Dec. 6, 1999
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Three nights after matching her career-high, Megan Franza topped it, but it was not enough as Nebraska handed Washington an 89-86 loss in front of 3,020 fans in non-conference action at the Devaney Center.
Franza led all scorers with 26 points, including four three pointers, to better her 24-point performance against Boise State Friday night. Loree Payne added 22 points, including 12-of-14 from the free throw line, and Kellie O'Neill logged her third double-double of the year with 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Washington drops to 3-5 on the season while Nebraska improves to 3-2. The Cornhuskers were led by all-America candidate Nicole Kubik, who had a double-double with 23 points and 10 assists and also picked off nine steals.
Washington controlled the game early in a fairly even first half. The Huskies opened up by hitting five of their first six shots from the field. Franza hit back-to-back three pointers to give UW an 18-12 lead before the Huskers evened it up at 18 with 11:33 to go. Nebraska took its first lead of the half, 23-22 at 8:44, when they hit four straight free throws. The Huskies answered with their own run and went up by as many as 11 with just under six minutes remaining. Washington led the rest of the way and took a 45-42 lead at the half. The teams shot an identical 45.5 percent (15-33) from the field and were both 12-of-14 from the free throw point to that point.
Then Nebraska took over. The Cornhuskers started the second half on fire, scoring 23 unanswered points in a 25-3 run and taking a 67-48 lead. A three pointer by Loree Payne in the opening minute of the half was the only Husky bucket until a layup by Franza at the 12:21 mark. O'Neill picked up a quick offensive rebound and the Huskies started to chip away at the gap. They trimmed the Husker lead to single digits, 77-68, on another Franza layup at 6:17 and had it down to six points, 78-72, with five minutes to go. It went back and forth from there until Franza added her fourth three pointer of the game to again cut Nebraskas lead to six with 1:32 to play. O'Neill picked up the rebound off a Franza miss to cut it to four, 88-84 with :43 to play. Franza made the final layup of the game, picking up the offensive rebound on a three point miss by Julia Gray with five second to go, to end the Husky scoring at 86.
"Our character was definitely tested today," said UW coach June Daugherty. The game got away from us in the second half, with Nebraska's pressing scheme. The press did what most presses are supposed to do, it made us rushed. We turned the ball over way too many times in the second half. We lost our poise for a few minutes. We tried to settle down and make adjustments. We told the team to get two points at a time on offense and stop them on defense. We'll chip away at it and see what happens. Short of the turnovers, we outrebounded them and we were physical. For a young team like ours, I was proud of what they did. The defense kept playing hard. We learned a great lesson in front of a super crowd."
"As soon as they put in the press, we got rattled," added Franza. "As an upperclassman, especially with such a young team, I need to take better care of things on the court. For a few minutes, we fed their rush. As soon as we got rattled, we needed to huddle, settle down and adjust. I need to pull us together, say this is how it is, and adjust. I knew we had the ability to come back. It showed our heart when we did that. I was proud of the team for realizing what was happening. We dug down deep and chipped away."
Washington takes a short break for final exams and then will host The Seattle Times Husky Classic, Dec. 18-19. Oklahoma State and Portland face each other in the first round, Dec. 18 at 1 p.m. and Idaho and Washington meet in the second game at 3 p.m. Action takes place at Mercer Arena.