SEATTLE – Washington (7-4) finished off the non-conference season with a 72-69 victory over UC Irvine (6-7) on Monday night at Alaska Airlines Arena. The Dawgs made a season-best 14 3-pointers and got a career-high 25 points from Kelsey Plum to hang on for the win.
The Dawgs led by double digits midway through the second half, but UC Irvine pulled within one with 18 seconds to play. Up just one, Plum missed her first free throw of the game, but Talia Walton grabbed one of her career-best 17 rebounds and layed it in. The Anteaters got a desperation 3-point attempt at the buzzer, but it didn’t go and Washington hung on.
The missed free throw from Plum was one of three front end of 1 and 1’s that the Huskies missed in the last minute. Each time Washington had a chance to ice the game, but instead kept the Anteaters alive. Still, the Dawgs got the necessary stops and the big putback from Walton to earn the win.
Plum finished 7-16 from the floor and 6-11 from 3-point range on her way to the career high. She shouldered the load with Davis having a bit of an off shooting night that included just 3-14 from 3-point range. Walton chipped in 14 points to go with her 17 rebounds and five blocks.
Also coming up big was Mercedes Wetmore who matched her season high with 11 points. Wetmore tied a career high, making three 3-pointers on just four attempts, including a huge triple with 2:46 remaining after Irvine had cut the lead to two. Wetmore also added eight assists as the Dawgs finished with 20 helpers on the night.
Washington played with just seven healthy bodies, leading to fatigue down the stretch.
In the first half, UC Irvine came out with a full court press that led to a furious early pace. The Dawgs matched the tempo, breaking the press with ease to lead to open shots. Washington took a season-high 21 3-pointers in the first half, making eight to claim a 10-point halftime lead, 40-30.
Plum led the Dawgs at the half with 14 points on 4-7 shooting from beyond the 3-point line. Davis added 12 at the break, while Talia Walton pulled down 10 first-half rebounds.
For the game, Washington took a season-high 37 3-pointers as the UC Irvine press led to many open 3’s early in the shot clock.
The win leaves the Huskies 7-4 to end non-conference play. Washington begins Pac-12 play this weekend when Arizona and No. 25 Arizona State come to Seattle. The Dawgs host the Wildcats on Friday at 7 p.m., before the Sun Devils come to town on Sunday at 2 p.m.