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January 7, 2010 at 6:52 PM

Game thread: Arizona State at Washington

LIL’ RESPECT?: Two Huskies cheerleaders should be docked a couple of cool points. They wanted to take pictures at the interview table where coaches and players sit in the UW media room. Fine, except that Jackson had just walked into the room and they didn’t budge, making everyone wait for their little photo shoot. Finally Jackson approached closer, with her PR rep, telling the cheerleaders they had to move but they could “leave the pom-poms.” Perhaps if Jackson continues to win, her cheerleaders will see when she steps in and clear out.
HUSKIES WIN: The final moments were just a matter of the time ticking off the clock. Trialing by six, ASU tried to foul to gain possession, wanting to put McLellan on the line as the worst FT shooter on the court. But it did nothing but slow the inevitable — a Huskies win 62-56. Whitcomb was awarded the game ball and now everyone is in the press room watching the BCS national championship game.
SLAMMIN’ SAMI: Whitcomb nailed another deep three-pointer to keep the Huskies ahead 54-48 with 3:23 remaining in the game. She has 24 points on 8-for-15 shooting, including 5-of-7 from three-point range.
ROCKY PATCH: The Huskies lead 44-40, but don’t look as smooth as they did in the closing minutes of the first half. Whitcomb has been held scoreless, but continues to rebound to tally a double-double — the fourth of her career, third of season. A putback by Rogers just made the score 46-40 with 7:33 remaining.
MIAMI VICE: Rozier, who’s from Miami, may have used the European step-thru, but wasn’t called for the travel in scoring a flashy layin with 14:11 remaining. Her back-to-back buckets have given the Huskies a 40-34 lead, forcing ASU to call time. The Sun Devils are shooting 2-for-11 in the half.
HALFTIME: Jackson told her team it would have to rebound in order to win and so far the Huksies have, grabbing 18 to the Sun Devils’ 14. Whitcomb started hot tonight, leading her team with 16 points and eight boards. No other Huskies player has more than five points or two boards. So, expect ASU to really focus on the senior in the second half. But the Sun Devils’ youth hurts. They have to get focused and recognize that Whitcomb can score multiple types of ways on the court. Tobin is leading ASU with nine points and Murphy wants to get in a shooting duel with Whitcomb, but is 4-for-8 for eight points at the break. UW is on a high, but I think ASU has a few more pushes it can make to challenge for the win. If not, it’ll be the school’s first time losing to UW since December 2004.
BUZZER BEATER: Whitcomb hit a deep three-pointer before the halftime buzzer sounded, nullifying the fact that Williams couldn’t hit underneath after grabbing two offensive boards. Whitcomb’s shot gave the Huskies a 34-30 lead at the break and was Whitcomb’s 1,000th-point. She’s the 21st player in UW history to reach the plateau.
WILLIAMS BACK: There’s a warm applause for Williams as she checks back into the game with 2:20 remaining. She replaced Christina Rozier. The Huskies pulled ahead 29-25 after a sweet spinning layin by Whitcomb, which drew a foul for a three-point play, and four points by Morton. There’s 1:28 left before halftime.
MO WILL?: Williams is wearing a sleeve over her right knee and is doing some jumping exercises with athletic trainer Jenn Ratcliff in the lower concourse in front of the UW locker room. Williams, who is currently ridding a stationary bike, is still favoring the knee when she walks, but could return. Huskies down 23-22 after ASU used a 10-3 run to pull ahead. There’s 5:23 on the clock.
SPOTTED: I expected a bigger crowd for UW’s conference homecoming, it’s pretty sparse at Hec Ed. But former post Heidi Mc’Neill is in attendance. She practiced with the team this week and departs to return to her Austrian team this weekend. Huskies lead 21-18 with 8:51 remaining in the half.
WILLIAMS HURT: Williams was playing well, helping the Huskies build a 15-13 lead with three points and one rebound. She’s being assisted off the court by staff with an apparent right knee injury. UW has already lost four players due to injury this season in Lydia Young (knee), Liz Lay (knee), Amanda Johnson (knee) and Sara Mosiman (shin). Freshman Jeneva Anderson replaced Williams in the lineup.
GO D: ASU is getting defensive and creating turnovers and scoring to lead 7-4 with 15:55 remaining in the opening half. Jackson has already altered her lineup, moving Mollie Williams and Laura McLellan in for Argens (one foul) and Rogers.
Washington sophomore SG Kristi Kingma was limited in practice, again, this week, but is expected to start tonight. She’s the only player with a nagging injury that needs daily attention. Otherwise the Huskies are healthy.
They won’t get any sympathy from tonight’s opponent, Arizona State. The Sun Devils are going through it with injuries and getting adjusted to playing as a young nucleus. Six seniors graduated and noted PG Dymond Simon is redshirting with a knee injury.
ASU does bring back redshirt sophomore Kali Bennett, who transferred from Washington during the Tia Jackson-June Daugherty coaching change. Bennett, a reserve, is averaging 7.2 points and 6.5 rebounds. She was named MVP of the Rainbow Wahine Classic after averaging 15.0 points in the November tournament.
But those were the good days for the Sun Devils. Since then, ASU has lost four of its past five games, including notable defeats to No. 10 Texas A&M and No. 5 Baylor in a Las Vegas tournament.
Dropped out of the Associated Press rankings, they could either come out blazing fire in pursuit of a win or further crumble. UW, of course, is hoping for the latter. It’s the home, Pac-10 opener for the Dawgs and they want to feed of the energy of a home crowd after being away the entire month of December.
Folks are trickling in now, so let’s get it started with your starting lineups:
SUN DEVILS
F Alex Earl
F Becca Tobin
C Kayli Murphy
G Danielle Orsillo
G Tenaya Watson
HUSKIES
F Sami Whitcomb
F Mackenzie Argens
C Regina Rogers
G Sarah Morton
G Kristi Kingma
Tonight’s officials are Lisa Jones, Scotty Hermann, and Jay Schumaker.

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