Huskies Storm Back To Edge Previously Undefeated Buffs
Jan. 5, 2012
SEATTLE - The key theme to Kevin McGuff's first season at Washington has been to respect the process. Throw all of that out of the window; the first-year coach just wanted a win.
Washington roared back in the second half to stun Colorado at home, handing the previously undefeated Buffaloes their first Pac-12 Conference loss. In turn, the Huskies (9-4, 1-2) snapped a two-game losing streak and put themselves in position to right a ship that appeared to wobble after the first weekend of league play.
Jazmine Davis had an explosive night, setting the tone offensively with a career-best 27 points to lead all scorers. Her output was tied for seventh best in UW history by a freshman, matching Loree Payne's total against Arizona in 2000. Her all around performance included a pair of 3-pointers, a spinning layup that brought the crowd out of its seat and a go-go tempo pushing the ball up the court. Twenty one of those points came in the second half, propelling the Huskies past their toughest opponent to date.
"Coming off those losses, I wanted to win so bad. We needed to get a win," a smiling Davis later said, adding some extra emphasis to the final part of that phrase.
The Buffs were off to the second-best start in school history, having ripped off 12 straight wins to open the year. Despite their status as newcomers to the Pac-12, the Buffaloes (12-1, 1-1) brought a loaded lineup to Alaska Airlines Arena, highlighted by the impressive Chucky Jeffrey, a 5-10 slashing guard who can fill up a stat sheet. Jeffrey was certainly as advertised, scoring 20 points, but the Huskies played terrific defense on the Buffaloes star to limit her open looks. Most of the credit goes to Charmaine Barlow, who set the tone defensively chasing the Colorado junior around the court.
Trailing 37-35 at the half, the Huskies were stabilized by Davis' presence on the court. The frosh sandwiched back-to-back 3's around the under-8 media timeout, turning a two-point Husky deficit into a four-point advantage. Davis continued to attack the interior of the Colorado defense, and then teamed with Regina Rogers - who added 11 points - to knock down jumpers off the pick-and-pop.
During the Huskies' conference-opening trip to the Oregon schools last week, Davis admittedly was a key culprit in the two losses. Her indecisive play led to turnovers, and fouling out of the game against the Ducks left the Dawgs shorthanded at the guard position down the stretch. But the Husky coaching staff continued to work with her on her mistakes, namely cutting down turnovers. During the second half against the Buffaloes, Davis did not record a giveaway and finished with relatively tame four.
"I can be really hard on Jaz, but she thrives on that," McGuff said. "I can be as hard on Jaz as anyone on the team, but she thrives on that. She really responds. I really challenged her throughout the first half and at halftime to just be better. Be more aggressive, make better decisions and make us go."
Colorado was more the aggressor in the first half, buoyed by a flurry of scoring as the game neared the halftime mark. At one point, both teams combined to make seven consecutive baskets without a miss, titillating the 1,587 fans in attendance. Buffs forward Julie Seabrook was her team's catalyst in the first half, scoring 12 of her 18 points from a variety of spots on the floor. The North Vancouver, British Columbia, native brought a large cheering section with her to the game, a group almost two dozen strong that raucously applauded each make.
At halftime, McGuff challenged his team to remain the aggressor and close out on shooters, and as Colorado's offense stagnated the Huskies clawed back into the game. Colorado scrapped its motion offense for isolation clear-outs for Jeffrey, and the Huskies were more than content to allow her contested looks.
"She's really hard to matchup with," McGuff said. "She makes terrific decisions and is really tough going to the basket. But Charmaine is a good defender, and I think she did a good job of making her take tough shots. I had no illusions that we would shut her out, but we wanted her to earn everything she got."
After the game, a reporter asked Davis if she could relax knowing she had turned the page on a rocky first weekend. Davis laughed and noted there's no quit with McGuff and his staff, and the group certainly isn't content to rest on their laurels.
Washington closes out the weekend with a home tilt Saturday afternoon against Utah, which lost 60-48 to Washington State in Pullman.