Washington’s Missy Peterson during a Pac-12 tournmanet game against Utah on March 5, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Washington’s Missy Peterson during a Pac-12 tournmanet game against Utah on March 5, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

‘Unfinished business’: E-W grad makes UW return after ACL injury

Missy Peterson missed nearly all of last season. She’s back and playing point guard for the Huskies.

By Percy Allen / The Seattle Times

Missy Peterson’s first and arguably most important assist this season came last spring when she helped convince her best friend and roommate Haley Van Dyke to remain with the Washington women’s basketball team.

Van Dyke, the Huskies’ leading scorer last season, was in the NCAA transfer portal and ready to commit to another school when she got a call from Peterson who urged her to talk to UW new coach Tina Langley before leaving Montlake.

“I had one conversation with Tina, just one and it was our first conversation,” Peterson said. “She met with the 7-8 of us that was still on the roster and she was phenomenal from the jump. I got a really good feeling and good vibe off of her.

“The first thing I did after I got off the phone with Tina was call Haley because I knew if one coach could change Haley’s mind and convince her to stay here it was Tina. And she did it.”

Said Van Dyke: “I had never heard (Peterson) speak so highly of someone. She said you have to talk to her. She is amazing and you’re going to love her. … I texted Tina and we talked for like three hours and I knew right away I’m staying and I can’t leave because she’s amazing.

“Me and Missy are really similar personality wise. She’s very intuitive about people. If she could read Tina like that, I knew I could too. … I’m really glad I stayed and I got Missy to thank for it.”

If Peterson can deliver a few more assists like Van Dyke this season, then her transition back from the wing to point guard will be seamless in her return to the court after yearlong layoff due to a left ACL injury.

The former Edmonds-Wooday High School star, who started the previous two seasons, had her senior year derailed during the second day of practice in 2020 when she drove to the basket, felt her knee pop and buckle before crashing to the court.

“I knew,” Peterson said. “It felt like to me it was a season-ending injury. Just the pain and way it felt. I couldn’t get up and I never felt anything like that before. I knew that it wasn’t good. I tried to stay positive and keep my mind right until I … got my results back. But I was preparing for the worst because I knew it wasn’t good.

“I knew I couldn’t spend too much time feeling sorry for myself because I had a team I wanted to help out and lead and a lot of young kids I wanted to direct and get them through their first year of college ball in the Pac-12. I tried to stay positive. But the recovery process was hard.”

Washington guard Missy Petersonpasses under pressure from Stanford forward Nadia Fingall (left) during a game Jan. 31, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Washington guard Missy Petersonpasses under pressure from Stanford forward Nadia Fingall (left) during a game Jan. 31, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Fortunately for Peterson, she had done this before.

The 5-foot-11 guard missed most of her senior season and her UW freshman season was delayed because of a foot injury that required surgery. She also suffered a torn medial collateral ligament in her knee in a game at Washington State that prematurely ended her freshman season on Jan 17, 2018.

Peterson hit a high mark during her UW tenure as a sophomore when she led the Huskies in 3-point shooting percentage (36.4%) and was second on the team in scoring at 9.4 points per game.

The 2018-19 season began with a scintillating three-game performance at the Gulf Coast Showcase while averaging 14.7 points and shooting 53.1 percent from the field. And the season ended with a spectacular showing at the Pac-12 Tournament that started with a 23-point outburst in a first-round upset win over No. 6 seed Utah.

In the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals, Peterson hit one of the biggest shots in recent UW history — a deep 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left to give the No. 11 seed Huskies a stunning 68-67 upset win over third-seeded Oregon State, which was ranked 11th nationally. She finished with 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting.

Peterson backtracked as a junior while her scoring (7.0 points per game), rebounding (3.2), minutes (23.5), field goal percentage (37.2%) and 3-point percentage (35.2%) took a dip from the previous season.

Following last year’s injury and coaching change, Peterson was determined to return to Washington for one last season.

“It’s my hometown,” she said. “I went through hell and back with this team. We’ve gone through quite the roller coaster ride, but one thing that I cherish more than anything is how we stuck together as a team. We battled through thick and thin. It would have broke my heart to leave these girls and go somewhere else. I wanted to stick it out and have one last great year.”

Langley moved Peterson to point guard in part due to her experience at the position and UW’s dearth of veteran ballhandlers. Freshman Avery Van Sickle, who was rated the No. 17 point guard recruit nationally by ESPN in 2021, hasn’t made an appearance this season.

Meanwhile, Peterson is averaging 6.0 points, 4.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds during UW’s 2-1 start.

“I knew I had a lot of unfinished business on this court and for this team and this program,” she said. “But the goal was for sure to get back.

“I want to be able to leave this program and be remembered for being a good leader, a good teammate and someone that people liked being on the floor with. Someone who could bring a sense of calmness to the floor and be trusted with the ball in my hands. But also someone that people had fun playing with and working with as teammate.”

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

Tyler Cronk performs in the slam dunk competition during the Everett 3on3 tournament in downtown Everett, Washington on Sunday, July 14, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Recap, videos and photos: 2024 Everett 3on3 was another slam dunk

Everett alumni place second; skills contests, food trucks and vendors were also in full swing this past weekend to celebrate the basketball tournament’s third edition.

Kamiak High School’s Victor Sanchez Hernandez Jr. puts on a University of Washington football helmet. Sanchez Hernandez, a three-star defensive end who’s heading into his senior season, committed to the Huskies. (Photo courtesy of Victory Sanchez Hernandez Jr.)
High school football recruiting: Here’s how Washington’s 2025, 2026 classes are shaping up

TNT sports reporter Jon Manley spoke with national recruiting editor Brandon Huffman.

From left to right: Arlington’s Kierra Reese and Stanwood’s Ellalee Wortham, Ava DePew and Presley Harris. The foursome, called “Awesome Mix 12,” won the High School Elite division in 2023 and returned to Spokane Hoopfest this year to claim the Women’s Competitive division title. (Photo courtesy Sarah Reese)
Winter Wesco rivals, summer hoopfest champions

Arlington’s Kierra Reese and Stanwood’s Ava DePew, Presley Harris and Ellalee Wortham teamed up to win back-to-back 3-on-3 titles.

Louisville guard Hailey Van Lith found little room between South Carolinas Destiny Littleton (11) and Laeticia Amihere. (Carlos Gonzalez / Star Tribune)
These Olympians in the 2024 Paris Games have ties to Washington state

Nineteen athletes competing in France are from The Evergreen State.

UW Husky rowing will be well-represented in Paris at 2024 Olympics

The U.S. eight competes in heat racing on July 29 with finals on Aug. 3.

Once an MLB bust, Mill Creek’s Travis Snider now hopes to change toxic culture

When Snider made it to the big leagues in 2008 at just 20 he was one of the game’s top prospects, touted as the Blue Jays’ next great hitter.

Golden Knights center Chandler Stephenson (20) skates with the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Flames at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, in Las Vegas. (Ellen Schmidt / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Chandler Stephenson’s deal about broader Kraken goals rather than dollar value

The former Golden Knights centerman signed a seven-year deal for $6.25 million with Seattle last week.

Seattle Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh (29) celebrates his two-run home run with a trident as he high fives teammates during the first inning against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (Elías Valverde II / Tribune News Service)
Statistics show just how terrible Mariners’ offense has been | Analysis

Seattle leads the AL West, but situational hitting has been a setback.

Chandler Fry makes a short birdie putt on Hole 6 on Kayak Point Disc Golf Resort’s Red Course. Fry is a professional from Olympia, Wash., and he has tallied 31 career wins. He will be one of the players in this year’s Mixed Pro Open (MPO) division. (Photo courtesy Andy Jaynes)
Disc golf tournament to bring hundreds of competitors to Kayak Point

The fourth annual Kayak Point Open will feature some of the best players in the state and the region this weekend.

Everett AquaSox outfielder Lazaro Montes, the Seattle Mariners’ No. 4 ranked prospect, smiles while running onto the field prior to Everett’s game against the Spokane Indians on June 26, 2024 at Funko Field. (Photo courtesy Evan Morud / Everett AquaSox)
AquaSox week in review: Big-prospect Montes one stop closer to dream

RJ Schreck and Will Schomberg lead split against Vancouver.

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Logan Gilbert throws in the first inning against the Cleveland Guardians on April 7, 2023, at Progressive Field. (John Kuntz / Tribune News Service)
Mariners righty Logan Gilbert earns first MLB All-Star nod

Gilbert has made 18 starts this season and averages 6.5 innings per start, the highest in the AL.

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Bryan Woo #33 reacts after striking out San Francisco Giants’ Casey Schmitt #6 in the second inning of their MLB game at Oracle Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, July 3, 2023. Woo played for Alameda High School. (Jane Tyska / Bay Area News Group)
Mariners’ Bryan Woo, Gregory Santos in line for rehab outings with Everett AquaSox

The 24-year-old pitcher has been on the injured list since June 25, and his next rotation is Saturday.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.