Defense Spurs Huskies To Comeback Win Over Southern
Dec. 20, 2011
SEATTLE - The Huskies got an early tune-up for the grueling gauntlet of Pac-12 play against some unexpected competition on Tuesday night.
The visiting Jaguars of Southern University took the Washington women's basketball team to the wire with an aggressive game plan before ultimately falling to the Dawgs, 64-56, at Alaska Airlines Arena in the Huskies' nonconference finale.
"We got a bit of a scare," said senior forward Charmaine Barlow. "We did better in the second half, but if we come out like that in the Pac-12, there's no coming back from that."
Senior Mackenzie Argens had 13 points and 12 rebounds for her second straight double-double - the fifth of her career - and Regina Rogers led Washington with 14 points despite fouling out with just over six minutes remaining.
Washington heads into the holiday break with an 8-2 record, winning eight nonconference games to open the season for the first time since the 2002-2003 campaign.
But it was far from easy. Southern, an affiliated HBCU institution in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, didn't seem fazed by the trek to Seattle from Baton Rouge, La., or the vocal crowd of 1,422 on hand. The Jaguars raced out to a 13-point lead with 3:24 left in the first half and held a 34-30 lead at halftime.
"We needed to come out ready to play and that didn't happen," said sophomore Mercedes Wetmore, who had 12 points and two steals. "Towards five minutes till the half we pulled together and got ourselves back a little bit."
Washington closed out the first half on an 11-2 run to pull within four, and then took a 46-40 lead with 11:42 remaining as Rogers chipped in 11 second-half points. Southern, led by 26 points from Kendra Coleman - the most by a Husky opponent this season - refused to go quietly, tying the game at 54-54 with 5:32 remaining. But Washington capitalized on second-half free throw chances, including a perfect 8-for-8 from freshman Jazmine Davis, to pull away.
Defense spurred the Huskies in the second half, thanks to a recommitted effort in closing out on shooters, defending the post and not giving up penetration in the lane. The Dawgs held the Jaguars to just 24 percent shooting in the second half, 32 percent for the game.
"I told the team that I thought we had learned this lesson before, that if you don't show up with great concentration and effort, you leave yourself incredibly vulnerable," head coach Kevin McGuff said. "They were playing hard and we weren't, and they were taking advantage of it."
Washington has the next eight days off before opening Pac-12 play at the Oregon schools, beginning with a trip to Corvallis on Dec. 29. Tip-off from Gill Coliseum is set for 7 p.m.