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Washington women's basketball hoping to use deep WNIT run as springboard for next season

Mar 28, 2023
Photo courtesy Washington Athletics

There is a Pac-12 team still standing in the postseason. The Washington Huskies are headed to the WNIT semifinals on Wednesday, taking on Kansas on the Jayhawks' home floor in Lawrence, with a trip to the title game at stake.

For the Huskies, it is their first postseason trip since 2017, when they reached the Sweet 16. A long WNIT run has been known to be a great springboard to further success for programs and head coach Tina Langley, in her second season in Seattle, is hoping for just that. This is the longest WNIT run in program history for the Huskies.

“I want this to be something that our players become accustomed to, playing deep into this month,” Langley said. “It’s also about the opportunity to teach and practice and grow our skills.”

Washington (19-14) reached the semifinals with a 63-59 win over Oregon in Seattle on Sunday night.

Freshman Elle Ladine led all scorers with 16 points, with Dalayah Daniels (14), Lauren Schwartz (13) and Haley Van Dyke (11) rounded out Washington’s double-figure scorers. For Ladine, it was a career night, with nine rebounds and six assists in addition to her scoring.

It was a perfect combination as far as Langley was concerned, valuable time for her young players and another opportunity for seniors — such as Van Dyke — to extend their careers just a while longer.

“Our team just wants to keep playing for one another and with each other,” Langley said. “It’s a blessing. Our team has four freshmen and for them to get this experience is so important.”

Langley has worked hard to balance the playing time between those who will be returning next season and those whose careers are nearly done.

“We reward the players who are ready and every team we’ve played has a different style, so that’s allowed us to play a lot of different people,” Langley said. “Every single team we’ve played had a successful season, so the level of play has been high.

“And we have an opportunity to compete with quick turnarounds and scouts. It’s a matter of getting used to what the postseason feels like.”

Washington has hosted all four of its WNIT games to this point, defeating San Francisco, New Mexico, Kansas State and Oregon and will now go on the road to take on Kansas. The Huskies are 1-2 all-time against Kansas, their last matchup way back in 1998.

“I think this is a sign of what we can become,” Langley said. “I’m so proud of them.”