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December 31, 2010 at 2:05 PM

Game thread: No. 8 UCLA at Washington

HUSKIES LOSE: Depth and defense nipped Washington’s hopes of pulling a major upset at Hec Ed, losing 60-48. As the rotation shorten due to fouls, the offense stopped having a flow and UCLA began to give more effort defensively. Overall, the Bruins scored 29 points off 25 UW turnovers and UCLA held UW to 28.6 percent shooting in the second half. Washington coach Tia Jackson was proud of her team’s effort, claiming “We just need more bodies.” Rogers can’t practice full-court, yet, so it will be a while before she returns. Williams is day-to-day, maybe adding depth inside for Sunday’s matchup against USC. Argens, who fouled out, led all scorers with 18 points and 11 boards for her first double-double of the season. Gardner had 15 points and four steals for her team.
MORTON OUT: A soft bump was all it took for Morton to foul out of the game, seconds after checking back in. UW’s offense was getting stagnant even with her on the court and UCLA is starting to find its groove. The Bruins are losing the rebounding battle 31-25, but scored 27 points off 23 UW turnovers. Gardner is the star, leading with 10 points off the bench.
MORE TROUBLE: Argens is in foul trouble (four), putting Rebekah Gardner at the line for two made FT. UCLA leads 47-42.
MORTON SITS: Morton, a senior, didn’t make a wise call on a driving layup, committing her fourth foul against Mariah Williams. The Bruin sophomore made the ensuing FT to tie the game at 37 points apiece, capping a 5-0 run. After two buckets by Dixon, UCLA is now up 43-39 with 8:36 remaining and playing like the nationally ranked team you’d expect.
STILL HOT: Argens nailed the opening bucket of the second half and Washington is still shooting well. But Morton has three fouls, putting Wetmore back on the court and the freshman has made some painful mistakes. After starting the second half shooting 20 percent, UCLA is slowing getting it together to close within 36-32 with 13:35 on the clock.
HALFTIME: This is more like it. UW enters the break with a 29-26 lead, shooting an impressive 62.5 percent against a noted defensive team. Both teams are still sloppy with the ball, combining for 23 turnovers. UCLA is getting more points off the miscues at 15. But Argens is playing well inside against Bruins freshman Corinne Costa, who’s 6-foot-4. Argens, a 6-3, has a season-high 14 points and seven boards to lead the Huskies. Kingma only has two FG attempts. Campbell leads UCLA with seven points and three assists.
BIG MAC: Argens wanted to come out stronger to start Pac-10 play and is doing so down the stretch of the opening half. She did a spin layin with a soft touch to give the Huskies a 27-26 lead with 45 seconds remaining. She has 14 points and six rebounds. The points are a season high.
STANDING O: Some fans are on their feet as the Huskies enter a timeout with 6:59 remaining in the opening half. The Dawgs lead 18-16, getting solid inside play from Argens for back-to-back buckets. Barlow had one dis that looked like it was going to be a turnover. Later, Wetmore swiped a ball from the Bruins and quickly passed to Heard to save the possession. A jumpball was called on the ensuing offensive possession, but Washington is hanging in this game. The Huskies have forced eight turnovers and have kept UCLA off the line while making 5 of 8 FT attempts themselves.
TIE GAME: A FT by Kingma has the score tied at five points apiece. Neither team has really established themselves, but UW is playing with more fight than in the 33-point loss to Georgia Tech. Morton is still clumsy with the ball, with two turnovers early – each for a UCLA score. There’s 13:50 on the clock.
It’s a stunning day with sun bathing a chilly Puget Sound. The kind that has most in the snowy mountains skiing to bring in the New Year. Or perhaps some Washington fans are still recovering from the Holiday Bowl victory on Thursday night.
Whatever the activity, it’s causing a slow trickle into Hec Ed for Washington’s Pac-10 opener against No. 8 UCLA. The Bruins are 10-1, their best start since the 1981-80 season when the team opened at 12-0. UCLA has won six of the past seven meetings between the schools, so UW (5-4) is up for a challenge.
And the Huskies won’t be fully loaded. C Regina Rogers remains out with a hamstring injury while F Mollie Williams is suffering from a concussion suffered against Georgia Tech on Dec. 23. But backup PG Mercedes Wetmore, a freshman, will return to the rotation after an undisclosed medical condition.
UCLA is picked to finish second to No. 9 Stanford in the conference while Washington is picked to finish ninth. It’s going to be tough because the Cardinal (9-2) and Bruins aren’t the only teams playing well heading into Pac-10 play.
The fight for the top spot begins today. Let’s get to it with your starting lineups.
BRUINS
F Jasmine Dixon
F Atonye Nyingifa
C Markel Walker
G Darxia Morris
G DOreena Campbell
HUSKIES
F Charmaine Barlow
F Marjorie Heard
C Mackenzie Argens
G Sarah Morton
G Kristi Kingma
Tonight’s officials are Kent Johnson, Mary Whatford, and Karen Lasuik.

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