March 7, 2010
SEATTLE - Washington closed down Bank of America for the 2009-10 season with a bang.
In a highly entertaining contest, the Huskies picked up their third straight win and sent their seniors out in style with a 62-53 win over rival Oregon on Sunday afternoon. The win gave UW its second 3-game winning streak of the season, but this time it also provides a catapult into the Pac-10 Tournament, which begins on Thursday in Los Angeles against Oregon State.
While the seniors said their farewells, it was the sophomores who did the damage for the Huskies. Regina Rogers led all scorers with 15 points, all in the second half, getting some retribution for her first game against the Ducks, where she was held scoreless in just five minutes. Kristi Kingma added 11 points and four rebounds, while also dishing out three assists. Sarah Morton, a junior, dipped into double digits with 10 points.
"What a great senior weekend. I know these guys are excited and what a great way to close out the Pac-10 season," said Coach Tia Jackson, minutes after the Huskies wrapped up their second sweep of the season. "We started off strong at the beginning, back in January we had a little lull there but I'm really excited about the way we finished off."
Washington ended the regular season with a 12-16 record, including 7-11 in the Pac-10. That ties the Ducks in the standings, but Oregon will take the No. 6 seed based on a tie-breaking win against USC. Oregon fell to 16-14, 7-11.
On her final game on the floor at Bank of America Arena, Sami Whitcomb was held to just a single point, her lowest point total of the season. But she tallied five rebounds and applied excellent help defense on Oregon star Taylor Lilley, who was held to 14 after scoring 33 points against the Huskies in the first leg of the series in Eugene.
Whitcomb wasn't bittersweet about struggling in her final game at home. She understands the Huskies still have plenty of work to accomplish going forward. "This was one of the most fun games all year just because everyone was contributing," Whitcomb said. "Early on we were struggling but we were still in the game. At half we were down one because of our defense and the energy we had."
For the second game in a row, the Huskies trailed at the half by one point. But the defense once again clamped down in the second stanza, limiting the Ducks to just 26 percent in the final 20 minutes, including just nine percent from distance.
"Left hand up," Whitcomb said when a reporter asked about the defense on the Oregon stars Lilley and Micaela Cocks. It was a succinct response to a sound philosophy, as the Huskies put up a suffocating wall on the perimeter.
Washington is 2-0 against Oregon State this season. Both teams will meet in the late game on Thursday night at USC's Galen Center.