HUSKIES WIN: Oregon admitted it had little energy in the opening half and couldn’t recover after the break, losing 72-56 to Washington on Wednesday. It’s the Huskies’ first Pac-12 tournament win since upsetting the Ducks 69-43 in 2009. UW (17-12) advances to play Stanford (28-1) on Thursday. Washington has never won two or more games since tournament play began in 2002, holding a 5-10 all-time record. Davis was the offensive star, scoring on seven three-pointers and two shots from the FT line for a game-high 23 points. But don’t be surprised if A-Dub becomes an equal fave. In a season-high 29 minutes, she had a season-high 16 rebounds. Argens added 10 to help UW dominate UO 52-35 overall on the boards. The Ducks, which shot 31.8 percent from the line, were only allowed 11 second-chance shots. Ouch. “Washington was the superior team this afternoon,” Oregon coach Paul Westhead said. “What you saw today has been a struggle for a good bit of the season. We had some open looks that we didn’t make. When you start missing shots, it adds to the pressure of the next shot. The missed shots hurt today.” Health was another hamper for UO, Jackson stating after the game that she’s been treated for bronchitis. The former Chief Sealth star played 16 minutes and was 1-for-8 from the field in her college finale. “The last two times that we’ve played them, I felt they played with a lot more energy,” A-Dub said. “Today just seemed a little different. They weren’t as energetic and all over the place as they usually are.” Rogers carried the second half, scoring 18 of her final 21 points. Oregon was led by Holliday’s 17. In addition to advancing, Washington believed it needed a win to keep possible WNIT hopes alive. That 64-team tournament field will be announced Monday. The NCAA tournament is NOT a possibility, just to set a commenter to the blog straight. “I’m just really happy that we got this win and that (Thursday) we’ll be able to play again,” Rogers said. “When we play basketball like that, it’s hard for people to stop us.”
BREAK TIME: Leaving the blog to write the newspaper version of the game. I’ll be back with a wrap later. UW is up 67-48 with 5:20 left in the matchup.
FREE PIZZA: One thing went Oregon’s way, a fan received a free pizza during a timeout promotion. She was the wildest cheerer on her side of the arena. It was bottled up from not being able to scream for much during the game. UW up 63-48.
RALLY STOPPED: If you can call it a rally, it was muffled by improved play from Washington. Rogers has taken over and UW is up 63-45 with 8:33 on the clock. Davis has only attempted one shot in the half, so far, mainly because the ball is finding its way inside.
TOUCHDOWN: Davis has traded three-pointers for passing, zipping one down court to a sprinting McCann-Smith, who made the layin. McCann-Smith later scored on a three-pointer and UW is holding onto a 60-43 lead with 10:58 left in the game. Rogers has come alive in the second half, too, scoring 11 of her 15 points.
SHOWING LIFE: Oregon pulled out a full-court press and is getting a little more aggressive on defense to force UW into some tough shots and fouls. It’s brought the Ducks within in 49-34 with 14:30 remaining in the game. It’s not much, but the momentum is shifting.
THE NORM?: McGuff went back to his season-long starting lineup, putting Barlow and Davis in for the opening of the second half. That usually signals a disciplinary problem being the reason for the original change. Again, I hope to have more after the game.
HALFTIME: That was ridiculous. Even though UW players nailing three-pointers against Oregon isn’t new (see Kingma, McCann-Smith), this time UO didn’t appear to care. Washington took a 41-22 lead into the break behind 21 points from Davis. Her 7-for-9 shooting from three-point range tied Loree Payne and Megan Franza’s record. Payne was 7-for-15 against Michigan in December 2001 while Franza was 7-of-14 against UCLA in March 2001. Oregon sent a double at Davis, but on one trey, got caught on a Rogers screen. After one shot, Davis pointed to her family seated across the UW bench and it appears Dad is giving his daughter a few shooting pointers in-game. The Ducks can shoot it, too, but aren’t hitting against the UW defense. Oregon is shooting 26.5 percent in the first half and getting outworked 29-18 on the rebounds. UO isn’t even hitting the freebies, going 0-for-4 from the FT line. The second half is always a different story between these teams. With UO rally and at least make the game respectable? Johnson leads the Ducks with eight points and Holliday added seven. Argens and A-Dub are the monsters on UW boards, grabbing six apiece.
CAREER HIGH: Davis has six three-pointers so far in the game, a season-high for the freshman. If McGuff was looking to get her attention, he pushed the right button. UW up 32-18 with 3:09 remaining in the half.
THREE FOR ALL: Surprisingly, UW has shot more three-pointers than Oregon, going 50 percent from that range. McGuff has yelled for his team to get the ball inside to either Rogers or Argens, but it hasn’t happened, yet. Davis leads with 12 points and A-Dub has four boards early. Oregon is shooting 22.7 percent from the field. UW is now up 26-13 with 5:45 left in the game.
LOW JACK: Jackson is know for her speed, but seems a bit out of it this afternoon. Davis, ahem, stripped the ball from her on a, ahem, drive to the hoop and Jackson is jogging on the court. She’s had knee problems in the past. Outside of Johnson’s three-point shooting, there don’t appear to be much life in the Ducks offense. UW is up 22-13 with 10:18 left in the opening half.
BARLOW IN: Barlow has checked into the game with 13:10 remaining in the opening half. The Huskies are up 17-8, piecing together a nice run since Davis entered the game. She has six points.
TIME: McGuff went with a new lineup and wasn’t exactly happy with how it was defending the perimeter, calling a timeout after two Oregon three-pointers. UW is down 6-5 with 16:16 on the clock. Senior Mollie Williams and Davis have checked into the game. First play out of the timeout? Rogers going to the hole while fouled, but making the shot. The old-school way to get three on the board has UW up 8-6.
LINEUP CHANGE: Freshman F Aminah WIlliams has been playing well of late and I guess coach Kevin McGuff is continuing his trend of sticking with the hot player. He swapped senior F Charmaine Barlow for A-Dub in the starting lineup. It’s her first start of the season. He also switched recently named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Jazmine Davis for sophomore transfer Kellie McCann-Smith. That is a puzzler that I’ll hopefully have answer to later.
Flew to Los Angeles with the Washington band. Hope the team has as much pep as the band, which sung a different version of the UW fight song on take-off and belted “Touchdown Washington” as the plane hit the LAX tarmac.
Well, it’s not football season. The Huskies are taking over Southern California’s Galen Center for the opening round of the Pac-12 tournament. Seeded eighth, UW faces No. 9 Oregon at noon. The teams split during the regular season, each winning on its home court with a point differential total of five points.
Most around the arena have UW as the hot team, sad the Huskies couldn’t either win a few more or Utah didn’t play spoiler so Washington could make a real run in the tourney. As is, the winner of Wednesday’s matchup plays top-seeded Stanford on Thursday at noon. The Cardinal, ranked second in the country, have won eight titles since the women’s tourney began in 2002.
What to say about the matchup? Everyone is healthy and familiar, the teams featuring veteran lineups. The Ducks are struggling of late, losing four of its past five games.
So, let’s get to it with your starting lineups:
F Danielle Love
F Amanda Johnson
C Jasmin Holliday
G Nia Jackson
G Ariel Thomas
F Aminah Williams
F Mackenzie Argens
C Regina Rogers
G Mercedes Wetmore
G Kellie McCann-Smith
This afternoon’s officials are Melissa Barlow, Clarke Stevens, and Rick Showers.