The Tina Langley basketball era launched with a win.
It was easy, and then it wasn't, but the University of Washington women's team opened the season on Friday night with a 57-51 victory over San Diego at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Langley, who left Rice to take over the Huskies, used a blend of returning players and transfers from her previous stop to get off on the right foot.
Missy Peterson, a holdover 5-foot-11 senior from Edmonds, Washington, made a triumphant return from an ACL tear that forced her to miss last season by leading the Huskies in scoring with 13 points.
Haley Van Dyke, another inherited UW player and a 6-foot-1 junior from Walnut Creek, California, had unusual fortune and misfortune to register a triple-double: 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 turnovers.
"It's a double-double and I'm pretty excited about it — it's my first," Van Dyke said. "I'll fix the other one."
Langley started those two and another returning UW player, 5-foot-9 senior Alexis Griggsby from Northridge, California, alongside a pair of newcomers from Rice, 6-foot-9 senior Nancy Mulkey and 5-foot-11 sophomore Lauren Schwartz.
Mulkey, possibly the tallest player the Huskies have ever had, supplied 6 points and 5 rebounds, hitting 3 of 5 field goals.
These Langley Huskies got tested. They jumped out to a 16-point second-half lead before letting the San Diego press bother them.
With 1:36 remaining in the game, San Diego closed within 54-51. The UW won a free-throw battle to close it out.
Langley became the first UW coach to win her debut since Chris Gobrecht in 1985.
"I'm really proud of the way we stayed together and continued to fight and kind of learn through adversity," Langley said. "I was really impressed with the way we kept our composure at the end and were able to finish it out."
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