March 9, 2001
LOS ANGELES (AP) - After failing on the first attempt, Washington hopes to capture at least a share of the Pac-10 title and an automatic NCAA tournament bid in its season finale at UCLA on Saturday.
The 22nd-ranked Huskies (19-8, 12-6 Pac-10) finished with a dismal 8-22 mark last season, but will claim at least a share of this year's conference crown with a win over the Bruins. They will clinch the title outright with a win and if Arizona State loses to Stanford on Saturday.
It would be Washington's third conference title and definitely its most unexpected one, considering the team finished ninth in the Pac-10 last season.
The Huskies could miss out on the championship altogether if they lose to UCLA and Arizona State beats the Cardinal. If both the Huskies and Sun Devils lose, there would be a three-way tie for the conference title between Washington, ASU and Stanford.
Washington lost its first opportunity to clinch at least a share of the crown Thursday, losing 88-76 to Southern California. Andrea Lalum scored 19 points to pace the Huskies, who fell behind by 18 points early in the first half and never recovered.
Despite that defeat, the Huskies have put themselves in position to notch their first 20-win season since 1994-95 by winning eight of their last 10 games.
The Bruins (5-23, 4-13) are coming off a 93-61 win over Washington State at Pauley Pavilion on Thursday. Sophomore forward Kristee Porter scored a career-high 32 points to pace UCLA and junior guard Michelle Greco added 25, including the 1,000th of her collegiate career.
The Bruins, who have lost 10 of their last 12 games, will finish last in the conference regardless of Saturday's outcome.
UCLA lost 73-54 at Washington on Jan. 4 in the first meeting this season.