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December 4, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Game thread: Long Beach State at Washington

HUSKIES WIN: Some may think it’s harsh given where Washington has been the past four seasons, but I’m glad McGuff isn’t allowing the team to feel too thrilled about Sunday’s 80-46 win over Beach. UW (5-2) did a lot of highlight-reel-worthy things in the game — defense wasn’t exactly one of them as the score would suggest. Beach shot a lowly 29.1 percent from the field. “They got enough open shots that I wasn’t real comfortable with it,” said McGuff, who called the defensive effort fool’s gold at times. “Because that’s the type of thing that’ll catch up with you as you move through the season.” Bingo. UW has three remaining nonconference games and truthfully has yet to face anyone as competitive of what they’ll play in the Pac-12. Grasping the concepts and improving is key if the team wants to carry the same success through the conference schedule. Washington is off to its best start since 2005, a feeling the senior class is especially enjoying while knowing there’s still work to do. “Sometimes a lot of seniors remind the sophomores and juniors of last year and how things were different,” said Rogers, who finished with 12 points and six rebounds. “We want to be level-headed. We’re going to do well, but I also feel like as a team we need to keep going strong and doing what we need to do…The new start just shows how close we are. How we play together, our defense and how we communicate. We yell at each other, but it’s all fun and games. Being a senior with this start is amazing to me. It’s something I’ll remember.” Davis led the team with 18 points, including making a four of her three-point attempts. The Huskies shot a season-high 54.2 percent from the field and outscored the 49ers 42-22 in the paint. UW continues its homestand against Portland on Friday.
SCOREBOARD: The combination of a 17-point first half cushion, five players scoring in double figures and solid shooting from the free throw line helped guide Seattle University (4-4) to a 89-80 victory over Boise State Sunday. Meanwhile Southern California redeemed itself with a 58-51 win at No. 24 Gonzaga on Sunday. PG Ashley Corral (Prairie View High) led with 19 points.
LEAD GROWING: We’re deep in the second half an Washington has built a 70-39 advantage with 4:29 on the clock. UW was playing sloppy, benefiting from neither team making shots. The Huskies are back playing aggressive, giving McGuff less reason to get excited on the sideline. Davis leads with 18 points and Rogers has 12 with six boards.
ROGERS IN: Like I said, Beach isn’t threatening because a simple insertion of Rogers in the lineup will swing the game right back into UW’s hands. McGuff put his start center in the game and the Huskies have built a 11-0 run, tipping at passes to get steals and spotting each other for nice feeds to score in the paint. A long jumper by Barlow with 1:11 on the clock gives Washington a 39-21 lead.
THREE CITY: The 49ers are far from threatening the Huskies, yet the three-point bucket is keeping the matchup from being an early blowout. Sanchez hit the third one of the half to pull Beach within 28-21 with 3:57 remaining in the opening half. UW’s defense has relaxed a little, which McGuff has gotten on the team about. Sanchez has 10 to lead the 49ers while Rogers (seven) and Davis (eight) lead UW. Rogers has been on the bench, playing eight minutes and picking up two fouls.
TIP JAR: Beach is having trouble even controlling an offensive possession. The current UW backcourt of Kellie McCann-Smith and Davis are tipping at passes to create steals. Washington isn’t finishing the way McGuff would probably like. Still, the Huskies lead 21-9 with 8:40 on the clock.
HEARD IN: McGuff has place Heard in the game, her first action in a week. UW is on a dominating 12-0 run to take a 19-7 lead with 11:08 remaining. The Huskies defense is holding Beach to 13 percent shooting, getting outscored 10-4 in the paint.
GOOD MOVES: Rogers has some nice offensive rebounds for putbacks and Davis nailed a three-pointer to help the Huskies build a 12-7 lead. Beach isn’t shooting well (2 for 10) while UW is a hot 55.6 percent from the field to start.
NEW DAWG: Assistant coach Kevin Morrison won’t be at Sunday’s game. His finacee gave birth to the couple’s first child this morning at 9:47 a.m. Jayce Patrick Morrison is a healthy 9.1 pound boy. His birthday is actually one day after UW coach Kevin McGuff, who turned 42 on Saturday.
OK, so my prediction of this being an easy weekend for the Pac-12 has crumbled. I must admit I forgot about the talent of KiKi Moore, a former Washington State PG who transferred to Fresno State. The native Californian led her new squad to a win against Oregon on Thursday.
The Ducks (6-1) were one of three Pac-12 squads to suffer their first loss of the season this weekend. Arizona (7-1) lost to BYU in a Hawaiian tournament while Oregon State (6-1) was stunned 60-53 by North Texas. That leaves Colorado (7-0) has the conference’s sole undefeated squad. The Buffaloes defeated Idaho 68-59 on Sunday.
It also gives Washington (4-2) a strong opening to finish the nonconference season as one of the Pac-12’s better performers. True, the Huskies had a weaker schedule than most in the league. But it still had to win the games.
On Sunday it hosts Long Beach State (2-5). A win would continue UW on the trek of its best nonconference season since 2006-07 and the possible 5-2 record would be the best to open a season since 2005.
The Huskies return F Marjorie Heard (cold) and Ashley Moore (knee) to the lineup. Heard could help increase UW’s size inside against a smaller, less experienced Beach team. The 49ers lost 78-59 at Seattle University on Friday, getting outworked 48-26 on the boards and outscored 36-12 in the paint.
Moore hasn’t played this season, suffering her injury during practice in October. Her likelihood of playing is slight given lack of practice time.
I’m expecting C Regina Rogers to have a field day against Long Beach State’s posts. The senior enters Sunday’s tip after setting career-highs in points (27) and rebounding (14) in a win at Idaho on Wednesday. But my predictions have been wrong before when dealing with this conference, we’ll see about this one — first getting you ready with your starting lineups:
F Mary Ochiltree
F Alex Sanchez
C Ella Clark
G Hallie Meneses
G Tipesa Moorer
F Charmaine Barlow
F Mackenzie Argens
C Regina Rogers
G Jazmine Davis
G Mercedes Wetmore
Tonight’s officials are Marianne Karp, Mary Whatford, and Lorena Ahumada.



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