LAS VEGAS – Washington fell to 5-4 on the season with a tough loss, 73-66, to DePaul (7-3) on Friday afternoon at Cox Pavilion. A deep Blue Demons team used a full court press to build a big lead, before the Dawgs fought back to make things interesting over the final minutes.
Washington trailed by as many as 21 points in the second half, but fought back after being challenged by head coach Mike Neighbors in a timeout. Neighbors encouraged the Dawgs to “fight” and that is exactly what they did. Washington finished the final 13:32 minutes on a 31-17 run, but came the comeback came up just short.
Talia Walton had one her best games of the season, despite being held out of the starting lineup as she battled the flu. Walton scored 21 points on 7-13 shooting, hitting several big shots down the stretch. She was the latest of the Huskies to suffer from a flu bug that kept Mathilde Gilling out of the lineup on Thursday.
After trailing 40-29 at the half, DePaul pushed their lead to 21 over the first seven minutes of the second half. The Blue Demons used a full-court press that forced Washington into an uncharacteristic 20 turnovers.
However, the Dawgs would make their run to end the game, led by Walton who had 16 in the second half. After a layup and 3-pointer by Kelsey Plum, Walton connected on a 3-pointers and a layup of her own as part of a 12-0 Husky run that cut the lead to nine with 6:59 to play.
DePaul would not let the lead evaporate easily, however, pushing the lead back to 14 points with 3:12 remaining. The Dawgs then used an 8-0 run to cut the lead to six with 51 seconds left. After DePaul got the lead back to eight, Walton hit another 3-pointer to get Washington as close as five with 14 seconds left. The Dawgs would get no closer as the Blue Demons made two free throws and defended the final 3-point chance from the Huskies.
The Dawgs shot 39.3 percent (22-56) for the game, including 7-19 from 3-point range. Plum had 19 points on 6-13 shooting, while Jazmine Davis chipped in 10.
Aminah Williams led a spirited Husky effort on the glass with 16 rebounds, while Walton had the double-double with 21 and 10. The Dawgs outrebounded DePaul, 46-41, for the game.
Mercedes Wetmore led the Huskies with six assists.
Washington was forced to play a short rotation due to injury and illness. Alexus Atchley stepped up, playing a season-high 15 minutes and scoring five points on 2-3 shooting.
The Dawgs will be back at it on Saturday for their third game in three days as part of the Duel in the Desert. Washington will take on Pittsburgh at noon at Cox Pavilion.