Feb. 16, 2006
SEATTLE - Junior Jill Bell earned her third-career double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds - including 10 points and four rebounds one three-minute second-half stretch - to lead Washington to a remarkable 61-55 come-from-behind win over Oregon at Bank of America Arena.
The win was crucial for Washington (17-7, 10-5), which remained within one game of second place in the Pac-10 conference with one regular-season game left to play.
Oregon (14-11, 5-10) led by as many as 15 points in the game, and led by 11, at 47-36, with 11 minutes to play before Bell took over. The junior from Bellevue, Wash., scored on five of the next six UW possessions, and stifled the Oregon offense with one block and four defensive rebounds as Washington used a 10-0 run to close within one, at 47-46, with 7:45 to play.
Sophomore Andrea Plouffe checked in for Bell after a media timeout and kept the Huskies rolling, responding to two quick Oregon baskets with a pair of her own, including a reverse layin after a missed free throw by Cameo Hicks, and a straightaway three-pointer on UW's next possession to tie the game at 51-51 with 4:04 remaining.
Bell converted another jumper on UW's next possession to give Washington its first lead since the midway point of the first half, then rebounded a missed shot attempt by Oregon to set up another long two from Plouffe that gave the Huskies a 55-51 lead, and capped a 22-4 UW scoring run.
Bell and Plouffe combined to score 19 of UW's 22 points during the run, with Bell adding six of her 10 rebounds and one block. The run was also notable for the outstanding play of UW's defense, which limited Oregon to just two baskets in an 11-minute span, including separate droughts of 5:49 and 3:35.
Oregon's Gabrielle Richards and Hicks traded baskets on the next two possessions, but with a chance to tie in the final minute, the Ducks lost the ball out of bounds, giving possession back to Washington. Emily Florence and Maggie O'Hara each hit a pair of free throws in the game's final moments, helping Washington complete the dramatic comeback, and preserve a five-game home winning streak in the UW-UO series.
"I was just thinking about how I could bring us back, and was just focused on rebounding and getting those boards so that we could get back on the other side and try to get the ball in the basket," Bell said of her outstanding performance. "I'm just glad we came back for that win; it's really just a blur right now."
Washington's second-half heroics helped the Huskies overcome a lethargic first half during which Oregon dominated in the paint, outscoring the UW by a 20-4 margin inside. Ducks' forward Gabrielle Richards scored 12 of her game-high 20 points before halftime while netting six rebounds, helping Oregon take a 31-22 lead into the break.
Washington - the Pac-10's third-highest scoring team - shot just 25 percent as a team before the break, and missed 12-straight shots during a 16-0 Ducks' run.
"We really dug ourselves an unbelievable hole," said 10th-year head coach June Daugherty of her team's first-half performance. "It just seemed like we weren't fighting hard. In the second half, we really settled down and started getting in their passing lanes and pushing them out. Then Jill Bell just took it up to a different level; it was fun to see."