Feb. 18, 2010
LOS ANGELES - Kristi Kingma led Washington with 10 points, but the Huskies could not sustain their blistering first-half momentum in a 73-55 loss to UCLA at Pauley Pavilion on Thursday.
This was the fifth consecutive loss for Washington, which fell to 9-15, 4-10. UCLA, the Pac-10's No. 2 team, improved to 17-7, 10-3.
UW was never able to regain their rhythm until late in the second half, with credit going to the Bruins vaunted defense. UCLA will change looks on a moment's notice, and flustered the Huskies by switching to a full-court trap after halftime.
The first half was a different story. The Huskies took a 32-31 lead into the locker room, showcasing excellent spacing on offense and effectively finding the open shooter.
After the game, Coach Tia Jackson found it easy to pinpoint the reason for the night-and-day halves against UCLA.
"It all started with their pressure," Jackson said. "We started turning the ball over more in the second half; we got complacent with the ball."
Credit goes to the Huskies, though, who used an aggressive trap of their own to work their way back into the game under the 10-minute mark.
"It's teaching our players, it's never, ever over," Jackson said. "That was one of our messages (after the game)."
Both teams attempted to imprint their physical styles on one another, which led to a combined to 47 fouls. The Bruins had the hot hand on offense, shooting 54 percent for the game, a season-high for a Husky opponent.
Markel Walker was the thorn in the Huskies' side in the first half, leading the way with 19 points, while Jasmine Dixon took over offensively in the second to finish with 17.
Sami Whitcomb, playing in front of a large contingent of friends and family, scored nine points and tied a career high with six assists. In her last two games, Whitcomb has taken on the role of distributor, combining for 11 assists.
The Huskies will attempt to pick up a win across town at USC, which lost to last-place Washington State at the Galen Center on Thursday night. The game will be broadcast on FSN and will tip off at 8 p.m.
In closing, Jackson gave a message to her seniors to take the onus to finish strong over the course of the next four regular-season games.
"I told them, 'It's now or never for you guys especially,'" Jackson said.