REMINDER: This event is being telecast live on FSN.
I just arrived at Hec Ed, which I would estimate is about 75 percent full already for the volleyball game. That's already more than I expected and a very good sign that this event is going to be a big success.
Now, coach Lorenzo Romar has just passed by the media table – wearing a warm-up suit. Given all the injuries to his team, we asked if he was going to have to play to get a five-on-five scrimmage. He said if there's an injury, assistant Cameron Dollar will be first off the bench. Two injuries, and assistant Paul Fortier might be out there. Three, and it's Romar time. Maybe.
More seriously, he seems very impressed by this crowd, saying that unless everyone leaves after the volleyball game, that it already has exceeded his expectations.
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(Surprisingly -- to me at least -- a lot of people did leave. The crowd that stuck around for the basketball portion of the evening was estimated at 4,700.)
The evening began with the defending national champion UW volleyball team defeating Washington State, 32-30, 30-28 and 34-32.
Paid attendance was 6,216, breaking UW's previous volleyball attendance record of 5,712.
Expected to start around 9:20.
You know, I think Romar was joking when he speculated that the crowd might shrink after the volleyball match, but I believe it has ...
In any case, the lights are out now, as they introduce the women's team.
Now, the men's team is being introduced, leading off with Spencer Hawes' first time being welcomed onto the UW court. It's hard not to anticipate some of the amazing things he may do out there this winter.
Cameo Hicks won the women's 3-point shooting contest.
The men's contest was won by Ryan Appleby, but that proved less because it was a team contest with some fan involvement.
DANCING WITH THE COACHES
Coaches June Daugherty and Lorenzo Romar just faced off in a dance contest, which brought the house down (and which no one enjoyed more than the players). Romar was declared the winner.
The participants are Stanford-transfer Tim Morris (who bounced the ball to himself and slammed it on the second try, and jumped over -- well, more like beside -- Justin Dentmon on his next try), true freshman Quincy Pondexter (who windmilled in off the glass for his best of three), true freshman Phil Nelson (who windmilled over three children lying on the floor), and sophomore forward Artem Wallace (who landed a 360 while teammate Hans Gasser wore an "Air Artem" T-shirt). Pondexter was judged the winner.
Coach June Daugherty's women's team returns all five starters – Emily Florence, Dominique Banks, Cameo Hicks, Breanne Watson and Andrea Plouffe – from the 19-11 Huskies of a season ago.
Before the scrimmage, Daugherty noted that ESPN has rated her team No. 14 in the country, and that her goal is to bring a national championship banner to Hec Ed.
Husky Hoopla just ended with a 10-minute running-clock scrimmage. No score was kept, which seemed fitting since no defense was played.
The Gold team consisted of: Nelson, Dentmon, Pondexter, Wallace, and Appleby. The Purples were Brockman, Oliver, Gasser, Morris and Perry.
A few general impressions: Returning starters Jon Brockman and Justin Dentmon both bulked up over the off-season. Finally-healthy redshirt freshman Harvey Perry was telling the writers that he has developed a better shot than he is given credit for – and he showed it on occasion. The three true freshmen – Oliver, Pondexter and Nelson – are all athletic. Romar has promised that while this will be a bigger team, it won't be a slower on. There was no indication of any lost speed tonight.
Most importantly, the injury-thinned Huskies came through healthy.
And we'll close with a dead-lock absolute certainty: They will play better defense during the regular season.
Before the ball went up, Romar addressed the crowd, saying: "Thank you all for coming out here. We hesitated to do this. We didn't know how many would turn out. But we had a great turnout tonight – a turnout that gets us excited about doing this again next year."