SEATTLE – Washington (3-3) moved back to .500 on the season with its most complete game of the year, topping Wisconsin (6-4), 80-67. Aminah Williams led the charge with a career-best 19 points as six Huskies finished in double figures.
“Very excited for the players,” said head coach Mike Neighbors. “Wisconsin was picked fourth in the Big-10 and has played a great schedule. They are in the top-50 in the RPI and lot of people are talking about being a tournament team. We knew it was a great opportunity and we didn’t want that opportunity to pass by. I thought they did a great job.”
The two teams played to a near stalemate in the first half with the Badgers taking a 1-point lead to the break. Wisconsin shot 50 percent (14-28) for the half, including 5-7 from 3-point range to keep pace with the Huskies who also shot the ball well (15-31).
The second half was a completely different ballgame as the Dawgs came out on fire, while getting stops at the other end. After trading baskets and Wisconsin taking a 41-40 lead, Washington went on a 15-0 run, putting on a show in transition and with its pressure defense.
During the run, Williams drained a pair of 3-pointers and finished the night with a career-best three from beyond the arc without a miss. The junior forward finished 8-11 from the floor for her career-high 19 points to go with 12 rebounds.
Williams was not the only Husky to get it going in the second half, however. Talia Walton finished with 16 points, while Mercedes Wetmore and Kelsey Plum each had 11 and Jazmine Davis and Katie Collier had 10 apiece.
Wetmore, who had been encouraged by the coaches to shoot more this week, finished 4-9 from the field, while adding six assists and four steals in 39 minutes.
“Mercedes was tremendous,” said Neighbors. “She guarded Wurtz most of the game and to hold her to 5-14 shooting is outstanding. She played 39 minutes, but looked like she could have played 39 more. To put up that stat line, while guarding the opposing team’s best player, Mercedes is your MVP tonight.”
The other career high came from Collier, who is in just her sixth game as a Husky. The redshirt freshman scored 10 points, while battling UConn transfer Michala Johnson of Wisconsin in the paint much of the night. After scoring easily in the post her first two touches, Johnson was forced to face-guard Collier, which opened up driving lanes for the Husky guards.
“Tonight we saw thewe see in practice,” said Neighbors. “I think Husky fans got a glimpse of the we are going to see over the next four years. She’s a presence in the post both offensively and defensively. I am not sure there are 10-15 better post players in the country than Michaela Johnson and that is who she was doing it against.”
Washington finished with a 33-32 edge on the glass, while holding the Badgers to just 32.3 percent shooting (10-31) in the second half. The Dawgs finished 32-61 for the game (52.5 percent), while turning the ball over just eight times.
Washington will be right back at it on Sunday, when Montana State come to Alaska Airlines Arena at 2 p.m. The Bobcats are 4-2 on the season, going into their Saturday night tilt at Seattle U.