5-11 former WNBA-player-turned-assistant-coach, two of UW’s tallest players — freshmen Katie Collier (6-3) and Heather Corral (6-1) — are unavailable because of injury.
What’s left behind includes just two players 6-foot or taller — both of them are freshmen, and the one who starts prefers hoisting 3-point shots to throwing elbows in the paint.
So it’s not overly alarming that the UW women’s basketball team has been getting out-rebounded this season. But not even a math major could have seen this coming: a 129-70 rebounding advantage by a pair of Husky opponents from lower Division I programs. That includes an eye-popping 47 offensive rebounds by opposing teams.
The Huskies’ leading rebounder in Wednesday’s overtime win over Seattle University was Mercedes Wetmore, a 5-foot-8 guard who had seven boards before coming out of the game with leg cramps.
“We were terrible on the boards, and they out-worked us and out-toughed us on the boards,” coach Kevin McGuff said after the Huskies got pounded on the boards 59-36 by Seattle U. on Wednesday.
Said guard Jazmine Davis: “In order to make it in the Pac-12, the way we want it to go, we can’t get outrebounded like that.”
The Huskies (2-0) will try to keep their winning ways going, but also make an attempt to shore up their rebounding woes, when they face Long Beach state at 2 p.m. today.
A familiar face
It’s understandable if UW men’s soccer coach Jamie Clark is feeling some unique emotions this morning, but they’re nothing compared to the nerves that hit him before Thursday night’s NCAA tournament opener against Air Force.
“I dreaded the Air Force game,” Clark said Friday afternoon, after UW’s 1-0 win to advance into the Round of 32, “because if we didn’t win, I wouldn’t have gotten this opportunity.”
This opportunity would be a second-round matchup with No. 12 seed Creighton, the school Clark coached for one year before coming to UW in Jan. 2011.
“It’s like you’re playing against your sibling,” said Clark, who will be coaching in Omaha for the first time as an opponent since coming to UW.
There appears to be no animosity surrounding Clark’s return as he prepares to go back to the school for the first time since giving his players a good news-bad news announcement 22 months ago: he was getting married … but he was also moving to Seattle to take a new job.
“It was a shock,” said senior midfielder Andrew Ribeiro. “We missed him; he was a good coach, and we were sorry to have him leave. But we’ve got a good coach now, too (Elmar Bolowich, who led the Blue Jays to a 21-2-1 record and a trip to the NCAA semifinals last season), so it worked out for everybody.”
Creighton senior Jose Gomez said the Blue Jays have moved on but have not forgotten Clark.
“I thought he was going to stay here longer, but I understand his whole situation,” Gomez said. “There are no hard feelings or anything. I understand why he (left for UW).”
Women’s cross country takes 9th
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Husky women’s cross country team earned a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Championships on Saturday, while senior Joey Bywater, a Lake Stevens High School alum, represented the UW men with a 69th-place individual finish.
The ninth-place finish for the women equals the finish of the 1998 Husky squad, tying for the fifth-best finish in program history. It’s the fifth top-10 finish by the Huskies in the last six years, and the sixth top-10 finish for the Huskies under Head Coach Greg Metcalf.
Washington came into the race ranked seventh, but failed to overcome their Pac-12 counterparts. Second-ranked Oregon won the NCAA title with 114 points.