HUSKIES WIN: Davis knew she missed her defensive assignment late with UW up three points. “Just a little bit,” she said of how much closer she’d like to have been for Crook’s final three-point attempt. McGuff wanted a foul. Neither was disappointed with the final result, baring smiles as UW sealed a 61-58 win Sunday. Crook’s attempt with four seconds left clanked off the rim despite her having a clear look. She wanted another try, stealing the ball from Walton with two seconds left, time expiring instead. “In the first game she had six on us, so the coaches told us we had to be out there,” said Williams of Crook finishing 6-of-10 from three-point range in the win in LA. “Her or Bradley were going to be taking the last shot because they’re both really good three-point shooters.” Call it youth for the team forgetting. Davis, a sophomore PG, finished with 24 points and Walton added 13. Harberts had 16 points to lead USC. Washington, again, experienced offensive struggles. Stellar three-point shooters Walton and Kingma were a combined 2-of-15 from the spot on Sunday. The team was 4-of-25 overall. But the defense was there. “Our defensive pressure made them take uneasy baskets or forced shots that maybe they aren’t used to taking,” Williams said. The Trojans shot 39 percent in the game and its biggest lead was three. The Huskies (17-6, 9-3) are fourth in Pac-12 standings after a solid weekend against the LA schools. UW heads on the road for its next four games, playing at Oregon (3-21, 1-11) on Friday. USC (8-15, 5-7) hosts No. 4 Stanford (22-2, 11-1) on Friday.
BREAK: There’s timeout on the floor and UW is slipping into an offensive funk. The shots are a little short as if the team is tired. USC is on a sputtering 16-11 run to opening the half and whittled the lead to 49-44 with 11:48 remaining in the half. Davis leads with 16 points and Walton had 13. I’m out to write the newspaper version.
SERIOUSLY?: Harberts raced to Desiree Bradley for a chest bump after a three-point play. The bench roared, too. Cooper must have brought his LA Sparks-type celebration tactics to college hoops. What are the Trojans’ celebrating so hard? They’re still down 45-40 and aren’t on some kind of roll. Back in the day, Coopers’ Sparks would pop confetti from the rafters after wins — mid-summer, regular-season wins.
SCOREBOARD: Arizona is giving No. 6 Cal a run for it, but is down 89-81 in the final seconds. No. 21 Colorado is up on Oregon 73-51 with five minutes left in the second half. No. 17 UCLA beat WSU 80-65, ending the Cougs’ four-game win streak. Utah started its game against Oregon State up 12-0 and won 66-40.
HALFTIME: UW heads into the break with a 10-point lead. It’s shooting just 14.3 percent (2-for-14) from its favored three-point. A stat McGuff is more inclined to like. Sure, he plays to his team’s strengths, but also always talks about wanting balance in the offense. The Huskies are getting inside the paint to score at will (16-8) and are a perfect 8-of-8 from the foul line. Davis still leads all scorers with 13 points. Walton has added eight and Williams has six rebounds. Harberts leads USC with 10 points and Crook has 10. The halftime show was a cheerleading routine from a local school.
KING ME: Kingma is struggling offensively, starting the game 1-of-7 from the field. That doesn’t mean you leave her open for a three-pointer. USC made that mistake and the redshirt senior dropped one on them at the top of the key. It’s 38-28 with 39 seconds on the clock.
BLOCK THAT: Williams got a sweet block on a driving layin by Crook. Then the former checked out of the game. The jumbo screen replayed the block and then a closeup of her just as she mouthed the words “I’ve got to go to the bathroom” to McGuff. She checked back in with 2:13 left and the Huskies up 33-25.
SLOW DOWN: Cooper yelled, “You’ve gotta guard somebody,” to his team and they are starting to listen along with getting some offensive rebounds of their own for put backs. Two back-to-back jumpers by Walton in the pocket of USC’s zone have helped the Huskies stay ahead 31-24 with 3:45 left in the opening half. Crook has 10 points to lead the Trojans while Wetmore and Walton have combined for six and Davis still has 13. UW is shooting 41.4 percent from the field, outscoring USC 18-6 in the paint.
DOIN WORK: Washington’s offense looks good. Naturally USC isn’t exactly the best defensive team in the Pac-12, but UW’s pinpoint passes and offensive rebounds are helping it build a 23-15 lead with 7:33 on the clock. Davis leads with 13 points.
TIME!: The Huskies are in the midst of the type of play I’m talking about as far as a needed response to Friday’s loss. UW is on an 11-4 run, Davis leading the offensive attack with seven points on 3-of-4 shooting from the field. USC coach Michael Cooper called time and inserted G Ariya Crook, but UW forced another defensive stop. A three-pointer by Cook closed the gap to 11-7 with 15:36 remaining in the opening half.
SPOTTED: Former G for the Storm’s 2004 championship team, Michelle Greco, is on press row. She’s in her first season as USC’s video coordinator. Interesting because she’s a UCLA grad. Greco said she retired last year after an eight-year playing career in Italy and is working her way into coaching women’s ball. Fitting she’s at Alaska Airline Arena because it’s also the Storm’s annual winter warm-up. Coach and GM Brian Agler; Karen Bryant, the team’s president and CEO; co-owners Lisa Brummel and Dawn Trudeau; and plenty of fans are in the house. They gathered earlier, getting more details about star C Lauren Jackson’s injury and hearing from McGuff about the upcoming Pac-12 tournament at KeyArena in March and the Huskies.
Forget Friday’s matchup against No. 17 UCLA, Sunday afternoon’s rematch with Southern California is a game Washington really needs to win. The Trojans (8-14, 5-6 Pac-12) have been hurt by injuries and aren’t playing to the potential expected prior to the season beginning. So UW’s 81-72 loss at USC was surprising, especially since UW sophomore PG Jazmine Davis scored a career-high 37 points in the game.
USC lost Friday at Washington State, its third consecutive loss. The Huskies (16-6, 8-3) lost a tight one to the Bruins 65-61, shooting 27.8 percent in the second half. UW’s defense was good, forcing 20 turnovers, but UCLA’s was better. It only gave up five points on those miscues and held UW down in the waning minutes despite not scoring from the field in the final four minutes on the game.
Davis was upbeat after the loss, however. She expressed disappointment in not getting the upset but liked the progress of her team. UW lcoach Kevin McGuff shared the sentiment. Bouncing back to get a solid win against USC would continue to show UW is moving forward with its program turnaround.
Everyone is pink in honor of the “Play 4 Kay” movement to raise breast cancer awareness and funds for research. The cheerleaders even busted out with hot pink pom-poms. Love it.
Here are your starting lineups:
F Christina Marinacci
F Cassie Harberts
C Alexyz Vaioletama
G Brianna Barrett
G Kiki Alofaituli
F Kristi Kingma
F Aminah Williams
C Talia Walton
G Jazmine Davis
G Mercedes Wetmore
Tonight’s officials are Charles Gonzalez, Penny Davis, Eric Larson.