Williams Downs Portland State As UW Wins Opener, 51-50
Nov. 14, 2010
by Gregg Bell
Williams missed her first nine shots from the field and two more from the foul line Sunday afternoon in Washington’s season opener. But alone on the baseline 15 feet from the basket, with 22 seconds on the clock and her Huskies down one, she forgot about all that.
“Pretty much, yeah,” the emerging junior said later, laughing. “Like Ray Allen, right? Bad shooting days, keep shooting.”
Williams’ final shot swished when it needed to most. That allowed the gritty Huskies to overcome injuries, a tough shooting debut and foul trouble to rally past Portland State 51-50 at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
Asked if she realized she was O for the day before her winning shot, Williams shot an incredulous look and said, “I realized I was open. … I was open, right?
“We always talk in practice and before games that you have to have a short memory, especially in basketball. So many other things can happen.”
Kristi Kingma, playing point guard because senior Sarah Morton was in street clothes wearing a walking boot, scored 18 points for Washington. So did Regina Rogers, who battled a sore hamstring that had her prone in a tunnel near the bench at times. Rogers came off the bench following two quick fouls on Mackenzie Argens in the opening minutes.
Williams, who did not start a game last season, added a career-high 13 rebounds with five assists and two blocks in Washington’s first opening win since 2005.
She also came back from a Portland State elbow into her stomach early in the game. That left Williams at first doubled over on the bench, and then chewing a towel to deflect the pain.
After her clutch shot, Portland State missed and lost control of an offensive rebound. Kingma missed the front end of a 1-and-1 foul shot with 2 seconds left, but the Vikings could not get off a shot before the final buzzer.
The Huskies held the Vikings scoreless for the first 8 minutes and then the final 4:34 of the game. UW squandered a 14-0 lead early, yet rallied from seven points down in the second half despite shooting 35.7 percent from the field and just 30 percent (7 of 23) from the line.
“Our togetherness reigned above it all,” fourth-year UW coach Tia Jackson said.
The deciding play was set for either Kingma, who endured a 6-for-17 shooting day, or for Rogers, who dominated by going 9-for-14 inside. But Portland State clamped down on Kingma outside and double-teamed Rogers down low.
Rogers kicked a pass out of the double team to fill-in starter Charmaine Barlow, who found Williams open on the right base line.
Asked if Williams was the option Jackson wanted there, the coach thought of the 0-for-9, smiled and joked, “Sure. Did it go in? Doggone it, it was the shot we wanted.”
It was a turnabout from last fall when Portland State beat Washington at the buzzer in the opener. Kingma missed that game.
The Huskies saw their two starting posts, Argens and freshman Marjorie Heard, each pick up her third foul early in the second half. Then Williams, who had 14 points and 16 rebounds in just 19 minutes in last week's exhibition win over Western Washington, got her third foul with 10 1/2 minutes remaining and the Huskies trailing 44-37.
When Argens was called for foul No. 4 with 8 minutes left, Williams was on the bench in pain, chewing on a towel again. So Argens stayed in, and Rogers limped back into the game with Washington still down 46-39.
Then Kingma erupted with consecutive 3-pointers that were seemingly out of nowhere given UW's shooting woes to that point.
“I hit those two 3’s, and it just seemed like the basket opened up,” Kingma said.
Freshman guard Mercedes Wetmore then fought for a rebound on a Vikings miss, and Rogers scored inside to give the Huskies their first lead of the second half, 47-46 with 6:05 left. Rogers and Kingma shared a comical chest bump at the middle of the court after Portland State called time out.
“I was scared a little bit,” Kingma said. “We were both running so fast at that point.”
Kingma, a junior, is expected to carry much of the scoring burden left by the departure of Sami Whitcomb, the Huskies senior leader last season. Sunday, Washington asked Kingma to also carry the load of running the offense because Morton was out. The Huskies' only senior was on the bench with a walking boot over her left foot and ankle.
Jackson said Morton could miss a week or two with a sprained ankle she sustained in practice last week.
Without her, Kingma moved to point guard and Barlow started at shooting guard - and missed all six of her shots. Kingma started 2 for 7.
The Huskies were just nine for 28 (32 percent) from the in the opening half.
Portland State helped put itself in its early hole with seven turnovers in the first 8 minutes, and they didn't score until 11:59 remained in the opening half. They had just three over the final 12 minutes of the period while they fought all the way back. The Vikings led 27-25 lead at the break despite shooting just 29 percent themselves.
“Well, we’ve always said we had depth. I just didn’t want to be challenged in the first game with that,” Jackson deadpanned. “But those were the cards we were dealt.
“I’m certainly proud of our girls.”