Women's Basketball Tops Washington 78-64, Advance to Pac-10 Tourney Semis

March 2, 2002

EUGENE, Ore. - One week after losing to Washington in Seattle, the University of Oregon women's basketball team achieved retribution Saturday before 5,407 fans at McArthur Court in the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament.

The inspired Ducks (17-12), spurred by an aggressive defense, dominated the No. 2-seed Huskies 78-64 to advance to the semifinal game at 12:30 p.m. Sunday against Arizona State, which defeated Arizona 66-58 in the tournament's second game Saturday. The Oregon-Arizona State game will be televised live on Fox Sports Net.

Junior guard Shaquala Williams led the Oregon charge with game-highs of 26 pointsand five assists. Sophomore forward Cathrine Kraayeveld recorded her sixth double-double this year with 14 points and 14 rebounds. And senior Ndidi Unaka provided a huge lift off the bench with a season-high 12 points as Oregon won for the 10th straight time against Washington at Eugene.

'Not to take anything from Washington's game last week (an 88-80 Husky win), but we didn't come with the defensive intensity, the defensive aggressiveness and defensive togetherness that we came with today,' Oregon coach Bev Smith said. 'I just give our team credit. It was a really quick turnaround from last game, but it seems like a year ago the way they prepared and came out with their hearts and their heads.'

The Ducks led 14-8 in the game's first six minutes before the Huskies went on a 7-1 run to lead 15-14 at the 10:23 mark. However, it was Washington's final lead of the game as Oregon scored 11 unanswered points, as Williams scored seven points during the run.

Oregon opened it up in the second half, sparked by nine points from Unaka and eight from Jamie Craighead. The Ducks led 37-33 with 15:49 on the clock, but went on a 22-10 spurt to lead 61-43 with 7:34 left. Washington (17-11) could get no closer than 12 points down the rest of the game.

'That's an atmosphere you love to play in as a player,' said Washington guard Loree Payne, who finished with 15 points. 'It was loud in there, it was intense. It was a tough game, hard-fought. Unfortunately, we came up short.'

Wiliams converted on 8-of-16 from the field, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range and 6-of-6 from the foul line. She has now made 28 consecutive free throws dating to the Feb. 7 game against Stanford.

Meanwhile, Unaka shot 5-of-6 from the floor in addition to swiping two steals and blocking a shot. It marked just the second time in her career she has scored in double-figures against a Pac-10 team.

Oregon's defense forced Washington into 31 percent shooting, while the Ducks made 48 percent. Jamie Craighead was the fourth Duck in double-figure scoring with 13 as she hit 3-of-7 from 3-point territory.

Giuliana Mendiola led the Huskies, who have lost 13 of the last 14 against Oregon, with 18 points an seven rebounds.

'The Mendiolas (Giuliana and Gioconda) are tough kids and they kind of have a chip on their shoulder when they play, but I think I do too,' Williams said. 'When I'm on my home court, I'm not going to back down from anybody.'

-UO-
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