"I think we've got a lot out of our nonconference (games) and we've learned a lot. And I think we're better as a result."
After tinkering with different starting lineups in November and December, Romar has settled on a starting five he intends to stay with. Darnell Gant is back at power forward and freshman Abdul Gaddy, despite pedestrian numbers, joins Isaiah Thomas in the backcourt.
The arrangement is even working for Venoy Overton, the would-be starter at guard. Overton has averaged 11 points off the bench in three games since Romar made the change.
The Huskies dropped non-conference games away from home to Texas Tech and Georgetown, but scored a 73-64 win over Texas A&M and ride into the Pac-10 on a three-game win streak.
"We still need to do a good job of sharing the basketball," Romar said. "And I think we can be better in terms of a consistent defensive effort."
--Just days after Oregon State achieved the same thing, Washington won its 1,600th all-time game with its 86-71 victory over San Francisco on Dec. 27.
--Brandon Roy was a runaway winner of the Greatest Husky of the Decade online fan vote among readers of the Seattle Times. He got 74 percent of the 4,533 respondents, while Jon Brockman was second at 20 percent.
JANUARY AT A GLANCE:
F Quincy Pondexter and G Isaiah Thomas have carried the Huskies offensively, but they will need some help once the Pac-10 begins. The first month of the conference schedule is key for the Huskies, especially a Jan. 16 showdown with co-favorite Cal. The Bears beat UW twice last season, including a memorable triple-overtime classic in Seattle.
QUOTE TO NOTE:
"You have no idea how nervous I am. It isn't my element at all to be doing this. My heart is going to be pounding. I'm going to scared." -- Senior Quincy Pondexter, interviewed before his one-night performance in "The Nutcracker" with the Pacific Northwest Ballet on Dec. 23.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL:
SEASON RECAP: The Huskies enter the Pac-10 schedule with a 9-2 record, with losses away from home to Texas Tech and Georgetown. UW remains formidable at home and has settled on a starting lineup. The defending Pac-10 champs have done nothing to suggest they won't seriously contend to repeat.
Usual Starters -- F Quincy Pondexter, F Darnell Gant, C Matthew Bryan-Amaning, G Abdul Gaddy, G Isaiah Thomas. Key Subs -- G Venoy Overton, F Justin Holiday, G Scott Suggs, F Tyreese Breshers.
Washington 89, Portland 54 Washington 73, Texas A&M 64 Washington 86, San Francisco 71GAME PREVIEW:
vs. Oregon State, Thursday, Dec. 31 vs. Oregon, Saturday, Jan. 2 at Arizona State, Friday, Jan. 8 at Arizona, Sunday, Jan. 10 vs. Stanford, Thursday, Jan. 14
The Huskies get to stay home for the Pac-10's opening weekend for games against Oregon State and Oregon. Washington has beaten the Beavers four straight times, including by margins of 26 and 19 points a year ago. They also dominated the Ducks, winning by 17 and 19. Expect more of the same this weekend.
--F Quincy Pondexter had 22 points on 10-for-12 shooting in the win over San Francisco, his eighth 20-point game of the season.
--G Isaiah Thomas totaled just 11 points on 4-for-23 shooting, including 0-for-8 from 3-point distance, in his final two pre-conference games.
--C Matthew Bryan-Amaning had 13 points, six rebounds and three steals against San Francisco, his best game since scoring 23 points against Belmont on Nov. 14.