Scott M. Johnson of the Everett Herald noted in a preview of the University of Washington’s exhibition game yesterday that St. Martin’s doesn’t have a player standing taller than 6-foot-7.
So there was really no reason to expect the Huskies to lose the battle in the paint yesterday. Yet it ended up being a major problem, as described by Todd Dybas of the Seattle PI as follows:
Huskies hoops: Thoughts, notes, quotes from exhibition win
Rebounding was a problem. The Huskies were mashed on the boards, 42-32, by their Div. II opponent. That led co-captain Justin Holiday to sum up the game as “horrible defensively” for Washington. The Saints had 16 offensive boards and 20 second-chance points.
While the Huskies did win the game 97-76 and exhibition games are no reason for panic, the rebounding differential is undoubtedly a concern against a smaller team. From Rich Myhre of the Kitsap Sun:
Romar: ‘We Still Have Some Work to Do’
“Usually we have a rebounding mindset pretty early (in the season),” he added. “But we didn’t have that tonight. We’ve been outrebounded before, but I don’t remember getting outrebounded like this in our (annual) exhibition game.”
While the difference in total rebounding is certainly reason enough for concern, offensive rebounding in particular was a problem: the Huskies gave up 16 offensive rebounds to St. Martin’s and only got 10 of their own. Even if they did shoot well, there has to be concern about how they got outworked on the boards on both ends of the court. As Seattle Times reporter Percy Allen asks, if they struggle with rebounding against Saint Martin’s, what about the Pac-10?
Isaiah Thomas: “We got a lot of work to do”
If the Huskies struggled against Poole and Green, what are they going to do against UCLA’s Reeves Nelson and Josh Smith or USC Nikola Vucevic and Alex Stepheson? Of course Romar doesn’t have to worry about that now, but he said he’ll address the team’s commitment to rebounding.
My guess, plenty of rebounding drills Monday.
Again – it was an exhibition game and this problem stands to improve over the course of the pre-season. But if there was any doubt previously, it’s definitely a key area for improvement.