If there is anything positive to take away from the University of Washington's 80-55 loss to BYU yesterday, it's that they managed to outrebound the Cougars 48 to 41. Most impressive is that they established that advantage by crushing them on the offensive boards by getting 40.38% of the offensive rebounds available to them compared to BYU's 27.03%.
And as suggested by Washington coach Tia Jackson, center Mackenzie Argens' (seen in video above) career-high 17 rebounds - including 9 offensive rebounds - was definitely a significant part of that.
Husky Women Fall on Road to BYU " Kitsap Sun
Despite the margin, the Huskies had a couple of stellar performances to build on, including Mackenzie Argens’ career-best 17 rebounds, easily surpassing her previous best of 11. Kristi Kingma and Mollie Williams each tied for the team lead in points with 12. Charmaine Barlow had a career-high 10 points and Marjorie Heard finished with six.
Jackson said it was clear that Argens was the key player, noting her performance on the boards was the biggest take away from the trip to Provo.
"Mack definitely picked up the slack," Jackson said. "I had to acknowledge (her effort) in the locker room afterward. But now she’s set the bar high. Her coach expects 17 a game every night."
It's definitely true that Argens had an excellent game, but - although statistics don't say everything - forward Mollie Williams once again had a noteworthy performance.
UW statistical MVP: Mollie Williams
Once again, Williams proved that she might be the Huskies' most versatile player with 12 points (tied for a team-high with Kristi Kingma) on 5-for-9 shooting and seven rebounds, including 6 offensive rebounds for an offensive rebounding percentage of 23.1% (second to Argens' outstanding game-high of 29%).
Granted, given that the team missed over 40 shots there were plenty of offensive rebounding opportunities to go around. So this game, Williams' shooting efficiency might have been the most important aspect of her game - the combination of her rebounding and shooting led to her finishing with 55.25% of UW's overall statistical production, primarily because the rest shot 26.41% (14-for-53).
Key statistic: shooting percentage
It's not unthinkable for a team to win while shooting 30.65% from the field, but it does approach a certain degree of impossibility when the opposing team shoots 47.69%. That was ultimately the difference in the game, especially in the second half.
BYU Sprints Past Huskies, 80-55 - University of Washington Official Athletics Site
The task at hand was to put away a BYU team that had dropped its first two games of the year. UW's makeshift lineup - at one point, the Huskies had five freshmen on the floor - gave the Cougars all sorts of fits in the first half, but then the vaunted BYU perimeter offense exploded in the second stanza. Overall, the Cougars outscored the Huskies 41-23 in the final 20 minutes.
While the Huskies maintained their 30%-level shooting the entire game, BYU's shooting percentage shot up to 51.6% in the second half including 50% three point shooting (6-for-12 in the second half). But beyond Stephanie Vermunt's 4-for-6 three point shooting that led to a team-high 17 points, BYU got production got a bit more of a well-rounded effort that UW did.
BYU key player: Corianne Fraughton
It wasn't a strong rebounding day for BYU, but in addition to scoring in double figures for her second straight game Fraughton did her best to mitigate the rebounding damage inflicted by UW's frontcourt - the senior forward finished with a team-high 9 rebounds and a solid defensive rebounding percentage of 22.88%.
And it was the combination of her play and that of senior Mindy Bonham that got BYU going in the second half.
BYUCougars.com - BYU Women's Basketball Event Results
Bonham scored four quick points right out of the locker room to start the second half, helping BYU go on a 10-2 run that also featured two treys, one from Fraughton and another by senior Jazmine Foreman.
The quick start continued as the Cougars stretched the lead to 24 at 68-44. Fraughton contributed eight points in the first seven minutes of the half after scoring three in the first.
BYU’s defense continued to shut down the Husky offense, holding Washington to 5-13 early in the second half while the Cougars nailed 9 of 13 shots to build the lead.
BYU statistical MVP: Mindy Bonham
While Bonham's scoring to start the second half might have taken center stage, she also tied a team-high with 3 steals and finished with a season-high 15 points. Her 4-for-5 free throw shooting was also significant as she had a team-high 55.55% free throw rate on a day when the team only had a free throw rate of 16.92%.
Overall, the Cougars just got a much more well-rounded team effort from a roster with four returners from last year's WNIT semifinalist team. Playing on the road against a strong team that the Huskies only beat on a last second shot last year in Seattle, one might assume that a loss was to be expected.
Yet at the same time, this is now the fourth half in a row that the Huskies have failed to reach 40% shooting, which is not the most promising way to start a season. Obviously, they're not at full strength yet and missing a center and point guard will definitely lead to struggles putting the ball in the basket. But after needing late-game heroics at home to beat Portland State and getting blown out by BYU it's clear that they need to find a way to score efficiently if they're going to win games, in the Pac-10 or non-conference play.