Who and what to watch for when Washington begins its women’s basketball season on Thursday against Cal State Fullerton.
WASHINGTON WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
Coach: Jody Wynn, second year.
2017-18: 7-23 overall, 1-17 Pac-12 (12th).
Starters returning: Four.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Amber Melgoza, G, 5-10, Jr. – All-Pac-12 standout who had a breakout year last season while averaging 19.0 points – second in the conference. Also led the Pac-12 in scoring in league games, with 20.6 per contest.
Jenna Moser, G, 5-6, Sr. – Former walk-on is the only Husky to start all 30 games and led the team in minutes played at 30.9 per contest. Averaged 8.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.8 steals.
Mai-Loni Henson, F, 6-1, Jr. – Second-leading scorer on the team who averaged 9.4 points after averaging just 2.9 points in 31 games as a freshman. She reached double-figures in 14 games and had a pair of double-doubles for the Huskies last season.
Nowhere to go but up for the hard-luck Huskies who suffered a slew of injuries last season while enduring a program-high 23 defeats. UW’s seven victories also were the fewest in school history. The good news? Almost everyone returns, including veteran forward Hannah Johnson and promising sophomore guard Missy Peterson. The bad news? UW suffered a few losses and didn’t appear to significantly upgrade the roster. Notably, sophomore guard Kierra Collier transferred to Drake, sophomore guard Fapou Semebene withdrew from school and veterans Natalie Romeo and Deja Strothers medically retired. It remains to be seen if newcomers Haley Van Dyke and T.T. Watkins – a pair of California guards — and Australian center Darcy Rees can offset the defections. The Huskies were picked last for the second consecutive year in the Pac-12 coaches preseason poll. A challenging nonconference schedule includes games against No. 6 Mississippi State and No. 21 Duke.