Husky Women Counter Cougar Comeback for 76-72 Win

Feb. 19, 2005

SEATTLE - Led by the career-high equaling 17 points of sophomore forward Jill Bell, Washington held off a furious Washington State rally for a 76-72 win at Bank of America Arena in Seattle. The win was the 20th-straight for Washington against its intrastate rival and extended to three the team's current winning streak, equaling the team's longest this season.

Washington State (6-19, 2-14) trailed by as many as 20 points in the first half, and was down by 14 with 12 minutes to play, before mounting a dramatic 20-8 run to cut the Huskies' lead to two with three minutes to play. The two teams traded points for the ensuing two minutes, before Cougars' center Keisha Moore missed a chance to tie the game with 42 seconds remaining and the Huskies ahead 74-72, losing the ball out of bounds as she pivoted for a layin underneath the Washington State basket.

Washington (12-14, 8-8) left the door open for a last-second upset by missing the back end of a pair of one-and-one free throw sets in the final minute, but held fast on the defensive end to deny the Cougars their first win in Seattle since the 1993 season.

Bell was one of four players in double figures for the Huskies, including a season-high 16 from sophomore Breanne Watson, and 11 each from Cameo Hicks and Cheri Craddock. Junior guard Ariana Scales led the Cougars' comeback with a career-high 22 points and six three-pointers, including four threes in the second half.

'We were just really happy to close it out with a win for our fans; they have been great this season and they deserve it,' said ninth-year head coach June Daugherty. '[The WSU] coaching staff has really done a great job with those kids. They certainly made this game interesting.'

It appeared through much of the first half that Washington would cruise to its sixth victory in its last nine games. The Huskies kept the Cougars off the scoreboard for the first three minutes and led 33-13 with seven minutes to play in the half. With Scales working outside, however, and senior leading scorer Emma Joneby finding ways to exploit the Huskies inside, the Cougars closed the half on a 23-10 run, including 16 points from the Cougar duo.

'Scales was just unconscious out there,' Daugherty said. 'When good shooters like her get into a zone, there is not much that you can do.'

Watson and Bell responded, however, in the second half, opening the UW advantage back to 14 before Washington State mounted its 20-8 run to cut the UW lead to two, at 68-66.

The run ended when Watson was fouled on a layin with 2:47 to play, converting the basket and free throw to stake the Huskies to a 71-66 lead. Scales hit a three-pointer to cut the lead back to two, before Bell knocked down a pair of free throws to give UW a four-point advantage, at 73-69, with 2:17 remaining.

Scales then responded with another three-pointer, her sixth of the night, to slash the deficit to one, and Burt missed the second end of a one-and-one, giving Washington State a chance to tie with 42 seconds left. Moore, however, could not hang on to the basketball in the lane, and the Huskies held on for the victory.

'We started out really well and our intensity was right there,' Daugherty said. 'There were just so many players that stepped up their game tonight.'

Washington closes the 2004-05 regular season in the desert next week with games at Arizona State (Thursday, 5:30 p.m. PT) and Arizona (Saturday, 3 p.m. PT).

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