Dec. 6, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. - The last thing the Huskies wanted was to endure a six-hour flight following a loss. Sami Whitcomb ensured the Washington women's basketball team returned in a celebratory mood.
The senior converted a three-point play late in the game, and her teammates responded with several key defensive stops to give the Huskies a 62-59 victory over the University of Central Florida.
Whitcomb came through with her second double-double of the season, totaling 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Huskies. But it was her basket that lifted her team, and snapped a two-game losing streak for Washington (3-4). With time ticking down, Whitcomb dribbled to the baseline, hesitated, and then sprinted past her defender for a layup and the foul.
"It was worth it. We've been in this position a lot," Whitcomb said. "To see us on the road and keep a lead when they kept coming at us was great."
Washington held a 15-point lead at halftime, but struggled to maintain that margin against the ferocious pressure from the Knights and their own mounting injury concerns. The Huskies lost Sara Mosiman before the game with shin splints, and then had to play without Laura McLellan for the rest of the second half after the senior forward went down with a right knee injury. Both players will be evaluated on Monday. The injuries left the Huskies short-handed, but several players responded with quality minutes. Mollie Williams chipped in with 10 points and five boards, while Charmaine Barlow provided a solid presence on defense.
Marshay White came off the bench to compile a game-high 19 points for UCF, which had a nine-game home winning streak snapped. Chelsie Wiley added 15 points for the Knights, who were an NCAA Tournament team last season after a late hot streak catapulted the team to a Conference USA championship. This year's team returned four starters, meaning Washington had a tough task on their hands entering the game.
Yet, the Huskies responded with, perhaps, their best half of basketball right from the tip. Kristi Kingma, who filled in for Mosiman in the starting lineup, hit a pair of early 3-pointers on her way to scoring nine points.
"We started very, very well," said coach Tia Jackson. "Probably the best we've started all year."
The hot shooting continued for the most part throughout the game. The Huskies hit 25-51 shots (49 percent) from the floor, and also made a season-high five 3-pointers. There was also a milestone moment as Laura McLellan recorded a block that moved her into a tie for 10th place all-time in Husky history.
The Huskies will take Monday off before returning to work on Tuesday in preparation for their intra-city game against Seattle University at the Connelly Center.