FOR THREE: Pacific is busting Washington’s zone by popping three-pointers, a fave shot by the Tigers this season. It’s up 64-55 with 9:33 on the clock. Three players are in double-figure scoring for Pacific. Kingma is stuck on 17 and Williams has 14 points with eight rebounds. I’m out to focus on the newspaper version of the story. Winner of this game faces the winner of the Utah-San Diego matchup slated for Monday.
THAT’S WHY: My bad for forgetting Johnson and Davis know each other from ball in California. Davis is doing a supreme job covering her rival, but Johnson did get past Davis for a layin. Add more buckets from Rodriguez and it’s 57-53 Pacific with 11:38 left. UW is getting crowded by aggressive defense from Pacific and not getting the needed rebounds. The Huskies are shooting 26.7 percent from the field after the break.
BACK UP: Rodriguez juked Wetmore for a jumper to put the Tigers up 50-49. There’s 14:50 left in the game. Rodriguez has a team-high 13 points with five rebounds. The Tigers are finding their way around the Huskies’ zone defense unlike the opening half.
CLOSING IN: A three-pointer by Rodriguez and an awkward bucket by Johnson, her first, in the paint made the deficit 47-44 for Pacific. The Tigers then pulled out two defensive stops and got a bucket by Kendall Johnson to make the score 49-48 with 16:27 left in the game. The Tigers are outscoring the Huskies 11-4 after the break.
HALFTIME: The teams are shooting well, but nine turnovers by Pacific is hurting its chances to cut into UW’s 45-37 lead at the break. The Huskies are shooting 51.4 percent from the field and have gathered 14 points off the Tigers’ miscues. Gena Johnson is still shutdown at 0-for-4 from the field with two assists. McKenzie, who is 3 of 7 from three-point range, leads the Tigers with nine points. Kenyon has a team-high six rebounds. Kingma leads UW with 17 points and Williams has 10 points, helping the team outscore the visitors 20-12 in the paint. There isn’t a halftime performance and wasn’t one on Friday, either. There was a wheelbarrow race today and on Friday there was a game of musical chairs.
KING ME: Kingma has never played like an athlete with no knees this season and this afternoon is no different, only she’s moving around like a spring chicken. The buckets are looks she’s had all year, she just looks stronger in her release and is, of course, making the shot. She has a game-high 17 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field. UW is up 45-37 with 25 seconds left in the game. Oh, did I mention Kingma played 42 minutes on Friday?
BACKDOOR: The Tigers are getting a few looks along the baseline, a layin by Wakefield pulled Pacific with 41-29.
LIKE ME?: UW is doing a solid job holding down Johnson, who averages a 12.1 points for the Tigers. She’s 0-for-3, scoring her two points at the foul line. But if you like the look of her game get ready for her younger brother Darin Johnson. He signed to play for UW coach Lorenzo Romar next season. It’s 35-22 Washington.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Walton and Williams are playing with tons of fire against Pacific. Williams is chasing down boards and making tough shots inside while Walton is drove to the hoop like a mac truck. It has UW up 31-20 with 8:07 remaining in the opening half.
GOOD D: Washington’s defense has forced five Pacific turnovers, converting them into six points. Huskies freshman Mathilde Gilling is playing well inside the paint early, contributing five points in four minutes while Kingma’s offense seems to have returned. She’s 3 of 5 from the field for eight points. UW up 22-17 with 11:45 on the clock.
SIZZLING: Pacific used a 13-0 run to take an early 13-2 lead. UW is starting to get those “good looks” to drop and is down 13-10 with 15:13 on the clock. The Tigers are shooting 50 percent from the field to the Huskies’ 40 percent.
Washington is ready for its second round game against Pacific in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. The Huskies needed double-overtime to escape Eastern Washington in the tourney opener on Friday at Alaska Airlines Arena. The starters played at least 47 minutes, so the offense could still be questionable for the Huskies with tired legs. But UW coach Kevin McGuff stressed rebounding against EWU, using the offensive boards late to stay in the game and ultimately win.
Pacific is going to be a tougher matchup, however, if UW (21-11) doesn’t get out to solid start. Four of Pacific’s starters average double figures in scoring and it shot 52 percent in the second half of its 69-65 WNIT opening win against Arkansas-Little Rock on Friday.
The Tigers (26-7) won the Big West title, joining the West Coast Conference next season. Pacific traveled to Seattle to open its season with a thrilling 71-70 win at Seattle U. But it hasn’t played UW since the 1996-97 season and is 1-3 against Washington all-time.
Let’s get this matchup going with your starting lineups:
F Ashley Wakefield
F Kendall Rodriguez
C Kendall Kenyon
G Gena Johnson
G Erica McKenzie
F Kristi Kingma
F Aminah Williams
C Talia Walton
G Jazmine Davis
G Mercedes Wetmore
Today’s officials are Bethany Graves, Paul Patterson, and Julie Vanni.