Huskies Stunned In Eugene By Late Oregon 3-Pointer
Dec. 31, 2011
EUGENE, Ore. - Gone are some of the painful memories that haunted the Huskies at McArthur Court. But even with a snazzy new arena, the University of Oregon continues to be a house of horrors for the Washington women's basketball program.
A late 3-pointer from Ducks' forward Deanna Weaver delivered Oregon a comeback 88-86 win over the Huskies on Saturday afternoon, a game the Huskies led by as many as 16 in the second half. The loss prevented the Huskies (8-4, 0-2) from securing their first Pac-12 Conference win of the season.
Defense, a hallmark of Kevin McGuff's imprint on the program so far, was something that evaded the Huskies as the minutes dwindled off the clock.
"It was a simple screen that led to an uncontested shot," McGuff said of the game-winner from Weaver. "That was the story of the last few minutes - they had open shots and when they hit them, they made you pay."
Following the Weaver triple, the Huskies raced into the frontcourt. Mercedes Wetmore found Marjorie Heard at the top of the key, and the forward barreled her way into the paint for a layup. But a pair of Ducks came over to swat the shot, a block that had the UW bench howling because of the contact involved. McGuff noted, though, that the game shouldn't have come down to a miracle Husky escape.
After falling behind in the second half, the Ducks responded with a flurry of 3-pointers, taking chunks out of the Huskies' lead. Oregon (9-5, 1-1) hit 13 3-pointers, tied for the most the Dawgs have allowed this year. To compound the difficulty, the Huskies had to stave off the late comeback without Jazmine Davis and Regina Rogers, both of whom were disqualified.
The loss spoiled a career afternoon from Kellie McCann-Smith, who exploded with 26 points on the strength of six 3-pointers. With Oregon firmly planted in a zone, the sophomore was able to find creases on the wings for open looks. The Huskies as a whole were particularly accurate from behind the line, making a season-high 12 treys. Washington also scored 51 points off the bench, one game after tallying just two against the Beavers.
Mackenzie Argens nearly missed recording her fourth straight double-double, scoring 18 points to go along with nine rebounds. Argens came off the bench Saturday, but was strong throughout the game in the absence of Rogers, who played just 14 minutes. Having both her and Davis in the game late could have meant a different outcome, and McGuff said their presence is paramount to the Huskies success, particularly with the senior leadership that Rogers brings.
"At the end we just needed to stay within ourselves and do what we do, instead of trying to rush," McCann-Smith said. "Defensively we just broke down and we have a long process to go in fixing that."
The Huskies came into the game as one of the best teams in the Pac-12 - and the nation for that matter - in field goal percentage defense. And the Ducks didn't shoot the ball particularly great, making just 38 percent of their 63 attempts. Several of those looks were converted late, which ultimately is what ruined the Huskies chance of escaping with a win.
Arial Thomas led the Ducks with 22 points. She teamed with Seattle native Nia Jackson, who returned from a right knee injury to add 19 points. Jackson was also a terror on defense, recording three steals as the bulldog atop the Ducks' pressing defense. Oregon as a team had 15 steals, and hounded Davis into eight turnovers - a rude introduction for the freshman to Pac-12 defense.
Washington made the trip to the Willamette Valley bent on taking two wins back home to Seattle. But McGuff knows his young program still has plenty of room to go, and plenty of opportunities remain for the Huskies to make an impact. The next opportunity comes in the form of the newest Pac-12 members - Colorado and Utah - at Alaska Airlines Arena starting on Jan. 5 against the Buffaloes.