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January 31, 2009 at 11:20 AM

Washington versus Arizona State game thread

HUSKIES LOSE: The late surge didn’t pull Washington back into the game. Tiny lapses led to the loss. The Huskies aren’t talented enough as a whole to take any breaks on defense or waste a single offensive possession, still if they would have played with the kind of fire they showed tonight against Arizona, Oregon, and Oregon State, they would have won a few of those. Instead, the program-worst overall losing streak simply inches to eight with the 80-64 loss to ASU. Next week No. 7 California and No. 9 Stanford travel to Hec Ed. They defeated the Huskies by a combined 105 points in the Bay Area.
PAGING WHITCOMB: Whitcomb is en fuego. She’s got a career-high 29 points, scoring 20 of those points in the second half alone. Her last bucket, an outside jumper, put the Huskies with in 73-64. On defense, UW finally got a stop, forcing ASU into a shot clock violation. So, yeah, it’s “Game On!” at Hec Ed. There’s 3:03 remaining and January, who collected her fourth foul defending Whitcomb, is back in the lineup.
JANUARY BACK: Turner Thorne isn’t taking any chances, she put January on the court. Kingma, however, is getting evaluated for the third time this game. She’s 5 of 13 from the field and doesn’t show in signs of playing while on the court.
INTERESTING DILEMMA?: January just picked up her third foul and Washington is having a ball with the three-pointer. The ASU standout — the team’s best defender — is taking a seat. Can Washington capitalize, hit more threes and get back in the game? Whitcomb just hit another basket to make the score 63-54, but Simon answered with a runner to keep the UW celebration mild. There‚Äôs 7:55 remaining.
THREE-BALL: Whitcomb has hit two threes and Kingma made one — all from the same spot in front of the Huskies’ bench — to spark some life back in Hec Ed. The Huskies trail 60-49 because they aren’t getting any defensive stops. There’s 11:26 remaining in the game.
GAME OVER: It’s still early — 15:43 remaining in the game — yet the Huskies have only scored two points since the break. ASU is grabbing boards and getting points from their bench to help pile it on. A shot from Monroe native Kristen Thompson made the score 49-31 ASU. It’s odd because the Huskies used to have solid second halves and horrible starts. That swapped the past two games. UW is still searching for a complete game.
HALFTIME: ASU kept UW scoreless for the final 1:28 of the opening half while the Sun Devils stitched together a 8-0 run. Simon had five of those points, using her lithe frame to wiggle through the Huskies defense. ASU improved their shooting to 41.9 percent, making all 12 of their free throws. The Huskies shot 40.6 percent from the field in the opening half and collected seven steals. Yet, that last-minute drought will probably be key.
BUZZER BEATER: Well, the ASU expected at the opening tip finally showed at the final buzzer. With a last-second shot by Simon (a gorgeous floater), the Sun Devils took a 39-29 lead into halftime. Doubt the Huskies can battle back from that backbreaker. If they would have kept the score within five, maybe. But ASU is starting to feel it.
MONSTER STUFF: January isn’t getting any love in Hec Ed. McLellan just flew in for a monster block that was called for a foul and landed the Spokane native flat on her back. The Huskies were nice about, crowding around to be sure she was cool. But they didn’t help her up. The Huskies are down 33-29 with 1:05 left before the break.
ASU CLICKING: Getting their first shot off an offensive board, the Sun Devils used a 9-2 spurt to pull ahead 19-17. Kingma tied the score again, however, after a patient jumper in the paint. There’s 5:41 left in the opening half and the Huskies seem to have plenty of energy. Let’s see if they can start to smell blood and turn it up a notch to get the win.
STILL ROLLING: UW is fighting hard on defense and getting some offensive rewards because of it, just like Whitcomb said they would if the team focused. With nine minutes left before halftime, the Huskies lead 15-10 following a Young turnaround jumper. Too early to say if an upset is coming — wouldn’t be surprised if it happened — but it’s good to see the Huskies playing well. ASU, meanwhile, is working coach Charli Turner Thorne into a tizzy. The Sun Devils are shooting 29.4 percent from the field and have committed an uncharacteristic seven turnovers already. The Huskies have prevented the Sun Devils from getting a single second-chance shot and are outscoring ASU 10-8 inside.
STORM INVASION: Storm coach Brian Agler, CEO Karen Bryant and owners Anne Levinson, Ginny Gilder and Lisa Brummel are seated behind the hoop near the visitor’s bench. G Sheryl Swoopes was seatted across the home team’s bench. They have some auction items up for grabs today. The owners are awaiting the final vote regarding their 10-year lease with KeyArena, which should come Monday. Season ticket holders are also in attendance.
GOOD START: One way you can tell this team is still with Jackson is the way they continue to respond to pitfalls. The players have started hot against ASU, executing better than they have at Hec Ed all season. The opening highlights were a steal by McLellan that Rozier eventually used to setup Whitcomb for a layin. The Rozier tipped a steal to Whitcomb and McLellan had a rebound tipin. Add a shot by senior Heidi McNeil and the Huskies lead 8-4 going into the first timeout.
Press row commented on Thursday that this is probably the first time in Washington-Arizona State history that the Huskies have more Seattle-area players than the Sun Devils — jokingly of course. ASU is carrying just two Washingtonians this season compared to the three that were in the starting lineup last season.
The rave is about ASU senior Briann January, a 5-foot-8 guard who is the Pac-10 leader in assists (5.4) and steals (2.5). The Spokane native has worked with Phoenix native Dymond Simon (13.5 points) to get the Sun Devils on a six-game win streak to currently rank third in the conference.
Washington is looking to snap a program-record, seven-game losing streak. Freshman shooter Kristi Kingma was running around the court, getting her sprained left ankle ready, so it appears she’ll be in the lineup despite hobbling off the court on Thursday from re-aggravating the injury.
Coach Tia Jackson complained after the game of the Huskies attempting 31 three-pointers in the embarrassing loss to Arizona that night, but Kingma was the main culprit, attempting 12 and only hitting two. She was swishing the shot last week in LA, so it’s understandable why she continued to try. Plus, with a bum ankle, the three is easier than trying to dive inside for layins and getting knocked around.
ASU will clobber UW if they don’t attempt to get inside, though. The Sun Devils allow teams to shoot a conference-high 36.2 percent from three-point range. But ASU leads the league in defensive rebounding (30.7) — a bugger for Washington all season.
The Huskies are wearing their pink gear in honor of legendary coach Kay Yow, who died last Saturday after a long battle with breast cancer. The coaches and staff have switched to crisp white shirts adorned with pink ribbon pins, khaki pants and the pink-accented sneakers.
The game will be called by Phoenix Mercury GM Ann Meyers Drysdale and Jim Watson live on FSN and everyone looks ready, so let’s get to it.
Here’s your starting lineup:
HUSKIES
F Lydia Young
F Sami Whitcomb
C Laura McLellan
G Kristi Kingma
G Christina Rozier
SUN DEVILS
F Kayli Murphy
F Danielle Orsillo
C Sybil Dosty
G Dymond Simon
G Briann January
Tonight’s officials are Bob Scofield, Phil Streit, and Alejandro Moreno.

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