Washburn Girls Hoops On A Learning Curve
Positives to be found in Millers back-to-back 30-point losses.
Call it 0-4 with a purpose.
The Washburn girls basketball team dropped its fourth-straight game to open the season and suffered its second-straight 30-point defeat after a 74-44 setback against visiting Chanhassen on Friday night in south Minneapolis.
"Chanhassen is a very good Class AAAA team," coach Brindley McGowan said. "We were playing our second game in two days and weren't able to have a practice in-between to prepare."
However, this setback belied the nature of the game for its first 20 minutes as the Class AAA Millers made life difficult for the "big school" Storm into the second half.
"The girls fought hard tonight," McGowan said. "We hung with Chanhassen for a half—more than a half—before we kind of lost our focus."
Chanhassen recorded the first points of the night and led until the six-minute mark when forward Chase Coley hit a two-pointer to pull Washburn in front for the first time at 10-9.
The Millers extended their edge to a game-high of three points on two occasions at 13-10 and 15-12, before the Storm rallied to take the lead for good at 16-15 with seven minutes to play before halftime.
It remained a slim lead into the break as the two teams left the floor with the visitors leading 27-22 as the Washburn dance team entertained the crowd with a program set to Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas."
After the dance number concluded to a warm round of applause, the teams returned and set about getting the game in before the expected snow storm hit town.
Millers guard Audrey DeVaughn hit the first basket of the second half to bring her team to within three points at 27-24. It would be as close as Washburn would get for the remainder of the contest.
A 12-5 Chanhassen run gave the visitors their first double-digit lead, 39-29, just under four minutes into the interval and the gulf would widen between the clubs over the next 14 minutes.
"We let the game get away from us," McGowan said.
Washburn went nearly eight minutes without a field goal as the Storm calmly and cooly extended their lead from 39-31 with 14:00 remaining to 66-39 with 6:06 left.
Millers guard Shanice Sullivan hit her team's only three-pointer of the game at that 6:06 mark, but the die had been cast and after a half-dozen more minutes had drained away, the final score was decided with Washburn falling by an even 30.
Still, McGowan was able to draw positives from the matchup.
"The mood in the locker room is great," he said. "We have a young team that is learning.
"We lost (76-40) to Minnehaha Academy last night, but played their starters even in the second half. We lost by 30 tonight, but played their starters even for the first half. We just need to put those halves together for a complete game."
Sullivan led Washburn with 13 points, while DeVaughn scored 10 and forward Chase Coley chipped in nine points.
McGowan said he believes the experiences of the past two nights will help his youthful club immeasurably when City Conference play begins at Southwest next Tuesday.
"Absolutely," he said. "We thank Chanhassen for coming out. After what we were able to do against Minnehaha and Chanhassen, we now believe we can win the conference. Our girls believe it."