Huskies Run In WNIT Falls Short Against San Diego
March 25, 2012
SEATTLE - Kevin McGuff has been a head coach for 10 seasons now, and so he's used to painful moments this time of year. As he pointed out in the post-game press conference, the first-year Washington boss still hasn't managed to win the last game of the season.
"It's always a disappointment no matter how it comes down," McGuff said. "...It's always tough, and it just takes time to absorb everything and reflect back."
Goodbye are always tearful this time of year in college basketball, and for the Huskies it was no different as their WNIT run came to an end in the quarterfinals, falling 58-47 to San Diego at Alaska Airlines Arena on Sunday. Regina Rogers scored 20 points and 13 rebounds in her final collegiate game, but it wasn't enough to ward off a feisty Toreros squad that held the Huskies to just 25.9 percent shooting.
Nevertheless, McGuff's first season ended on a positive note as the Huskies authored a late-season run to secure a postseason berth, followed by three straight WNIT wins. This season also saw the development of a Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in Jazmine Davis, along with Rogers' ascension to elite-player status. But the extended season seemed to wear on a few of the Huskies. Players picked up nagging injuries, and tired legs led to front-rimmed shots.
This much was evident from that start, as San Diego staked itself to a 30-21 halftime lead. And while the Huskies used an 11-2 run in the second half to even up the game, the energy expended left them vulnerable at the end. Morgan Woodrow paced USD with 21 points, including five back-breaking three pointers.
"We looked a little bit worn out," McGuff said. "And they certainly played with a lot more energy in the first half, and that's why we had a lead. Like I said, I thought we got ourselves together and halftime and played really well, and really hard there, but we kind of ran out of gas at the end."
McGuff noted the Torero player who did the most damage was Sophia Ederaine, who came off the bench to secure 13 rebounds and block nine Husky shots. That tied for the most ever for a UW opponent, and it forced Rogers to really work for her points. Davis, meanwhile, struggled on just 2 of 14 shooting. The freshman, who admitted to fatigue, missed her first six shots as USD raced to an early lead.
Washington rallied to tie the game at 32-32, thanks to a pair of layups from Aminah Williams and solid post work by Rogers. San Diego took the lead for good with 11:36 remaining, courtesy of two free throws by Amy Kame. After a Huskies turnover, Woodrow extended the advantage with a triple.
The Huskies will take the next few weeks off to recuperate before the spring individual season begins. McGuff emphasized in the postgame locker room that weight room and skill development were going to be critical components of his offseason plan, and crucial factors to success going forward. McGuff's Xavier teams were regular in the NCAA Tournament, thanks to an identifiable style of play and student-athletes who embodied his system.
But the Huskies are well on their way.