The Washington women’s basketball team was already hard pressed to overcome the absence of Amber Melgoza, one of the most prolific scorer’s in school history, and defensive ace Mai-Loni Henson, who graduated this summer.
Seemingly, senior Missy Peterson, a deadly 3-point shooter who had shown flashes of star potential, was poised to shoulder greater responsibilities on both ends of the floor while stepping into the spotlight.
However, Peterson tore her ACL last week and will miss the 2020-21 season, which is a severe blow for the relatively young Huskies that return only one starter from a team that finished 13-17 and tied for ninth in the Pac-12 at 5-13 last season.
“It’s very unfortunate because she was really ready for her senior year and had prepared to have a great one,” coach Jody Wynn said Wednesday. “She’ll miss this season, but then return for us in (2021-22).”
Peterson had a breakout year as sophomore, which included a 23-point outing in the Pac-12 Tournament opener followed by a 19-point performance and a game-winning 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds in the quarterfinals.
The 5-foot-11 guard from Edmonds-Woodway High School regressed a bit last season while averaging 7.0 points — 2.4 fewer than the previous season — and shooting career lows from the field (37.2%) and 3-point range (35.2%).
Losing Melgoza and Henson, pair of three-year starters, and Peterson means Washington will have to replace 53.3% of its scoring on an offense that ranked 11th in the Pac-12, averaging just 66.3 points per game.
“Amber Melgoza and Mai-Loni Henson were two cornerstones with everything that we did as a program on and off the court, offensively and defensively for the last three years,” Wynn said. “Gone are two kids that were involved in almost every situation that we did on the court. Whether it was Mai-loni playing all over the court from point guard to post player and leading us defensively … to Amber Melgoza, a straight-up bucket-getter.