HUSKIES WIN: Washington won 67-59 behind 22 points and 11 boards from Rogers. McGuff credited all of the seniors of the victory, Mo-Will grabbing eight boards in the second half, Argens adding 11 and Barlow collecting five. It helped UW outrebound UCLA 48-37, shooting 32.3 percent from the field in the game. Walker led the Bruins with 20 points, 17 boards, and five rebounds. Aside from the Washington seniors, freshmen Aminah Williams responded nicely from a flub against USC to score five points with six rebounds in 22 minutes on Saturday. Again, she seemed to get minutes over Barlow. McGuff said he was going with the hot hand when it happened on Thursday. On Saturday, the focus was the seniors’ final regular-season game. The players cried during a well-edited video tribute and the crowd of 2,634 stayed to honor the honor the players. But did McGuff check his cell at one point? Anyway, the class was thankful for the ceremony after the game. “I knew (my mother) was going to cry and when she cries, it makes me cry,” said Rogers, who’s baby cousin clung to her and boyfriend offered support. “There were so many emotions in that, going after the game was probably better. I don’t want to be crying through out the game. It’s too hard to play.” UW held a banquet on Saturday night for seniors with everyone’s family. McGuff said the players will have Sunday off and the team is expected to travel to Los Angeles on Monday to begin transitioning to the Pac-12 tournament. UW (16-12, 8-10) finished eighth in standings and will play Oregon in the opening round at noon on Wednesday. The winning of that game plays No. 2 Stanford (21-1, 17-0) on Thursday. UCLA (14-15, 9-9) finished fifth in standings, winning the head-to-head tiebreaker against Oregon State (18-11, 9-9). The Bruins will play Arizona (14-16, 3-15) in the opening round.
BREAK TIME: Leaving the blog to write the newspaper story. I’ll be back later with a wrap of the game. UW is up 42-37 after a monster play by Rogers in the paint. There’s 10:45 remaining in the game.
SCOREBOARD II: Arizona State defeated Arizona 70-63 and Southern California ended its regular season on a six-game win streak with a 65-64 win against Washington State. Utah is up 49-27 on Oregon, meaning Washington would likely be the eighth seed if it wins against UCLA. The Utes defeated the Huskies in overtime earlier this season, clinching the head-to-head tiebreaker. Despite lulls, UW is up 35-33 with 14:14 on the clock.
TIME!: McGuff isn’t happy with how the Huskies started the second half, calling a timeout after UCLA pulled within 31-30 on a 5-0 run. There’s 17:36 remaining in the game. UW is 0-for-3 shooting in the second half.
SCOREBOARD: While Nikki Caldwell’s former Bruins struggle, her current LSU squad is capping off a major upset against No. 9 Kentucky. The Tigers lead 70-59 with 36 seconds left in the game.
HALFTIME: Washington leads 31-25 at the break. Rogers leads with nine points and Davis added eight, but UW isn’t showing its normal fight and energy. An injury-plagued UCLA is sinking behind 32.1 percent shooting. Otherwise the Bruins only have nine turnovers to the Huskies’ 13 and received 10 points off its bench. It’s clearly UW’s game to lose. Corinne Costa leads UCLA with eight points while Walker has seven.
OFFICIAL WORD: The celebration delay actually isn’t McGuff’s choosing. Because there are five players and set amount of time pregame, the ceremony was pushed to after the game so nothing is rushed.
CELEBRATION DELAYED: Guess McGuff’s style is to do the senior nod after the game because it didn’t happen before. UW is up 28-23 with 1:36 before halftime, Davis getting a fast break layin with a little help from a Wetmore screen.
ROBBED: Argens finally capped a sweet pass with a smooth layin…but the officials saw her two steps as a travel. Hec Ed didn’t run a replay of the call, so I won’t know. Washington is up 24-21. There were a lot of sloppy passes early, leading to 12 turnovers by UW. Both teams have cleaned it up, a little, with 3:17 remaining in the opening half.
WARMING UP: UW is on a 8-3 run to pull ahead 19-14 with 7:26 left in the first half. The Huskies are using a 15-10 rebounding advantage to help keep the Bruins out of the game. UW is also shooting an improved 35 percent.
ICE, ICE BABY: Rogers said she’d be nervous for this final regular-season game at Hec Ed and it must have spilled into the offense for the entire UW team. The Huskies are shooting 3-for-14 from the field. The positive is UCLA isn’t much better and UW now leads 11-10 with 10:42 on the clock.
CHANGE UP: It’s not having the same affect as when Skylar Diggins switches her hairstyle, but Davis has pulled her curly locks back into a low bun. UCLA has gone on a 6-0 run in the meantime, though, and Davis remains 0-for-3 from the field. The game is tied (6) with 13:35 left in the first half.
It’s the one day in NCAA hoops where tears are accepted: Senior Night. Make it “Senior Matinee” for Washington as the program bids adieu to five players — Center Regina Rogers and forwards Mackenzie Argens, Charmaine Barlow, Mollie Williams and Liz Lay — in 2 p.m. tip against UCLA. Lay suffered from chronic knee injuries and had to retire from playing in September 2010, she current provides the color commentating for UWTV (Channel 27).
There’s supposed to be a pregame ceremony where families of the players join the players to be recognized. I’m also told there will be a special video presentation for each player.
The group is remarkable, especially given the adversity they’ve overcome in four to five years at the school. This is their first winning season, an experience they could have stalled if it weren’t for positive attitudes. Instead of giving first-year coach Kevin McGuff the cold shoulder, the upperclassmen embraced his change in philosophy and culture to become better players.
Of course the hard part was losing guard Kristi Kingma, who suffered a season-ending knee injury during a summer trip to Europe. She’s expected to be awarded a medical red-shirt and return next season.
“We really don’t really talk about it a lot because it’s still emotional for her,” said Barlow of not playing with Kingma for their senior seasons. “It was a hard downfall for our seniors. Me and Kristi have been close the past three years, but I just told her that I’m going to come and support her next year. She’s a phenomenal player so they’ll still do good next year.”
Washington (15-11, 7-9 Pac-12) can still do well this season. If it defeats UCLA (14-14, 9-8), it’s not even crazy to think it could win a game in the one-and-done conference tournament format.
That would put UW back in position for postseason play and maybe another game at Edmundson Pavilion via the WNIT. But despite UCLA losing to stumbling Washington State on Thursday, the Bruins aren’t an easy matchup. Junior wing Markel Walker is versatile, totaling 11 double-doubles this season. Senior Rebekah Gardner has emerged lately, scoring in double figures in 15 of her past 16 games.
UCLA has won the past five games between the schools, including a 79-73 overtime decision in Los Angeles. UW calls it one of its toughest losses of the season. For four active seniors, this is the final time to get revenge.
Let’s get it started with your starting lineups:
F Markel Walker
F Rebekah Gardner
C Rhema Gardner
G Mariah Williams
G Thea Lemberger
F Charmaine Barlow
F Mackenzie Argens
C Regina Rogers
G Jazmine Davis
G Mercedes Wetmore
Today’s officials are Robert Scofield, Alejandro Moreno, and Mazetta Garrett.