Rogers, Davis, Williams, Oh, My! Huskies Roll In WNIT
March 14, 2012
By Gregg Bell
SEATTLE - About the only Husky who didn't score in this runaway was Kevin McGuff.
Jazmine Davis, who won the Pac-12's freshman of the year award for late-game heroics in the regular season, had 20 points, four assists and zero turnovers in Washington's highest-scoring first half all season. Davis finished with 25 points, Regina Rogers tied her career highs with 27 points and 14 rebounds, and the rampaging Huskies took that 23-point halftime lead and cruised to a 90-71 victory over shell-shocked Cal Poly on Wednesday night in the first round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament.
"It's fun to get out in the open floor and run -- fast," Davis said.
She finished three points off her career while making 10 of 16 shots and became the first Huskies freshman to score 500 points since Cameo Hicks in 2007. Davis now has 510.
"We like those kinds of games," she said.
The 90 points and 55-percent shooting (38-69 on field goals) were both season highs for these suddenly rampaging Dawgs.
"We were really good on offense," McGuff said. "Take away the first 6 minutes of the second half (when UW's 23-point lead got down to 14) and that was probably the best we've been on offense all year."
Washington (18-13), in the postseason in its first campaign under former Xavier top-10 coach McGuff, got its first win in a major national postseason tournament since the opening round of the 2006 NCAA tournament. The Huskies advanced to the WNIT second round this weekend against the winner of Thursday's game between Utah State (21-9) and Utah (15-15) in Salt Lake City.
The date for UW's second-round game is likely to be played Saturday or Sunday. A WNIT official said late Tuesday night the site is still to be determined.
Rogers obviously didn't want her 1,000-point career to end while playing in front of her twin brother Reggie for the first time this season. The All-Pac-12 inside force scored 15 of her points in the decisive opening half. She finished with her 10th double-double of the season.
Cal Poly (17-15) of the Big West Conference saw an early 8-2 lead evaporate under an avalanche of swishes outside by Davis, and by UW's continual entry passes to Rogers. She made seven of her first nine shots down low by repeatedly establishing prime position.
Asked if she felt she could get position in front of the rim any time she wanted against the shorter, slighter Mustangs, the 6-foot-3 Rogers smiled, nodded and said: "Pretty much."
"The coaches kind of yelled at me whenever I didn't think I had it," she said.
McGuff said Davis and the Huskies' guards mostly took it upon themselves to continually find the dominant Rogers inside.
"The team did a good job overall recognizing that and playing to our strengths," the coach said. "She had the hot hand, but we also called as much as we could to get the ball in her hands."
At times Rogers was shooting over four Mustangs - and still scoring - despite having to run through Cal Poly's many screens on defense to keep up with Cal Poly leading scorer Kristina Santiago.
Mustangs coach Faith Mimnaugh was certainly impressed. Floored like her team, actually.
"I thought that Davis and Rogers were awesome," Mimnaugh said. "It was hard for us not to bring the whole team to Rogers ... (We had) a bunch of munchkins around her.
"And Davis made us pay in the first half."
Then freshman Aminah Williams came off the bench to tie her career high with 12 points and had 10 rebounds for her first career double-double.
Williams said after seeing Rogers and Davis going wild early, she and fellow Huskies reserves felt compelled to keep up the break-neck scoring pace.
"Their intensity and their effort really push others," Williams said. "When we see them get going like that, we we've got to get our game going."
Santiago, the sixth ranked scorer in women's college basketball, was trying to guard Rogers -- until she committed her second foul with 8:27 left in the first half. Washington led 30-21 when Santiago and her team-high nine points went to Cal Poly's bench. The lead got up to 12 by the time Santiago returned 5 minutes later. And it kept growing with her back in.
With Davis firing away, Washington closed the half on a 19-3 run to eclipse the 49 points it dropped on Arizona in the first half Jan. 26.
Though Santiago finished with 28 points, the high for a Huskies opponent this season, Rogers and the Dawgs' defense made her work. Santiago took 27 shots for those 28 points, making 12.
Cal Poly made six of its first eight shots after halftime and eventually trimmed the lead to 66-53 with 12 minutes left. But Rogers then made a put back and then a free throw, and the Huskies were back up by 16.
Washington lost to Pac-12-newcomer Utah 49-36 in overtime in a slog Jan. 7 at Alaska Airlines Arena on Jan. 7. Rogers scored 10 points in 26 minutes before injuring her hamstring and missing the final 12 minutes of regulation and all of the extra period.
So the Huskies wouldn't mind the Utes beating Utah State Thursday to advance.
"I definitely want to play them again," Rogers said. "I really didn't get to play them the last time."
Davis still remembers Utah tying the game with a long-range bomb just before the regulation buzzer.
"We haven't forgotten about that," she said.
Wednesday's only drama - besides waiting to see whether all these Huskies would set career scoring and rebounding highs - came when Davis collapsed in the front court and withered in pain early in the second half. A trainer and team doctor came to her side and helped her from the floor. Davis spent a couple minutes in the tunnel to the right of the team bench gulping down fluids, which were coming furiously at her from multiple staffers, as if it was spewing from a hose.
"I've never had a Charley horse before," said Davis, the overlooked 5-8 guard out of the Bay Area who came to UW to be a nurse. "Yeah, I was definitely scared. I was like, `What happened to my leg? What is going on?'"
Davis returned after missing just 2 minutes of game time with nothing more a passing leg cramp.
So even that scary scene, like everything else for the Huskies Tuesday night, turned out just fine.