Strong Defensive Effort Allows UW To Corral Gauchos
Nov. 23, 2011
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- The plan was simple as Kevin McGuff led the Huskies on the road for the first time this season. Amplify the effort, focus and intensity, and the results will come.
Oh, and play some outstanding defense.
Washington women's basketball team hit all of those benchmarks, which allowed the Huskies to shrug off a somewhat frosty night shooting the ball. Regina Rogers led the Dawgs with 16 points and eight rebounds, leading the charge in a 46-37 win at the Thunderdome on Wednesday night.
"All week we've been focusing on defense," Rogers said. "Today is showed. We talked to each other (out there) and were able to neutralize (UCSB) ... We were showing Husky defense."
Despite hitting just 17-of-47 shots from the floor, the Huskies were able to escape the picturesque coastal school with a satisfying road win, something that's always valued in D-I basketball. The primary reason was defense, as the Gauchos shot just 22 percent from the field, thanks in large part to the Huskies ability to prevent penetration and close out on shooters.
"In general, we had to win with our defense and rebounding," McGuff said. "As I told our team in the locker room, that's why we work on that. We're trying to build an identity as a team that can have success in those areas."
With the victory, the Huskies improved to 3-1 on the young season. The Gauchos, who fell to 2-3, were coming off a WNIT berth last year and presented a formidable challenge for Washington, having comfortably won their first two home games.
The Huskies held the Gauchos to just 11 first-half points, squeezing off quality looks and limiting UCSB to just 4-of-26 (15.4 percent) in the opening half.
Defense was the focus in the halftime speech, and Washington refused to let up. The Huskies allowed hardly any space for Gaucho star Emilie Johnson, who hit just 2-of-14 shots. Johnson, who spent the summer playing for Team USA at the Pan-American Games, was also 0-of-5 from deep. Kelsey Adrian came off the bench for UCSB to lead her team with 14 points.
"I thought the kids played hard and really competed," McGuff said. "It's nice to know that, `Hey, sometimes the shots won't go in,' but we can still put ourselves in a position to win."
Jazmine Davis added 13 points, knocking down a trio of 3-pointers to help relax the Gauchos' defensive pressure on Rogers.
A second area that McGuff championed after the game was rebounding. The Huskies were plus-11 on the boards (45-34), preventing UCSB from second-chance opportunities.
Washington has the next two days off before heading to Viejas Arena to play San Diego State. The 3-1 Aztecs captured the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Hawaii last week, although they did drop a one-point decision to Portland in the final game.