SEATTLE – Washington (20-13) advanced to the Elite Eight of the WNIT, defeating San Diego (24-9), 62-55, on Wednesday night at Alaska Airlines Arena. The Dawgs struggled at times from the floor, but got the big stops they needed to advance.
The Dawgs have now won 20 games three years in a row for the first time since UW won 20 seven-straight years from 1984-85 to 1990-91. Mercedes Wetmore also became Washington’s all-time leader in games played, surpassing Giuliana Mendiola with her 125th game in purple and gold.
Washington was led by Kelsey Plum with 21 points, although the freshman shot just 6-19 from the field. She did go over 700 points for the season, in the process becoming the all-time leading freshman scorer in the Pac-12, surpassing Chrishae Rowe of Oregon.
The star of the night for the Dawgs was Aminah Williams who pulled down a career-high tying 17 rebounds, including nine on the offensive end. Nine different times the Dawgs missed a shot, but Williams was there to extend the possession. She also added five points and five steals.
In the first half, the Dawgs came out strong, building a nine-point lead early in the half. Jazmine Davis scored eight points before the break, but UW began to falter edging towards halftime. Washington ended up just 12-31 from the floor at the half allowing the Torreros to battle back, ending the half on a 12-5 run to get within two, 30-28.
Two nights after making 16 3-pointers at Oregon, the Dawgs shot just 1-8 from distance in the half. The Dawgs did play well on the defensive end, holding San Diego to just 12-33 shooting, but were outrebounded, 26-15.
Leading by just two points at the half, Washington would allow San Diego to take the lead early in the second half. The Torreros would push the lead to as many as four and led as late as the 6:31 mark, before the Dawgs would regain control.
Plum finished an and 1 to tie the game at 49-49, before a Talia Walton layup gave the Dawgs the lead for good with 3:50 to play. Washington ended up holding USD without a point for 6:07 as part of a 9-0 run to build a six-point lead with under two minutes to play. From there, Washington iced the game with free throws and advanced to the final eight of the WNIT for the second time in three years.
Washington cleaned things up on the glass, gaining a plus-three edge after halftime. The Dawgs also forced 22 San Diego turnovers to help make up for just 32 percent shooting and just four made 3-pointers on the night.
Next up for up for Washington will be either Colorado or UTEP who play their third-round game on Friday at 7 p.m. The Dawgs will not know the time, date or location of the Elite 8 matchup until that game is played.