McGuff handed the keys of his high-octane offense to point guard Jazmine Davis, who claimed Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors. He guided the Huskies to the quarterfinals of the WNIT. And he did it without the UW’s returning scorer from the previous year, Kristi Kingma, who tore her ACL in the preseason.
So what will the second-year head coach do for an encore?
He’s jumping into a car moving even faster than during his first lap around the Pac-12.
“It was high-tempo last year, and if you think last year was fast, then this year will be even faster,” Kingma said of the UW’s new offensive scheme. “It’s like changing to NASCAR: 100 miles ahead.”
Kingma said she is fully healthy after tearing her ACL, which means she is back just in time to help the UW test-drive its new offense tonight in the team’s only exhibition game of the season against Concordia at 7 p.m. at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Kingma was the UW’s leading scorer two seasons ago, when she averaged 15.6 points per game and was selected to the All-Pac-10 team. After redshirting last season, she’ll now be a part of the UW’s guard-heavy rotation that is trying to make up for the size in the low post that was lost with the graduation of Regina Rogers and Mackenzie Argens.
But that’s where this new racecar offense comes in.
This season, the UW will be focused more on perimeter play, employing a drive-and-kick style designed to better space the court now that the team lacks a dominating post presence like Rogers, who picked up All-Pac-12 First Team honors last year as she led the Huskies in scoring with 16.8 points per game.
But with Rogers gone, the UW offense falls heavily on the guards, especially Davis, who was second on the team in scoring with 15.7 points per game. Davis thrived in McGuff’s system last year, and the head coach is convinced that this year will be much of the same, if not better.
“The style of play we have this year will suit her better,” McGuff said. “This year, you can look at not necessarily how great her game is, but how her game fits into our style of play. You’ll probably even see her play at a higher level because it’s a more conducive style for her.”
A new offense isn’t the only thing the UW is curious about tonight, though. The Huskies are also hoping to answer some of the questions stemming from their lack of size (they have no returning lettermen taller than 6 feet).
“We’re so small that rebounding is going to be a huge issue for us,” Kingma said. “[We’ll be] finding out how tough we need to be to rebound with the tall players. It’s not going to be a one-person effort; it’ll be a whole team effort.”
After tonight’s tune-up the Huskies will have more than a week to get ready for their season-opener Nov. 9 at home against Saint Mary’s.
Reach reporter Thuc Nhi Nguyen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @thucnhi21
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