Nov. 27, 2005
SEATTLE - Center Andrea Plouffe and guard Emily Florence combined for 30 points and 17 rebounds Sunday, leading Washington to an 86-62 win over Rice in the championship game of the Husky Classic at Bank of America Arena.
Washington (5-0) won its home tournament for the 12th time in 19 tries, and the first time since 2003. The Huskies have advanced to the championship game in each of the tournament's 19 years, and boast an all-time record of 31-7 in Husky Classic play.
Sophomore Plouffe earned tournament MVP honors after a 17-point, 10-rebound performance Sunday, her first-career double-double. The Edmonton, Alberta, native recorded career-highs in points in both games of the tournament, including a then-best 13 points Saturday, while her 10 rebounds Sunday were her UW career best.
Florence, too, reached career-highs Sunday, her 13 points - including 11 in the first half -- four better than her previous best and her seven rebounds equaling her career high. Florence was named to the All-Tournament Team along with junior Cameo Hicks, joining Rice's Lauren Neaves, Penn's Jennifer Fleischer and San Diego's Tiara Harris.
Just as it did in a 77-62 win over San Diego in Saturday's first round, Washington led wire-to-wire Sunday, taking control of the game with a 9-2 run off the opening tip and never looking back. The Huskies led 34-25 at the half and never let Rice (2-2) close within nine the rest of the way, opening a lead as large as 28 points in the final two minutes of play.
After scoring in double-digits in the first half of each of the Huskies' first four games this season, including career-best 26-point performance Saturday, Hicks was held scoreless in the first half, and finished with just eight points on 3-of-10 shooting. Plouffe and Florence, however, picked up the slack, each scoring 11 first-half points and combining for first-half 15 rebounds, including eight from Plouffe and seven from Florence.
"Dre [Plouffe] and Emily Florence really had us going in the first half," 10th-year head coach June Daugherty said after the win. "We needed to get other people in the scoring column and show some different weapons out there."
Washington's defense, which has yet to allow an opponent to score 70 points this season, was outstanding again, limiting the Owls to just 33.3 percent shooting from the field (20 of 60) and forcing 24 turnovers. In fact, Washington allowed Rice just one field goal in the first 7:28 of the game after allowing San Diego just two field goals in the final 7:02 of Saturday's contest, meaning that in a span of 14:30 over two games, the Huskies allowed just three field goals, while outscoring their opponents by a 34-11 margin.
The Huskies 86 points were its most since last year's Husky Classic first round, while its 24-point margin of victory was its greatest this year.
"We're really excited to see these guys playing better each night," Daugherty said. "We have a lot to do, but our confidence is growing and the understanding of our roles is definitely improving. It's really going to be a good week for us to refine our system."
The Husky women improved to 5-0 for the third time under head coach June Daugherty, while the UW men improved to 6-0 with a win over Loyola Marymount on Friday. That marks just the second time in program history, and the first since 1984-85, that both Husky squads opened 5-0 in the same season.
Never have both UW teams opened a season 6-0, a feat the Huskies could accomplish with a win at No. 5 Baylor next Friday. Washington will continue that road trip Dec. 4 at Texas A&M, before returning home to face Michigan on Dec. 9.