Feb. 4, 2010
TEMPE, Ariz. - All season long, the Huskies have continued to offer some surprises.
This game was no different, as Washington rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit to force overtime against Arizona State, where they fell 67-61 at Wells Fargo Arena on Thursday night.
The valiant performance offered the team several chances to steal a win from the venue that haunts them most in the Pac-10. Laura McLellan, who led the team with 18 points, missed an open jumper from the free throw line that could have won the game in regulation with 8.8 seconds remaining. Leading scorer Sami Whitcomb was held to 10 points, while Kristi Kingma chipped in with 11.
"Laura was playing out of her mind. Just a huge, huge contribution," said UW coach Tia Jackson.
Ultimately, the Huskies (9-11, 4-6) were undone by rebounding - particularly Arizona State's zeal on the offensive glass. The Sun Devils corralled 34 boards, 17 offensive, compared to just 24 for the Huskies.
"For us to be down 11 at half, on the road against a very good ASU team; for us to turnaround and outscore them in the second half shows a lot about us as a team," said Jackson. "The unfortunate thing was the fact that we were minus 10 on the boards."
Washington has not won at Wells Fargo Arena since January 2001, and the subsequent games haven't been particularly close. Overall, the Huskies are just 9-16 in Tempe. But the team played on Friday as if to put an end to that inglorious streak. Faced with an 11-point deficit, the Huskies started clicking in their matchup zone and forced ASU into bad shots and poor possessions. The Huskies countered with stark efficiency on offense, a theme that carried them throughout the game, where they shot a season-high 52 percent from the field.
The win gave Arizona State (14-7, 6-4) some revenge after the Huskies won the first meeting between the two teams at Bank of America Arena last month. And from the tone in the first half, it was clear the Sun Devils wanted vengeance.
Kayli Murphy led the Sun Devils with 16 points, hitting all five of her shots from the floor and six of eight from the line. Senior guard Danielle Orsillo, whom the Huskies held to just four points in Seattle, responded with 13. Former Husky Kali Bennett scored just four points, but two came during a critical ASU juncture in overtime.
Another positive for Washington was the return of Sara Mosiman, who had missed the last nine weeks after doctors inserted a titanium rod into her leg to alleviate shin splits. The senior played just five minutes, but her quicker-than-expected return was redemption to her after there was speculation whether she would play again this season.
The Huskies only have a short amount of time to shake off the defeat. The team will bus down to Tucson tomorrow where they'll play an Arizona team Saturday coming off a win over Washington State.