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January 3, 2009 at 6:34 PM

WSU post-game notes, quotes

We’re going to have to get out of here fast to get to Spokane so I don’t have as much time to put together a post-game entry.
But here are a few quick notes and quotes:
— Don’t let anyone kid you that this wasn’t a big one for the Huskies. As they ran off the court and up the tunnel to the locker room — and out of public view — some of the UW players leapt into the air as if they were going for a game-winning dunk. Justin Holiday ran up the tunnel and gave a hearty chest-bump to Quincy Pondexter who screamed a hearty “yeah.”
— UW coach Lorenzo Romar was understandably happy about this one saying this was “the type of effort we’ve talked about since October.”
— As for the streak, Romar said “don’t get me wrong. You do feel like ‘okay, we got one done against Washington State. But at the same time, we went on the road tonight and won and that’s huge. To finish in the top half of this conference, you have to win some road games. We got that done tonight. That’s what sticks in my mind more than anything.”
— This was UW’s best overall shooting game of the year if you throw in the 12-14 performance at the free throw line. UW was 25-52 from the field, the fourth-best percentage of the year, and a critical 6-11 from the three-point line. Romar again praised his team’s improving shot selection saying that the Huskies did an especially good job of regrouping after getting offensive rebounds instead of immediately hurrying up another shot.
— But there wasn’t much UW didn’t do well today. The 11 turnovers were a season-low, and the plus-16 margin on the boards the third-best of the year. UW also had 11 assists to just four for the Cougars.
— This was also as much of a team effort as UW has had all season with four players scoring 10 or more points — impressive balance in a game when it scored only 68 total.
— Several players turned in what might have been their best games of the year, notably Pondexter (16 points, seven rebounds, three assists, no turnovers in 34 minutes) and Justin Dentmon (17 points on 6-8 shooting and 4-4 three-pointers). His threes were especially big as the Huskies knew they would have to hit some to win this one — and that hasn’t been UW’s strong suit to date. All six came from Dentmon and Isaiah Thomas, but it proved enough.
— Said Dentmon of his shooting: “I just that we neded a boost from the outside. I knew the bigs were getting hit down low and getting fouled and I just felt I had my feet down under me and knocked the shots down.”
— Said Romar of Pondexter’s game: “Quincy played an outstanding game. He led us in rebounds, three assists, no turnovers, played good defense, played smart defense. He did a heck of a job.”
— The Cougars seemed more concerned with what the loss said about where this year’s team is headed than with the end of the seven-game winning streak against UW. “A lot of Washington State basketball is about getting motivated and getting pumped up on the defensive end,” said guard Taylor Rochestie. “When you’re not getting stops, and you’re a defensive team, that plays a role offensively. When we’re getting gritty and getting stops defensively, it fires up our
offense and we start breaking teams down.”
— Pondexter said the fact the team could win the way it did without a stellar game from Jon Brockman was telling about the difference in this team versus the last two. The 10 points were the fewest for Brockman since the Kansas game and the four rebounds the fewest of the season. And he didn’t score until there was roughly three minutes left in the first half. “In the past, we were too immature,” Pondexter said. “We weren’t smart enough, we weren’t old enough. We didn’t know what it took to win games being smart. He’s the leader and the catalyst of this team and he was still leading us. It’s just that we all matured and did our parts.”
All for now.

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