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February 20, 2009 at 6:36 PM

UCLA versus Washington game thread

HUSKIES WIN: There were a couple of tacky fouls in the end by UW, but who cares? The Huskies finally won a game. It’s nearly been two months since anyone in purple (and pink tonight) could say that. The team remains in last place in the Pac-10 and could still set a school record for conference losses. But the Huskies won and held the Bruins to a Husky-opponent low 49 points in winning by 10.
MACK-ENDER: Can Mackenzie Argens get a double fist pump? She just ended a five-minute UW drought, forcing a UCLA turnover and eventually scoring on the other end off a Whitcomb assist to make the lead 52-45. The Huskies are in a double bonus now, not that free throw shooting has been the team’s strong suit this season. Coach Tia Jackson said the team does a wide range of drills to work on the shot, we’ll see if any of it comes together tonight.
TIMEOUT: Rozier got away with a bad carry, but UW ended up turning the ball over anyway and UCLA scored to pull within 50-45 with 4:11 remaining in the game. The Bruins were in a scoring drought, but have revived themselves with defense. We’ll see if Washington can hang on.
OH ROMEO: We’ve heard about the Aussie’s ability to hit the three-point ball, but haven’t seen it until tonight. She made two in the game to help the Huskies move ahead 37-26 with 12:31 remaining. The Bruins are shooting 30.6 percent from the field and look like, well, the Huskies in nearly every other game this season.
GOOD EFFORT: Lay just collected an assist and knock to the head on a strong hustle play. Off balanced, she caught a pass in the middle of the floor and touch-passed it ahead to Rozier for an open layin. As Lay made the play, a defender knocked her in the head and Lay went stumbling to the court. She’s currently on the bench and the Huskies are ahead 29-23.
HALFTIME: Washington is hitting the offensive boards to help them lead by eight at the break. The Huskies are also getting bench help with the reserves chipping in 11 points — eight from McLellan. Whitcomb said the guards have been talking to the bigs about getting them the right touches and it seems to have worked. UW is also benefiting from the Bruins being without Campbell, UCLA’s go-to scorer. UCLA is 9 of 26 from the field and has 17 turnovers.
SHOOTING SPREE: Got a circus shot? Let the Huskies know about it and they’ll surely convert it for two points tonight. So far C Laura McLellan, Kingma, and Rozier have had dazzling, unbelievable buckets to help the Huskies close the opening half ahead 27-19. It’s just the second time this season that UW has led at halftime. The Dawgs also led against Oregon on the road and lost and against WSU, winning. It’s the Huskies’ biggest halftime lead since 29-13 against Pepperdine in December.
LIVE ON FSN: If you want a little live action (because I know you’ll still click the blog for updates) you should tune into Fox Sports Net to see Washington State take on Southern California. As a special treat, former Storm G Sheryl Swoopes (pictured below, right) is providing the color analysts with Brad Adams handling the play-by-play.
SwoopesFSN.jpg
HOMECOMING: Former Chief Sealth star Christina Nzekwe is back for her second debut at Hec Ed since signing with the Bruins. She entered off the bench and is 0-for-3 from the field. Actually everyone is playing anemic this evening. There’s a combined 20 turnovers (UCLA averages 20) and neither team is shooting above 32 percent. UW leads, though 14-10 after a Whitcomb three-pointer with 7:00 remaining in the opening half.
UCLA, which is vying for a NCAA tournament berth, will play tonight’s game against Washington without sophomore guard Doreena Campbell. The team’s leading scorer (13.3), Campbell suffered a blow to the face at practice Wednesday afternoon. She has experienced blurry vision since and is unable to play because it has not cleared.
The Bruins have lost four of their past five games. First-year coach Nikki Caldwell said playing on the road has troubled her seasoned team, which tends to ride the emotions of the home crowd. It’ll be interesting to see who replaces Campbell’s scoring and how UCLA does at Hec Ed. Washington has only won here once this season, but the crowd can be loud when they see the Huskies truly hustling.
UW is looking to end a 12-game losing streak, playing their final two games of the season at home. Everyone in their camp is as healthy as can be at this point in the season. Both teams are wearing pink uniforms as part of the Pink Zone initiative to raise breast cancer awareness.
Here are tonight’s starting lineups:
WASHINGTON
F Sami Whitcomb
F Sara Mosiman
C Liz Lay
G Kristi Kingma
G Christina Rozier
UCLA
F Atonye Nyingifa
F Erica Tukiainen
C Moniquee Alexander
G Tierra Henderson
G Allison Taka
Tonight’s officials are Scott Yarbrough, Debbie Adams, and Alejandro Moreno.

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