March 5, 2010
SEATTLE - If the Huskies had issues with defense and Oregon State in the first half, it's safe to say those were cleared up at the break.
A high-pressure clampdown put the brakes on the conga line of layups from the Beavers, and helped UW run away with a 67-49 victory at Bank of America Arena on Friday night. With the win, the Huskies improved to 11-15, 6-11. More importantly, the team is still in the running of picking up the seventh seed in the Pac-10, a crucial scenario when it comes to next week's conference tournament in Los Angeles. Sami Whitcomb led the Huskies with 14 points, doing most of her damage from the line, where the senior went 9-9. Kristi Kingma added 11 points in the victory, including six rebounds. In her penultimate home game, Laura McLellan chipped with 12 points.
The Huskies weathered a myriad of first half problems, including foul trouble and trouble defending the interior. Oregon State went to the locker room having shot 50 percent from the half, although the Huskies trailed by just a point at 33-32. But the second half was a different story, with the vaunted UW pressure defense working its magic. The Huskies clogged the passing lanes, tipped balls and put suffocated Beavers' star Talisa Rhea, who finished with just 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting, including 0-of-8 from the arc. Coincidentally, this came with the insertion of Charmaine Barlow into the lineup, who is the designated lockdown defender for the Dawgs.
"She brought a different kind of energy and that is really her role for us," said Coach Tia Jackson. "She came in and really helped to turn that notch up a little higher. When we started making substitutions those guys just turned it up that much more and Charmaine was definitely at the head of that."
Because of those fouls, Jackson was forced to deploy a smaller lineup. This gave valuable minutes to Jeneva Anderson, who helped fit the defensive profile the Huskies were trying to establish. In the first half, the Huskies had let the Beavers break loose for easy baskets, most notably a two-minute stretch when OSU put together a string of made baskets.
"We knew that we weren't playing very well and we were down one," McLellan said. "All we had to do was come out and execute and get some good stops, only the things we can control like boxing out and getting rebounds."
At the onset, Regina Rogers was Washington's catalyst, scoring the first six points of the game. In fact, until Whitcomb hit a free throw midway through the first half, all the Huskies scoring had come from the sophomores, the group that will take over the bulk of the scoring after the old guard of Whitcomb, McLellan, Sara Mosiman, Christina Rozier and Lydia Young graduate. But those seniors still another game to play, this coming on Sunday at 2 p.m. when the Huskies welcome their rivals from I-5 South - Oregon.