Huskies Use Group Effort To Wear Down Seattle, 72-53
Nov. 16, 2011
SEATTLE - The first win for Kevin McGuff at Washington is in the books. And he'll take it, even if it doesn't come with the requisite style points.
In a foul-filled contest, the Husky women's basketball team used a lockdown defensive effort Wednesday to maneuver past Seattle University, 72-53. Mercedes Wetmore scored a career-best 16 points to lead UW, in addition to coolly commanding the offense against the Redhawks' full-court press. Jazmine Davis added 14 points for the Huskies, who have now won eight straight against SU.
Despite all the trappings of a budding rivalry, the Huskies never wanted to make this game about anything more than themselves. The program was coming off a spirited, yet ultimately disappointing, loss to UC-Davis in the season opener. Leading up to the game, the Huskies wanted to make the on-court effort better than it was last Friday.
This time, the Huskies were able to balance out the offense. Depth was also an advantage, as subs such as Aminah Williams (12 points) and Mackenzie Argens (12 points, nine rebounds) combined to wear down the Redhawks.
"I think depth is going to be a real asset for us during the season," McGuff said. "I think you saw that today when we had different people stepping up."
Ashley Ward paced the Redhawks with 16 points. But the Huskies did a wonderful job putting the clamps on star guard Talisa Rhea, a former Oregon State player who's had success against Washington in the past. Facing a wave of Husky defenders and tight man-to-man defense, Rhea was limited to just six points on 3-of-13 shooting. The senior also had eight turnovers. Charmaine Barlow was the Husky who had initial responsibility on Rhea, but it was a collective effort throughout.
On offense, the Huskies shot 45 percent from the field. They took control of the game early in the second half, whether it was the interior presence from Argens or Wetmore from the perimeter. It helped the Huskies absorb the prolonged absence of Regina Rogers, who played just 19 minutes because of foul trouble.
Following the game, McGuff refused to make a big deal about this first UW win. The former Xavier coach was brought aboard last April to instill the same principles that made his nine-year run in Cincinnati a success. He touched on the process of improving each day out, and he liked how his team rebounded after the defeat to UC-Davis. It's the same thought process that didn't allow his team to inflate the cross-town rivalry aspects of the game.
"I've trained myself over the years to just be focused on what we do on a daily basis," McGuff said. "But it was certainly nice to get a win."
Wetmore later wondered if her coach was playing his emotions close to the vest.
"I think it was more like, `Yes!'" the sophomore said while pantomiming a fist pump. "First one down, many more to come."
Quick Dribbles: The Huskies honored former letterwinner Melissa Erickson during an emotional halftime ceremony on Wednesday. Erickson is currently battling ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The Littleton, Colo., native was joined on the court by her family and teammates, and was given a standing ovation.