After two losses at home this past week to the Oregon schools, the Washington women's basketball team will head to California where they will play USC on Friday, and UCLA on Sunday.
With nine out of the 14 Huskies (8-13, 1-8 Pac-12) hailing from California, this road trip is an opportunity for many to play in front of friends and family.
“My whole family is going to be there,” senior forward Hannah Johnson said. “It’s pretty exciting, we get to be back home and it’s going to be good to let our families watch in person, for those who can’t come up here to games.”
Head coach Jody Wynn played for the Trojans (11-8, 1-7 Pac-12) herself from 1993 -1996 and then went on to coach under USC head coach Mark Trakh. This will be the first time Wynn is coaching against Trakh at USC with Washington.
“It’s great, it’s familiar grounds,” Wynn said. “There's some comfortability to it. Bottom line is we have to play hard because they are so athletic, because they can capitalize on our mistakes quickly.”
With both the Dawgs and the Trojans only having one Pac-12 win apiece, this will be an opportunity for the UW to showcase an ability to compete in the league.
“We’re going to have a good following,” Wynn said. “It’s going to be a nice atmosphere for us to play in and play against a team that is extremely hungry for a win, just as we are, so it’s going to be competitive.”
Both freshman guard T.T. Watkins and sophomore guard Alexis Griggsby will be back this weekend after sitting out of the Oregon matchup due to injuries.
“It’s nice to have the bodies back with two kids that really defend and play hard,” Wynn said. “It’s nice to have added depth especially on the road and both girls are from southern California so I’m sure it means something to them to get to play too.”
With the Washington roster full and healthy again, the Huskies will look to capitalize down south and build up consistency on offense, especially in their second game against the Bruins (11-9, 4-4 Pac-12).
At the same time, the Dawgs do not want to not let the athleticism of the Los Angeles teams interfere with their game plan.
“We need to go down and be the more disciplined team,” Johnson said. “Being more sound and patient, not letting them speed us up.”
This home environment for many will allow Washington to be more comfortable on the road, but it also applies pressure knowing the background and history the team has to the area.
“Its coach Jody’s old stomping ground,” Johnson said. “So I think that’s big to get a win for her, where she used to play.”
Reach reporter Madison MacPhee firstname.lastname@example.org . Twitter: @madison_macphee