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Washington powers through to secure optimistic season-opening win over Utah Tech

Washington powers through to secure optimistic season-opening win over Utah Tech

Washington Forward Haley Van Dyke shoots the basketball during Washington's game versus Utah Tech on November 7th, 2022 at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle. The Huskies won their season opener, 69-52. 

 

The Washington women’s basketball team has officially returned to Montlake — and things are off to a good start.

UW’s first real opponent of the season, Utah Tech, put up a fight, but faltered in the end, handing Washington a 87-74 victory.

Both new and old players for the Huskies (1-0) looked promising, particularly down the stretch in the second half of the game. The way that her players effectively controlled the basketball is something that head coach Tina Langley was impressed with, especially given that this was her squad’s first game. 

“We obviously had a lot of players score for us tonight, and we had four players in double digits,” Langley said. “It’s good to see that.”

After a gritty first half, UW found itself with a small four-point advantage over the Trailblazers (0-1). However, the Huskies pulled away in the third quarter, keeping their foot on the gas on both sides of the floor. A last-second layup from senior center Darcy Rees put Washington up by 14 points by the time the fourth quarter started.

“I think it was one of our best quarters defensively,” Langley said. “It felt like we didn’t give up as easy a shot.”

UW did not let up in the fourth quarter, holding on to said lead to lock down the 13-point win in the final minute of play. But, before the buzzer could ring out, a three-pointer from freshman guard Hannah Stines sealed the deal for the Huskies.

As for Langley’s thoughts on her freshmen and their individual performances, the Huskies’ head coach harbors very high hopes.

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“I think, as freshmen, you have a little bit more experience and comfort on the offensive end of the floor, and I think our defensive concepts are a little bit new [to them],” Langley said. “Our playbook’s pretty large sometimes, and I thought they’ve done a great job of getting in the playbook and trying to learn that. I thought they played with great poise and toughness, which is hard to do.” 

The team was confident and smooth in its ball-handling, and remained solid in most areas of the game, with game totals of 44 rebounds and 20 assists, along with a field goal percentage of 45.9%. 

“I think we can be a deep team,” Langley said. “I think we can be a team that plays a deeper bench, and I think that’s going to allow us to, in time, be more aggressive, defensive, and keep our tempo up offensively and transition. I’d like to see us kind of grow in depth.”

Both newcomers — freshman guard Elle Ladine and senior center Emma Grothaus — were particularly active. Grothaus tallied a total of 12 rebounds, and Ladine impressed with five assists, ending the game as team leaders in both respective categories.

Senior guard Trinity Oliver capped off the night with a team-high 18 points. Senior forward Haley Van Dyke was not too far behind her, finishing off with a game total of 15. 

Washington will take on UC Davis on Friday at home at 5 p.m. at Alaska Airlines Arena.

Reach reporter Evie Mason at sports@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @eviesmason

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