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February 22, 2009 at 1:45 PM

Washington versus USC game thread

HUSKIES LOSE: The Huskies close their home Pac-10 play having only won twice at Hec Ed, losing 77-53 to USC. There’s a reception for the seniors for all fans. Doubt it will be upbeat. Augustavo and Romeo were the only UW players not to score. Cameron led her team with 13 points on 5 of 12 shooting. The Huskies end the regular-season with three road games. They’ll play a Pac-10 tourney opener on March 12.
CALLED IT: USC coach Mark Trakh is playing deep reserves Michelle Franco, Daniela Roark, Michelle Jenkins, Nicole Berberet, and Hailey Dunham, calling the game. With two minutes remaining. With 47.7 seconds left, Jackson pulled her seniors so they could receive their standing ovation.
AARIKA HUGHES OUT: Hughes was assisted off the court after apparently being fouled by Lay in a fight for a rebound. The crowd, again, does not like the call. Reality check, though, UW is down 73-50 with 2:23 remaining. No Husky player has scored in double figures with Argens leading with eight points. UPDATE: Hughes had a gash under her right eye that needed about six stitches, which happened at Hec Ed. Trakh said she looked like a boxer, but has a fighter’s mentality as a player, doing the dirty work inside. “She’s going to look like Rocky for a while,” he said. “Hopefully she’ll be ready by Thursday.”
SENIOR BOARD: Jackson played different combos with the youth movement, but now seniors Augustavo and McNeill are back in the game. McNeill will close out her playing career at Hec Ed having scored, but Augustavo is scoreless with one attempt and two boards.
PARKER VS. CAMERON: See, the issue I have with all the hoopla surrounding Candace Parker being pregnant, has nothing to do with Parker at all. It’s like I said in the past, so many players have done it that it’s such a non-story. Like Cameron, who’s home gym is miles from the Los Angeles Sparks’ Staples Center. Have we really forgotten how Cameron redshirted her junior season to give birth to son Cole , a.k.a. Arizona QB Matt Leinart’s offspring? Cameron, after reaching a custody deal with Leinart, is busy studying and staring for USC. Is that really any different than Parker. I’d say Cameron’s road is a little harder because she is in school and not a professional, having more control over her time. So, where’s the parade and full-page spread for her chosing to balance motherhood, career, and education? Anyway, Cameron, 22, has 10 points in helping USC to a 64-42 lead with 4:59 remaining in the game.
HOMETOWN STROKE: Freshman Ashley Corral has struggled as of late, but she finally made a bucket today – a three-pointer with 12:03 remaining in the game to put the Trojans up 45-32. Corral considered UW, but opted for USC during the coaching change. A former Prairie High (Vancouver) star, she’s 1 of 5 from the field. She cracked me up during an interview earlier this season when she said meeting “The Fonz” cemented her decision to be a Trojan. She’s a huge fan.
NO HEATWAVE: The break didn’t help thaw the Huskies’ icy shooting. Even with USC making some errors, UW still trails 36-26. Both teams are also nearing the double-bonus, which could make for a long trek to the final buzzer.
HALFTIME: Hec Ed is booing the officials as they leave the court, still smarting over a call against Rozier that replays showed should have gone against USC. It killed their flow of a 6-0 UW run to end the half. Washington is down 31-19 solely because of their inability to break through the Trojan’s defense or stop USC inside. UW men Quincy Pondexter and Darnell Gant are in the audience. UW would have to find some loophole to allow the two of them to play in order to get a win today. The Huskies’ bench continues to be productive, outscoring USC’s 11-2. Gilbreath is leading the Trojans with nine points while Parker has six boards. Rozier has five boards for UW.
DEEP FREEZE: The Huskies are in the midst of a four-minute drought, getting outscored 11-0 by USC. Shooting 18.5 percent from the field (5 of 27), this is definitely not a game the seniors will want to remember. Score is 31-13 with 2:02 left before halftime.
YOUNG BUNCH: It produced a few buckets, so can’t say much. But Jackson has put a different lineup on the court in sophomore Mackenzie Argens, Liz Lay, Nicole Romeo, Sarah Morton, and Kingma. Argens actually scored twice and Lay once to inch the Huskies within 20-13 with 6:00 remaining.
ZONE SEALANT: The Huskies can’t get the ball inside, which will probably make USC sit in their tight zone for the remainder of the game. The Huskies are also 1 of 14 from the field, another reason not to move out of the zone. USC is up 14-4 with 11:30 remaining. The Huskies are outrebounding the Trojans 11-9.
WHOA!: Jackson called a quick timeout with 18:23 remaining in the opening half after the Trojans jumped out to a 7-0 lead, finding plenty of holes in the Huskies’ defense. The response was a made basket by McLellan out of the break, but the Huskies are 1 of 8 from the field while allowing 57.1 percent (4 of 7). UW is down 9-2 with 15:57 remaining.
FLOWERY RECEPTION: In a smooth move that I’m not sure I’ve seen before (I’m new), the Huskies recognized the four USC seniors with a bouquet of flowers in Parker, LeNoir, Nicole Berberet, and Cameron. Then the Huskies gave their own players and their mother’s a similar arrangement. The Huskies also recognized senior student manager McCall Hall, who has interned with the Storm in the past.
When asked if Washington should dare dream of a winning streak after not being able to string back-to-back wins together since exhibition play, coach Tia Jackson was succinct. “Why not?” she said.
The Huskies have a favorable schedule to close the regular-season, hosting Southern California today, which has lost four of its past six games. Then Washington hits the road to play No. 25 Arizona State, Arizona and Washington State, which are both 3-11 in conference play.
Players have even brought back an old-school term from the beginning of the season, “undefeation,” in hopes of motivating themselves to go undefeated in their final five games. The Huskies won the first against UCLA on Friday to break a 12-game losing streak.
Today’s matchup against USC is “Senior Night,” so there is some emotion in Hec Ed, although it’s pretty quiet right now. You can count how many people are clapping when the band finishes a song.
The Dawgs are in their pink-accent uniforms in honor of raising breast cancer awareness and USC is wearing pink shooting T-shirts. Hopefully this isn’t crass considering the intent of wearing pink, but I’m glad it’s a little calmer this afternoon. Friday’s matchup, where both teams were drowning in pink, was overload for my eyes. If I didn’t know faces, I wouldn’t have known whom was playing for who.
Anyway, it was interesting talking to both seniors about their post-collegiate plans. G Michelle Augustavo, who wants to be a college coach, is looking forward having control over her schedule again. “Yoga with my sister, I’m never able to do that now,” she said. Meanwhile F Heidi McNeill is looking to play overseas. Players with her stature (6-foot-3) can make solid money overseas. If she can stomach being away from home, she could make a good living. It’s extremely doubtful she pops up in the WNBA without drastic ball-handling improvement and the league increasing teams and roster size.
Trojans senior Nadia Parker (6-3 of Spanaway) is another player who may have slipped into the league in the past, but with rosters trimmed from 13 to 11 and just 15 permitted at camp, she’s a long shot among a class deep with post players. She may play overseas, but after getting hit by a car while ridding her bike on campus in October, she’s just happy to be playing at all.
Here are tonight’s starting lineups:
WSHINGTON
F Sami Whitcomb
F Mollie Williams
C Laura McLellan
G Krsiti Kingma
G Christina Roizer
TROJANS
F Briana Gilbreath
F Heather Oliver
C Nadia Parker
G Brynn Cameron
G Camille LeNoir
Tonight’s officials are Scotty Hermann, Brenda Pantoja, and Brian Hall.

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