Rogers A Dominant Force As Huskies Rally Past Pilots
Dec. 9, 2011
SEATTLE - Above all else, Kevin McGuff preached toughness when he met with his team at halftime. The Washington women's basketball coach didn't want any team, particularly a regional rival, to come into Alaska Airlines Arena and dictate their style of play.
With a resplendent effort in the final 20 minutes, the Huskies converted a halftime deficit into 61-49 win over Portland on Friday night at Alaska Airlines Arena. Regina Rogers led all scorers with 26 points and nine rebounds, once again shouldering the offensive load for the Dawgs. Nineteen of Rogers' points came in the second half, as the senior was able to dominate the inside of the Pilots' 2-3 zone, powering through Portland defenders.
"We just needed to make sure we were the most aggressive team in the second half," said McGuff. "We really attacked the basket when we got down low and were able to make it to the free throw line."
The win allowed the Huskies (6-2) to continue their best non-conference start since the 2005-06 season. Washington continued with its trend of being able to outfox teams in the second half, thanks to adjustments from McGuff and his assistants. This time around, the Huskies put the clamps on a hot-shooting Portland team that hit 45 percent of its shots in the first half, including five from beyond the arc.
"It seemed like everything that shot was going in, Portland is a good team," said point guard Jazmine Davis. "They knock down shots and they make you pay if you slack on defense. We just kept battling and kept battling and focused on transition, and kept a consistent pace."
Davis provided offensive support with 13 points, including a pair of treys. But McGuff made sure to reserve praise for fellow freshman Aminah Williams, who set a personal best with five steals and two blocks, in addition to four points. The action-packed stat line earned her increased minutes in the second half, and she drew praise from the 1,553 in attendance for her hustle and effort.
Portland (5-5) entered the game proud of its status as a dangerous mid-major. The Pilots knocked off San Diego State earlier in the season, the same Aztecs program that toppled Washington over the Thanksgiving break. And they have a potential West Coast Conference Player of the Year in Natalie Day, a sleek 6-0 win with the ability to score from all over the court.
Although Day scored a team-high 18 points, the Huskies were able to limit her looks and forced the senior into nine turnovers. Portland committed 21 giveaways in total, leading to 24 Husky points. Meanwhile, UW committed just 15 turnovers against an active Pilots' zone, designed to hide their lack of size in the post. Once Rogers was able to get open on the low blocks, she had no problems converting those looks into points.
Rogers finished 10-of-17 from the floor, and made 6-of-8 from the line. McGuff said those easy looks came as a direct result of her work ethic in the second half, running the floor and muscling for position.
"She was doing a better job at getting position," McGuff said. "She's tough to play when she gets the ball around the basket."
Washington will take the next eight days off to rest, knock out final exams and regroup in practice. Then it's a Dec. 18 home date with a Houston program that went to the NCAA Tournament last season.