Nov. 14, 2009
PORTLAND, Ore. - Kelli Valentine hit 15-foot jumper with 00.3 seconds left to lead Portland State to a 67-66 win over the Washington women's basketball team on Saturday at the Peter W. Stott Center.
It was a heartbreaking opening loss for the Huskies (0-1), which led by as many as 12 in the second half against the Vikings.
In terms of openers, this was a tough test as Portland State was a tournament team (WNIT) last season under Coach Sherri Murrell. The Vikings (1-0) were rewarded as preseason favorites in the Big Sky Conference, the first time since 1999 that it wasn't preeminent favorite Montana.
"It's hard to describe it," said Coach Tia Jackson. "Kelli Valentine hit a tremendous basket with two defenders in her face...Unfortunately it took a play like that to beat us. And unfortunately, the kids and staff aren't feeling too good about it right about now."
Valentine netted 24 points on 10-of-15 shots for the Vikings, which gave Washington fits with its high-screen-and-roll offense. Point guard Claire Foucher, the focus of UW's defense going into the game, finished with 14 points for PSU, which had three players overall score in double figures.
Despite the large second-half advantage for UW, the Vikings whittled the lead down at one point to 3 with under six minutes to play, re-energizing a crowd of 622 at the Stott Center. The back-and-forth action would heat up as time dwindled, leading to some tense moments in the final minute.
On the last play for PSU, with just 2.4 seconds remaining, the Vikings inbounded the ball directly Valentine. The forward received the ball just shy of the foul line, hesitated, and then hit a fade away shot over the out-stretched arms of two defenders.
Washington had one final opportunity, but Whitcomb's catch-and-shoot fell short at the buzzer.
Without Kristi Kingma in the starting lineup (sickness), the Huskies turned to Mackenzie Argens to fill her spot. She scored nine first-half points to help Washington anchor to a 33-31 lead. The Huskies then went on a 19-9 run to open the second half. This came on the strength of Whitcomb and Mosiman as the Huskies rolled up a lead of 52-40 with 11:57 remaining.
Liz Lay saw the court for the first time this season. The sophomore forward had missed the first two exhibitions with knee tendinitis, but in a short span she made an impact. She took a charge and made a layup after coming in, and overall provided valuable minutes off the bench. Sarah Morton added seven assists for the Huskies.
The Huskies return to the hardwood this Wednesday against Mountain West Conference foe Brigham Young University. Tip-off time is set for 7 p.m. at Bank of America.
Notes: Washington out-rebounded Portland State 43-34. The Huskies shot 45 percent from the floor, but went 0-for-3 from beyond the arc.