Huskies Rebound When it Matters

SEATTLE - It's no secret that the Washington Huskies like to rebound. As a matter of fact, the Huskies are one of the most prolific rebounding teams in the country, out-rebounding opponents by a Division 1 leading margin of 11.8 boards per game.

It also should come as no surprise that the Huskies lead the Pac-10 in team rebounds at 42.8 a game, and even more impressive is their conference leading 15.8 offensive rebounds per contest.

What hasn't been so obvious has been the effect their offensive rebounding prowess has had in their success. Without a traditional statistic to compare, one can only assume that the added focus in that department has impacted the Huskies' success positively, but for those who want more concrete proof Washington finally had an answer on Thursday night.

Jon Brockman's game winning offensive rebound and subsequent put back with 4.6 seconds remaining capped a particularly effective night for the Huskies on the boards as they beat Stanford 84-83. The Huskies tallied an impressive 23 offensive rebounds for the game, resulting in 21 second chance points while overwhelming and Stanford's front court.

After the game, Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar could only agree when he was quizzed about how fitting it was for Brockman's game winner to come via an offensive rebound. "Makes sense you know," he said. "(Brockman) missed some shots that I'm sure he would love to have back. He still had a monster game with 18 rebounds and 19 points, that's pretty good."

Second chance points are a coaching nightmare, and as Matthew Bryan-Amaning continues to blossom, the Huskies become more dangerous in that department. To put it simply, the more double-teams Bryan-Amaning (and Pondexter) draw, the fewer defenders that are left to box out Brockman from the week side, which means he has free reign on the offensive glass - and vise-versa. Tonight's game winning tip was a result of the added focus paid to Pondexter and Bryan-Amaning, which left Brockman in a one-on-one situation. Advantage: Brockman.

"I saw Matt take the shot," described Brockman as he dissected the final play of the game. "I just kind of wedged myself in there and waited for it. They put the lid on the basket and I made it."

The Washington front court isn't alone in their quest to gobble glass, as the guards have gotten into to the act. Even 5-foot-8 freshman guard Isaiah Thomas is averaging nearly three rebounds a game and has gathered 15 offensive rebounds on the season. With that kind of dedication, it's no wonder the Huskies have been one of the Pac-10's biggest surprises.

"Coach (JIm) Shaw on our staff is relentless with guys on the board," Romar said. "He is constantly talking to our guys. One game Isaiah (Thomas) got six rebounds, four rebounds in the last two minutes. They said 'Way to rebound,' and he said, 'Yea. To shut coach Shaw up. He is always on me'. I think it has made our guys be more aware of rebounding. It does help to have Jon Brockman too."

"I guess it's our identity now," suggested Bryan-Amaning afterward. "We're not really thinking about it; whatever we have to do to get (the win) is what we have to do."

With a conference full of smaller, inexperienced forwards, the Huskies will have a significant rebounding advantage in nearly every contest, which at the very least should help compensate for UW's suspect free throw shooting. Against Stanford, it wasn't just another meaningless statistic, but the deciding factor in the final outcome of the game. Somehow, Washington has managed to turn missed shots into an offensive asset.


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