Huskies Extinguish Cal In 57-48 Victory
Jan. 16, 2011
SEATTLE - As Sarah Morton put it, the Huskies are pouring everything they have into these games.
So they were due a little validation for their efforts.
Washington put forth one of its gutsiest performances of the year on Sunday at Hec Edmundson Pavilion, suffocating California to gain a split of the Bay Area schools with a 57-48 win. Kristi Kingma led the Huskies (7-8, 2-4) with 15 points, but it was the Dawgs' work on the glass that was the ultimate difference-maker. The Golden Bears (10-6, 2-3) came into the game fifth in the nation on the boards, but it was the Huskies who owned the rebounding battle, 35-32.
The motivation was a fiery halftime challenge from coach Tia Jackson.
"They went out and said no more and that they were tired of it, and I think it showed," Jackson said.
By limiting of the Golden Bears' biggest strengths (rebounding), the Huskies were able to take control of the game by holding Cal to one-and-done offensively. Cal shot just 33 percent from the floor, and routinely shot itself in the foot with 21 turnovers.
Regina Rogers pulled down eight boards to lead the Huskies, including four on the offensive end. But winning the rebounding battle came down to effort, something the Huskies routinely exhibited with the way they chased loose balls. Exhibit A was Kingma, who earned a few floor burns in an effort to retain possessions. Or you could point to Morton, who bravely crashed the glass to match her career high with five rebounds.
"We just wanted to come out and play Husky basketball," Kingma said. "And I think we did a good job of that."
Now one-third through the Pac-10 season, the Huskies have clearly defined what "Husky basketball" means for the rest of the league - a feisty, intense effort on the court and no reservations afterward. And Jackson has embraced the team's blue-collar reputation. She understands her team won't pour in 80 points a game, so Jackson puts the onus on her defense to shut down opposing offenses.
Cal, a team that averages nearly 65 points a game, was the latest example of how effective the Huskies are on defense.
And how has the team been able to execute this style of play?
"They are focused," Jackson said. "They get out and, whatever our game plan is defensively, they do it. We have enough players that have been in the system long enough that they get it"
On offense, the Huskies were consistently able to run their motion offense against the Bears' defensive looks. Morton augmented her game with 12 points, and the posts were a steady threat on the inside, which forced Cal to limit how many times it trapped Kingma on the perimeter.
Over the weekend, the Huskies felt upset at how the Stanford Cardinal was able to impose its will on the game late. A focused practice on Saturday led to a crisp effort against Cal, as the Huskies never trailed after seizing the lead in the second half.
"Everyone just came out ready to go," Jackson said.
Now the Huskies must see if this translates to the road. Upcoming is a traditionally tough test for the Dawgs in Arizona, starting with the Wildcats on Thursday in Tucson.