Jan. 29, 2010
PULLMAN - The atmosphere at Beasley Coliseum had everything a rivalry game on the Palouse should have, including a win for the Huskies.
In keeping with tradition, Washington escaped Friel Court with a 76-70 win in overtime on Friday evening, their 29th straight in the series. But this might have been one of the more nerve-racking for the Huskies, who had to endure a fired-up Cougars team and a packed student section. Even the Cougars football team came out and filled one side in a show of support.
But the Huskies continued to find answers down the stretch, most notably the play of their senior leading scorer.
Sami Whitcomb, playing her last game in Pullman, set a career-high with 32 points. Despite playing much of the second half with four fouls, Whitcomb rallied the Huskies in face of a tenacious Cougars squad that had snapping the streak at the forefront of their minds. Christina Rozier, who started in place of Kristi Kingma (mild concussion), chipped in eight points and nine rebounds for Washington. But it was the way she rebounded from a sub-par first half that drew praise from her coaches and teammates. "It was a typical dog-and-cat fight," said assistant coach Judy Spoelstra.
April Cook led the Cougars with 17 points. She was joined by Kiki Moore's 15, as the freshman dazzled the 2,064 in the crowd with a variety of spin moves for layups. It was Moore's assist to Katie Madison that tied the game near the end of regulation. The Huskies had eight seconds left to steal a win, but Whitcomb's layup rimmed out, and Sarah Morton could not follow with the put-back attempt.
The Huskies dominated on the glass, which was clearly an area for concern after the past two games against USC and UCLA. Washington out-rebounded the smaller Cougars 47-35, led by Mackenzie Argens' career-high 11 boards, along with 10 from Laura McLellan. Even the 5-7 Rozier was able to chip in with nine rebounds.
Whitcomb's 32 points broke her previous career-high of 29, set last year against Arizona State. She made 10-of-17 shots from the field, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range. Those two treys tied her with Husky great Giuliana Mendiola for fourth place all-time in Huskies history for career makes from distance (162). Afterwards, Whitcomb said her team was prepared for the rivalry aspect of the game and the intensity of the Cougars.
"We knew they were going to come out; this is a dangerous team," Whitcomb said. "We didn't start out as well as we would have liked, so I'm not surprised it went to overtime."
In overtime, the Huskies raced out to a five-point lead but had to scrap the rest of the way against the determined Cougars. It wasn't until Rozier hit a floater in the lane with 17 seconds left that the team could finally exhale.
With the win, Washington improved to (9-10, 4-5 in the Pac-10). The Cougars remained winless in the conference (0-9), and 5-of-15 overall.