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Originally published Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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Nicole Romeo to leave Huskies women's basketball team

Australian guard is the fifth player to exit the team since Tia Jackson took over as head coach

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The defections are continuing at Washington.

Freshman Nicole Romeo left for her native Australia following the women's basketball team's disappointing 8-22 season, stating she would not return. Huskies coach Tia Jackson was traveling on Friday and could not be reached for comment, and Stephanie Rempe, senior associate athletic director, did not return phone calls.

Romeo is the fifth player to leave the program since Jackson was hired in April 2007. Four left before the 2008-09 season, stating they did not like Jackson's coaching style. They were originally recruited by June Daugherty, who was fired by the Huskies and later hired by Washington State.

Jackson recruited Romeo, however, billing the 5-foot-6 guard as a three-point specialist. Playing behind junior-college transfer Christina Rozier and sophomore Sarah Morton at the point, Romeo appeared in 26 games and averaged 1.5 points in 6.1 minutes this season. She was 5 of 36 (13.9 percent) from three-point range.

In a recent interview, Rempe, who was hired this season, gave a firm "no" when asked if Jackson was in danger of being fired. The coach signed a five-year contract, paying her a base salary of $180,00 with incentives that could reach $300,000.

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

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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