Sports

Former Raven star now shines for the Huskies

The Huskies
The Huskies' Mercedes Wetmore pushes the ball up the floor as the Ducks' Ariel Thomas tumbles. Washington beat Oregon, 66-53, at Alaska Airlines Arena on Jan. 27.
— image credit: Courtesy photo/Scott Eklund, Red Box Pictures

Mercedes Wetmore is no stranger to success.

As a four-year member of the Auburn Riverside girls basketball team, Wetmore played in three state tournaments, including the 29-0 4A championship squad as a senior three years ago.

Now a junior guard for the University of Washington, the 5-foot-8 Wetmore looks to step into a familiar role and help power the Huskies to new heights.

"I definitely feel like one of the leaders of this team now," said Wetmore, 20. "I'm just trying to play hard and get the chemistry going with the team. Everybody can score in bunches, but what's really important is to come together and put it all together as a team."

Wetmore has refined her game.

Once the No. 1 scoring option and ball handler for the Ravens, Wetmore has had to adjust to intensified college action.

"It's just a different game," Wetmore said. "The level changes and every game feels like a state championship game now. As far as how I've developed, it's just playing within myself. I'm still attacking and knocking down the 3(-pointer) when I need to, but the roles on the court are a little different. The way I approach the game is the same, though. I'm just trying to not force anything and just impact the game offensively and defensively."

Wetmore's new emphasis on playing within herself was crucial last month. Her unselfish play helped spark the Huskies to a six-game winning streak.

She leads the 19-10 Huskies in assists per game with 3.8. She is fifth in scoring at 7.2 points per game, averages 3.2 rebounds and has 44 steals.

Now, with the regular season over and the Pac-12 tournament looming, Wetmore hopes her skills help push the team further into the postseason.

It's a tall task, however, with the Huskies mired in a four-game losing streak, with several key players, including leading scorer Jazmine Davis (19.2 ppg) and Talia Walton (13.5 ppg) – both freshmen – serving suspensions for violating team rules.

Nonetheless, Wetmore is confident the team can rebound in time for the Pac-12 tournament, which begins Thursday for the Huskies with a game against Oregon at the KeyArena.

"We have a really young team and we've struggled a bit with the suspensions, but we're trying to regroup," Wetmore said. "And it's all fun, anyway. It means the same thing, just leaving and breathing through other player's successes and my own and playing as hard as I can."

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