Nov. 26, 2005
Junior guard Hicks topped the 20-point mark for the third time this season, and the fourth time in her career. Sophomore center Plouffe added a career-high 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting for Washington, which opened the season 4-0 for the third time in head coach June Daugherty's 10 years at Washington.
Washington (4-0) will play in Sunday's championship game at 3:00 p.m. against Rice (2-1), a 59-54 winner over Penn (1-2). Senior guard Tiara Harris scored 18 points to lead San Diego (1-3), which will face Penn in the consolation game at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
"I have just been working hard," Hicks said of her improvement in 2005-06. "I don't really think too much about points. I just focus on working hard for my teammates, and doing whatever I can for them."
After seeing its 14-point second-half lead cut to just two, at 57-55, with 7:02 to play, Washington put the game in the hands of a defense that has allowed just 59 points per game entering Saturday's play. As it has all season, the Huskies' `d' responded by holding the Toreros to just one field goal over the next 6 minutes, 44 seconds, sparking a 20-5 run that buried San Diego in a 77-59 hole before a meaningless two-pointer with 18 seconds to play.
Through four games this season, Washington's defense is allowing just 59.5 points per game, down nearly 10 points from its 68.3 ppg average of a year ago. No Husky opponent has managed to crack the 70-point mark, while just two - Florida State and San Diego - have even scored 60.
"In the second half, we did a very good job on the boards and started to limit their second-chance shot opportunities," Daugherty said. "[San Diego's second-half comeback] was very much expected; we knew that they were a very good team. I thought in this game, though, more than the others, we showed a lot more poise. We regrouped and were very clear about what we had to do."
Washington took the lead in the first minute on a Dominique Banks free throw and never gave it up, despite several runs to close the score by San Diego. The Huskies led by as many as seven in the first half before an 8-3 Toreros run closed it to 31-29 at the half, and led 46-32 in the second half before a 15-2 San Diego run cut it to 48-47 with 9:59 to play.
The Husky women improved to 4-0 with the win, while the UW men improved to 6-0 with a win over Loyola Marymount on Friday. Should the UW women win Sunday, it would mark just the second time in program history, and the first since 1984-85, that both Husky squads opened 5-0 in the same season.