Huskies Pick Up Rare Win In LA, Beat Trojans 67-61
Feb. 5, 2012
LOS ANGELES - Toughness has been one of the principles Kevin McGuff has emphasized throughout the season. So no one was happier when the Huskies went out and wrested a W away from USC in the game's closing minutes.
In front of a nationally-televised audience, the Washington women's basketball team went on the road and held on for a 67-61 win over the Trojans at the Galen Center on Sunday. It was the first win for the Huskies at an LA school since 2006, and snapped a two-game losing streak in the process.
Jazmine Davis led all scorers with 26 points, but it was the play of Mollie Williams who McGuff singled out for praise afterward. The senior from nearby Cerritos, Calif., had a career-high 14 points to go with 11 rebounds, making all the necessary hustle plays for the Huskies down the stretch, whether it was stealing a pass, knocking down a 3 or securing a must-have rebound.
"It was nice to see everything come to fruition today," McGuff said. "In the second half, we were a lot better defensively, we were much better on the boards, and I think that was the difference."
Ashley Corral led the Trojans with 19 points, making 5-of-11 from beyond the arc. But USC shot just 24 percent in the second half, thanks to a series of defensive adjustments for the Huskies after they struggled early on. For instance, USC sophomore and leading scorer Cassie Harberts had 10 points in the first half, but just two the rest of the way.
USC opened the game with a 9-0 run as the Huskies appeared a step slow in their defensive rotations. But a McGuff timeout sparked the Dawgs, who raced back to take a one-point lead with 9:40 left in the first half. The two teams traded scores, with Davis leading the charge for Washington from beyond the perimeter.
In the second half, the Trojans largely took away Davis by assigning two-time Defensive Player of the Year Brianna Gilbreath to her. But Regina Rogers (13 points) and Williams kept the Huskies afloat on offense. It was a Williams' 3-pointer with 5:33 remaining that tied the game, and then the Huskies then took the lead for good on two Mercedes Wetmore free throws.
Washington improved to 12-9, 4-7 in the Pac-12 Conference. Additionally, the Huskies have now won more games than they did all of last season. USC, which came into the game in a tie for 3rd in the conference, fell to 12-10, 6-5.
More importantly, the Huskies are able to purge the sting of last Thursday's game at UCLA, when the Dawgs held a seven-point lead with 49 seconds remaining. As painful as those lessons are, the Huskies showed they are also capable of maturing.
"The UCLA game was really tough," Davis said. "But we had focus out there, because we knew we had to get this win."