HUSKIES WIN: Williams made more key defensive plays, including securing a loose ball as time expired, to seal a 72-69 win at Hec Ed. It was tense, though, because Williams, Davis and Barlow were among the ones missing FTs late that would have shut the door on the Ducks. Instead, UO had multiple chances it couldn’t convert. A disappointing way for Jackson to finish her final game in her hometown. She’s close friends with Rogers, who said Jackson plans to move back to Seattle once she graduates this spring. Only Johnson had an impressive game for the Ducks. She was 9-for-19 from the field for 26 points and 12 boards in 29 minutes. The rest of the Ducks were 19-for-54 from the floor combined. McCann-Smith had another good night against the Ducks, making four three-pointers this go-round for 12 points. She said UO’s crowding UW’s posts and playing a zone helped open sight-lines to the hoop for her. “Be ready to shoot,” McCann-Smith said of her mantra. Davis led all scorers with 27 points and had only three turnovers compared to the eight she had in the loss in December. My favorite stat, though, is UW outscoring UO 10-4 on fast break points. And Argens should have to buy Davis a Happy Meal for not finishing the wickedest play since the Mendiola era at Hec Ed. Davis jetted down court to beat all her defenders and whipped a no-look pass to Argens, who was waiting on the block. The senior went up and I think Holliday blocked it, but still…UW (13-9, 5-7) is now tied with Oregon (13-11, 5-7) in conference standings. The Huskies host Oregon State on Saturday. The Beavers are on a five-game win streak. Tip-off is at 2 p.m.
BREAK TIME: Disappearing so I can write the newspaper version of the story. Argens just checked in for Rogers. UW up 64-55 with 4:44 on the clock.
ROGERS IN: McGuff put Rogers back in the game with 5:44 left. Press row doesn’t like the move since she has four fouls. Argens also is strapped with four fouls and with F Marjorie Heard out with a knee injury, McGuff’s options are limited. UW is up 63-51.
SCOREBOARD: No. 19 Gonzaga lost to BYU 70-40. No. 4 Stanford defeated USC 69-52 and Utah upset ASU 50-46. In Pullman, Washington State is down 39-33 to Oregon State in the second half.
RUNNING DUCKS: UO is on a 7-0 run to pull within 48-42. Both Davis and Rogers are on the bench now. Oregon is shooting 25 percent while Washington has dipped to 41.9 percent from the field. There’s 10:08 left to play.
FOUL?: Surprised McGuff didn’t throw his red pocket square on the court after Rogers was called for a fourth foul. Instead he used some language not fitting for the month of love. It was a close call, but unfortunately for the Huskies, the play wasn’t reviewed or reversed. She’s on the bench. Washington is holding onto a 48-37 lead with 10:58 remaining in the game.
SPOTTED: Storm coach and general manager Brian Agler and assistant coach Jenny Boucek are among the 1,834 in attendance. Wonder if they’re taking a closer look at Johnson and Rogers for latter rounds of the WNBA draft? Agler is also close friends with McGuff, both being Ohio natives. UW athletic director Scott Woodward watched the first half, the second time I’ve noticed him at Hec Ed. Former UW G Kayla Burt is also here to help promote heart health awareness. Bo Kimble, who played for Loyola Marymount for Westhead, is seated behind the Oregon bench in black and red. Washington is up 41-30 with 14:06 left in the game.
QUICK TIME: Westhead called a timeout 19 seconds into the second half after the Huskies scored. He said a few words and then sent the Ducks back out on the court…to wait for the full timeout to be completed.
HALFTIME: A modest 6-3 run has the Huskies up 32-26 at the break. Rebounding is a big reason why UW is up. It leads the category 28-18, holding Oregon to six second-chance points. The Huskies are shooting 44.4 percent from the field, led by nine from Rogers and eight from Davis. In the turnover watch, Davis only has two — an area she wanted to clean up headed into the rematch. But UW has 14 overall, giving UO 10 points off the miscues. A plug has to be put in that or it won’t matter the Ducks are shooting 21.6 percent from the field. UW will just give them the points in transition.
BUZZER BUCKET: Argens cashed in a Davis miss to put the Huskies up 32-26 heading into the break. The game is sloppy, but Washington is managing to stay ahead with good rebounding off Oregon’s misses and forcing the posts into turnovers. Argens leads the team with eight boards alone.
GOOD TO BAD: The Huskies swarmed Johnson, forcing the forward into a turnover. But on the other end, a bad pass inside to Argens created miscue on UW. Washington still leads 28-23, only it’s not a safe advantage. If Oregon starts to shoot better than 21.2 percent from the field, UW could be in trouble. Rogers also has two fouls and is out of the game for the time being. There’s 2:55 left in the opening half.
DYK?: Seattle Christian F Katie Collier was named to the McDonald’s All-American squad on Thursday. She’s the first UW recruit to receive the honor. The game is March 28 and will be aired live on ESPNU at 4 p.m. (PST). Click here to learn more about Collier’s story. On the court, UW is running game. Huskies lead 21-19 after a Jackson three-pointer with 8:08 left in the first half.
FOR THREE: Washington is starting to find its groove, reserve Kellie McCann-Smith and Wetmore banking three-pointers. Add two FTs from Davis and UW is up 15-9 with 12:25 on the clock. Flashback to December’s matchup and you’ll remember that McCann-Smith nailed six three-pointers in finishing with a career-high 26 points.
LITTLE LOVE: A three-pointer by Love with 14:57 remaining in the opening half put Oregon up 6-5. Neither team really has control of the game, though. UO is shooting 2-for-11 from the field while UW is 1-for-5.
The rematch is on at Edmundson Pavilion. Washington is hosting Oregon, looking for a little redemption for a 88-86 loss it suffered on the road the second game of the new Pac-12 season.
And trust me, it was a matchup the Huskies could have won. The Ducks were without leading scorer Amanda Johnson (thumb) and the Huskies held a 16-point lead with 10:56 remaining in the game. But a missed defensive assignment opened up sophomore wing Deanna Weaver for the game-winning three-pointer with 16 seconds left.
Defense is going to key on Thursday at Hec Ed along with UW taking care of the ball — themes it’s had all season. The difference this go-round is the coaching staff and new players know what’s coming and the collective group finally had success in finishing a tight game, defeating Southern California 67-61 on the road on Sunday.
Oregon will still be a tough opponent, however. Johnson is averaging 20.3 points in the three games since her return and coach Paul Westhead is playing former volleyball standout Liz Brenner a little more. She saw 28 minutes in UO’s win against UW in December.
Underlining the X’s and O’s is the traditional rivalry between the states and fever the homecoming of Ducks stars Nia Jackson (Seattle), Lexi Petersen (Tukwila) and Danielle Love (Everett), who’s now in the starting lineup. Jackson played high school ball with UW stars Charmaine Barlow and Regina Rogers at Chief Sealth.
“I wish I could’ve coached that team,” UW coach Kevin McGuff said.
Well, two out of three will have to work. Can he get the win that way? It all starts with your starting lineups:
F Amanda Johnson
F Jasmin Holliday
C Danielle Love
G Nia Jackson
G Ariel Thomas
F Charmaine Barlow
F Mackenzie Argens
C Regina Rogers
G Jazmine Davis
G Mercedes Wetmore
Tonight’s officials are Anita Ortega, Kyle Bacon, and Jim Morrell.