SEATTLE — Leading scorer Jazmine Davis and two other Washington women’s basketball players were suspended for Thursday’s home game against No. 4 Stanford for violating team rules, coach Kevin McGuff announced Tuesday.
Davis, a sophomore point guard, and redshirt freshmen Talia Walton and Deborah Meeks will not dress, leaving the team with six scholarship players and one walk-on.
“It’s disappointing,” said McGuff, who expects to have the players back for the regular-season finale against No. 6 California on Sunday. “It’s a big week for us. We don’t have a lot of depth anyway to be down three people. But I do think (the suspension) was the right thing for them individually and for our program.”
McGuff declined to specify the violations, but said they didn’t involve academic, drug or alcohol policies. None of the players had previous issues.
“It wasn’t an extremely egregious situation, but I do think it was important to send the right message,” said McGuff, in his second year at Washington. “I think in Year 2, we’re still trying to establish the culture that I want that will lead to more winning in the future.”
The timing couldn’t be worse for Washington (19-8, 11-5 Pac-12), which is coming off two straight conference losses, at Utah and Colorado, and is tied with the Buffaloes for fourth place.
Stanford (26-2, 15-1 Pac-12) is tied with the Golden Bears (25-2, 15-1) for first place. UW hasn’t defeated the Cardinal since 2006.
Six UW players have missed at least one game due to injury this season, and center Katie Collier has been out all season with a knee injury.
A shortened roster isn’t new, but Davis (19.2 points) and Walton (13.9) are two of the team’s top three scorers and have been seasonlong starters.
“I don’t think one game is going to define our season. It hasn’t in the past,” said senior Kristi Kingma, the team’s second-leading scorer (14.1). “Like coach McGuff always says, it’s the next player in ... we’re all ready to play 40 minutes if we need to.”
McGuff hasn’t cemented starters to replace Davis or Walton. Meeks has been limited to two games this season because of a knee injury.
Junior Mercedes Wetmore will shift to point guard, and freshman guard Heather Corral could be moved into the starting lineup. The post rotation is UW’s weakest area.
McGuff is leaning toward starting senior wing Jeneva Anderson, who’s 6 feet and averages 9.9 minutes. She’s a strong defender but shoots 22.9 percent from the field.
The other option is 6-3 freshman Mathilde Gilling, who could add size in defending Stanford’s All-American Chiney Ogwumike and senior post Joslyn Tinkle.
But Gilling averages 6.8 minutes and 16.7 percent shooting from the field.
“Basketball is not fun if it’s not a challenge,” Anderson said.