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Taking a Bold Step, UW Women Host 10th-ranked Louisville

Tina Langley's team doesn't shy from facing top national competition.
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The University of Washington should model all of its teams after its women's basketball entry. 

These Huskies have a proven winner for a new coach, key transfers, a top 10 recruiting class, an unbeaten record and on Saturday afternoon a game against the 10th-ranked Louisville Cardinals.

Imagine if the UW football or men's basketball teams could follow this plan, especially the part about bringing topflight competition to Seattle.

The Husky football team this season hosted Montana and Arkansas State, and there were plenty of empty seats to confirm the fan disinterest.

Mike Hopkins' basketball team just played Northern Illinois, Northern Arizona and Northern Exposure, in other words a bunch of nobodies, and didn't fill even half the arena for any of its first four games. 

Tina Langley's team (2-0) will host Louisville (2-1) beginning at 2 p.m., while the Husky football game at Colorado is winding down.

She's put together a group built around returning starters Haley Van Dyke and Alexis Griggsby, a veteran player in Chrissie Peterson who missed all of last year with a knee injury and transfers Nancy Mulkey and Lauren Schwartz, who followed Langley from Rice to the UW.

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Van Dyke, a 6-foot-1 junior from Walnut Creek, California, tops the Huskies with 15.5 points and 11.5 rebounds an outing, while the 6-foot-9 Mulkey, a graduate senior and possibly the tallest player to join the women's program, supplies 9.5 points and 7 rebounds a game.

They'll have their hands full with a Louisville team that goes 12 players deep, brings great size and even incorporates a strong Washington state connection to what it does. 

Inside, 6-foot-1 Emily Engstler scores 11.3 points and grabs 8 rebounds each time out, both team highs.

Louisville follows the playmaking lead of Hailey Van Lith, a 5-foot-7 sophomore guard from Wenatchee, Washington, and Cashmere High School. A national recruit, she chose the Cardinals over Baylor. Van Lith averages 10.7 points and 3.3 rebounds on game day.

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