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Originally published Friday, November 13, 2009 at 10:01 PM

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Washington must open without Liz Lay in the middle

Huskies sophomore still recovering from knee surgery as UW opens Saturday at Portland State.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Today

Washington @ Portland State, 2 p.m.

Latest from the Husky Football & Basketball blogs


Washington women's basketball coach Tia Jackson and players Sarah Morton and Regina Rogers looked like synchronized bobblehead dolls following their exhibition win Monday.

Would they be happy if teammate Liz Lay returned to the lineup? Yes, they all nodded, grinning at the thought.

But as the Huskies prepare for their season opener at 2 p.m. today at Portland State, it appears Lay will be unable to play. The 6-foot-1 sophomore is day to day with a knee injury that limited her to an hour of practice Friday. The injury is an aftereffect of surgery in 2008.

"We're still excited," said Jackson, whose team will also be missing senior Lydia Young (knee). "Our leading returners are extremely healthy. We feel really good about those guys."

Though Lay averaged just 3.3 points and 2.7 rebounds last season, her energy defensively gave UW a boost.

Washington has veterans to carry the load. Rogers, a 6-3 center, is eligible after transferring from UCLA, and post Laura McLellan (6-2) is welcoming a reserve role. They'll be needed against the Vikings, who were projected to win the Big Sky.

"Without [Liz] it's tough because we know the kind of aggressiveness she brings," said guard Sara Mosiman. "We feed off that. ... Without her someone else is going to have to step up and play that role."

Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or jevans@seattletimes.com

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