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December 9, 2011 at 6:47 PM

Game thread: Portland at Washington

HUSKIES WIN: UW found the perfect way to erase an awful first half — overwhelm your opponent in the second half for a 61-49 win. The Huskies held the Pilots to 26.7 percent shooting after the break, going on a 17-0 run to build a 54-40 lead with 5:45 remaining in the game. Davis hit the final bucket of the run, relieved to finally she the ball swish through the net after going 2-for-7 from the field in the opening half. “It got pretty frustrating but as I kept playing, the team really kept encouraging me even though I was missing the basket,” she said of the cold start. “It’s hard to not get down on yourself…I had to push through it.” The entire Washington team did. UW shot 44.8 percent after the break, missing all five of its three-point attempts. The defense won the game, holding Portland to zero second-chance shots and outrebounding the visitors 46-34 overall. Since defense was a focus this week, you gotta give the Huskies props. “It picks up the intensity,” said Aminah Williams of the defense. She finished with a season-high five steals and two blocks. “Defense really changed the game in the second half.” UW improves to 6-2 and hosts Houston on Dec. 18. Portland dropped to 5-5 and plays at Seattle University on Sunday. A few Redhawks (4-4) players were spotted in the crowd getting an early scout. Rogers led all scorers, tallying 19 of her final 26 points in the second half. Day led the Pilots with 18 on 6-for-10 shooting from the field.
IN CONTROL: There are some bobbles here and there, but the Huskies are feeding Rogers in the post and getting turnovers or defensive stops and have built a 50-40 lead with 7:13 remaining in the game. Rogers leads all scorers with 21 points and eight boards. Davis has eight. The best stat is that UW has kept PU from scoring a single second-chance bucket. Something the Pilots could use to mask the now 36.8 percent shooting from the field. Day leads Portland with 15 points while Brown has seven rebounds.
BETTER START: McGuff swapped junior F Jeneva Anderson for Argens to start the second half and the Huskies are shooting 4-for-8 from the field to take a 34-33 lead with 15:39 remaining in the game.
HALFTIME: Well, Gonzaga rallied in the second half to defeat EWU 75-69. Maybe the universe will return to normal on this side of the mountain, too. Or at least allow Washington to make a 1-footer. The Huskies grabbed 12 offensive rebounds in the opening half, yet only scored six second-chance points. They were 25 percent from the field overall. Rogers led with seven points and five boards. Day led the Pilots with nine points. Her team shot 45 percent from the field, 5-for-8 from three-point range. UW is down 27-24. There were eight lead changes in the opening half, Portland holding the biggest advantage at six with 1:23 on the clock.
FLYING HIGH: The Pilots are on a 7-0 run with 1:48 left in the game. The Huskies have forced 11 turnovers and scored 11 points off them. But the leaks on defense are hurting — not to mention UW’s own 25.8 percent shooting from the field.
NOT HOT: Twice the Huskies have driven all the way to the hoop off a steal and twice the Huskies have missed at the rim. UW is working hard on defense, but not getting the payoff offensively. It is shooting 28 percent from the field but because of the work on the other end, only trails 18-17 with 6:33 on the clock.
TOO HOT: Did I mention there’s a gorgeous full moon tonight? I’m crediting that to the Pilots’ extremely hot shooting to open the game. Portland is shooting 71.4 percent from the field to take a brief 15-13 lead. PU entered the game hitting 38.9 percent of its shots. There’s 9:19 left in the first half.
THREES POPPIN’: Portland’s first bucket was a, surprise, three-pointer. Wetmore answered with one of her own, but the Huskies are down 7-5 early with 15:53 remaining in the opening half. Should note that assistant coach Adia Barnes is out recruiting and not with the team tonight.
Fifty bucks for the first person who can tell me why the Portland team bus has Wyoming license plates. The Pilots made the trek north on Interstate-5 for the matchup against Washington at Edmundson Pavilion.
It seems a given UW will win seeing how Washington (5-2) hasn’t lost to Portland (5-4) in the nine previous meetings. But in checking scores, Gonzaga is currently down to Eastern Washington, so…
Defense will be key at Hec Ed. The Huskies are holding opponents 54.9 points, but first-year coach Kevin McGuff believes that could be lower. In watching film, he sees opponents simply missing instead of UW making them miss. As the Huskies transition to Pac-12 play, the squad is going to have to do more of the latter or find itself losing the games it won in nonconference play.
F Talia Walton (knee) is dressed for the first time this season. She’ll see limited minutes, if any at all, but can help the Huskies stretch the defense with her offensive versatility. McGuff also notes that she’s a solid rebounder. Assistant coach Kevin Morrison is also back on the bench. His finacee, Heather, gave birth to the couple’s first child on Sunday.
The teams have taken the court, so let’s get started with your starting lineups:
F Cassandra Brown
F Natalie Day
C Amy Pupa
G ReZina TecleMariam
G Alexis Byrd
F Charmaine Barlow
F Makenzie Argens
C Regina Rogers
G Jazmine Davis
G Mercedes Wetmore
Tonight’s officials are Lisa Jones, Kent Johnson, and Paul Patterson.



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