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November 16, 2008 at 1:42 PM

UW vs. Gonzaga game thread

HUSKIES LOSE: There was a game-changing play where in the closing minute Morton was called for a charge instead of drawing the defensive foul on a made driving layin. It could have put the Huskies down two, yet the call made the score 60-55 in favor of the Zags. The momentum swing was enough to give the visitors a 64-59 win. It’s the first time Gonzaga has defeated Washington in Seattle. The Huskies are 22-13 in season openers, traveling to play at Weber State on Wednesday.
DAWG PILE: Some are headed to the exits as Gonzaga has built a 57-51 lead, their largest of the game, on a series of plays all featuring Vandersloot, the Kent native. The Bulldogs onslaught started with her three-pointer. Then a Frieson steal led to Vandersloot zinging a pass inside to Shives to make the score 57-51 with 1:50 left. Again, if the Huskies had taken advantage of the Zags horrible shooting earlier and grabbed some rebounds, I think Washington would be the one celebrating a victory.
BRIEF LEAD: It didn’t last a minute, but the Zags had their first lead of the game off a Schaefer jumper with 9:14 remaining. The bucket made the score 43-42. But Whitcomb quickly put her team back ahead, bearing down and bulldozing her way into the paint to draw the foul on an inclosing defense. She made both FTs to put the Huskies back ahead 44-43.
TIE GAME: A Vandersloot three-pointer at the top of the key tied the game at 34 points with 15:25 remaining. The only other tie was at 7-7 in the opening half.
FIVE FOR FIVE: Gonzaga started the second half shooting the same, but Washington is still allowing the Zags first dibs on the rebounds. Two early Bulldog offensive boards eventually led to a Vandersloot three-point. Add a pair of free throws and that Husky lead is teetering at 32-31 with 17:26 remaining. The apparent failure to rebound motivated Jackson to sub her entire starting five lineup.
HALFTTIME: Gonzaga is settling in, but that’s not making the shot drop. What’s saving them is outrebounding Washington 29-21 — 16-5 on the offensive glass. Jackson wanted rebounding to a focus and it was in the breezy exhibition games, but the team is getting outworked under the boards tonight. It’ll get better as long as McLellan stays healthy. Her size is a plus, only instead of grabbing the board, she smacks it as if her hand is a tennis racket. McNeill (six boards) is still the team’s bet rebounder this season. The Huskies took a 30-24 lead into the break, missing an opportunity to add to the lead in the waning 15 seconds. Whitcomb stopped Gonzaga from getting a lift off a closing bucket with her defense on a fastbreak. In the second half, both teams need better shooting — Gonzaga finishing the half 10-for-43 — and Washington needs to work the boards.
DAWGS IN THE HOUSE: They understandably don’t look happy, losing to Portland in their season-opener on Saturday, but the Husky men’s basketball team is at Hec Ed supporting the women. Also in the crowd is Joyce Walker with some of her Kingston High players. Walker is an associate head coach at the school and was Frieson’s coach at Garfield, leading the team to state. Have to say that the Zag bench is louder than everyone in purple. They’re just constant chatter while the fans in purple only cheer when the Huskies score.
GETTING SLOPPY: An familiar trait of Jackson’s is reemerging as the Huskies have racked up three turnovers in a two-minutes span — yanking players quickly after mistakes. Some coaches say they do this to teach, but it looks and feels like a quick trigger and immediate punishment. The miscues and Vandersloot finding her shot as allowed the Zags to pull within 18-13 with 8:18 remaining.
MISSING ATTACK: This is comical. The Zags are 2-for-23 from the field at the 12:11 mark. The problem is the Huskies only lead 14-7, shooting 44 percent from the field. The Dawgs really needed to attack at this point with some strong shooting. Kingma and Whitcomb have made three-points, the freshman’s making the score 17-7. But if Gonzaga makes adjustments and ends of winning, they’ll surely come back to this opening half where they good have easily buried the Bulldogs.
A LITTLE SHORT: Ya think the Zags are working out a few nerves? The Bulldogs are 1 for 10 from the field, including a Frieson fastbreak that somehow bricked off the backboard, as if the glass was playing defense for Washington. The Zags are getting point off the line (with some questionable calls, if I may), to only trail 7-5 with 15:33 remaining. Should add the contrast that the Huskies are 2 for 6 from the field.
MCLELLAN STARTING: OK, ignore what’s below. Turns out C Laura McLellan (right knee) looks good enough to start, even though she didn’t appear in any of the exhibition games while junior F Heather Bowman, who had elbow surgery on Nov. 2, is healthy enough to play for the Zags. The official lineups are BekKering, Frieson, Vandersloot, Bowman, and Schaefer for Gonzaga. McLellan, McNeill, Whitcomb, Kingma, Morton for Washington. McNeill had a dump pass into McLellan, who laid it in for the Huskies first points. They lead 2-0 with 19:11 remaining in the opening half.
Edmundson Pavilion is starting to fill up with purple as the Huskies prepare to open their second season under coach Tia Jackson. Everyone practiced on Saturday, so juco transfer Lydia Young should be in the starting lineup with mainstays PG Sarah Moton, SG Kristi Kingma, SF Sami Whitcomb, and F Heidi McNeill. But Jackson left the final decision to game-time, so keep that in pencil.
The Zags are an interesting lineup. Of course Husky transfer Katelan Redmon is on the bench, making her return since the exodus. But she’s not playing, needing to sit out a season. Whitcomb said it would be a weird opener if Redmond was playing, “but since she’ll be on the bench, we probably won’t think about it much.” The Bulldogs have so many scorers and are so comfortable playing each other, although two of their starters are underclassmen. The game is a homecoming for junior Vivian Frierson, who starred at Garfield.
If the Huskies can manage a win, it’ll brighten the sport landscape in Seattle. Especially after that football game Saturday night. The Seahawks are already down 10-0 in the opening quarter and I’m beginning to think only the women can manage wins in this town. What does that say?
How about, let’s play ball!
Here’s your starting lineups:
WASHINGTON
F Sami Whitcomb
F Heidi McNeill
C Mackenzie Argens
G Kristi Kingma
G Sarah Morton
GONZAGA
F Jami Schaefer
FJanelle Bekkering
C Kayla Standish
G Courtney Vandersloot
G Tiffanie Shives
Tonight’s officials are Randy Campbell, Kyle Bacon, and Mazetta Garrett.

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