Huskies Edged By Gonzaga In Season Opener, 64-59

Nov. 16, 2008

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SEATTLE - Junior forward/center Laura McLellan scored a career-high 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds, but it wasn't enough to propel Washington to a win in its 2008-09 season opener as the Huskies fell to Gonzaga, 64-59, at Bank of America Arena Sunday afternoon.

Washington (0-1) led for the entire first-half and the first 10 minutes of the second-half, but the Huskies' 31 turnovers and a 21-13 deficit in offensive rebounding eventually caught up with them. Gonzaga (2-0) scored 32 points off Husky turnovers, including 17 in the second-half.

Sophomore guard Courtney Vandersloot led Gonzaga with a game-high 20 points, including 11 in the second-half, while reserve guard Tiffanie Shives contributed 19 points. Forward Vivan Frieson grabbed a career-high 10 steals as well for the Bulldogs.

Joining McLellan in double-figures for the Huskies were junior guard Sami Whitcomb (11 points) and freshman guard Kristi Kingma (11). Senior forward Heidi McNeill grabbed a career-high nine rebounds to lead UW on the boards. Whitcomb also recorded seven rebounds.

'Give all the credit to Gonzaga, they are a fantastic team,' UW head coach Tia Jackson said. 'They came in here doing exactly what we expected - rebounding like monsters and getting (Courtney) Vandersloot the ball - and they found a way to execute those things and do it very well...When you give a team 21 second-chance opportunities there is a chance that they are probably going to pull out a victory and that is what happened tonight.'

UW held a six-point lead at the intermission (30-24) and by as many as 10 (17-7) 12 minutes into the contest. The Huskies shot 44 percent from the field, while limiting the Bulldogs to 23.3 clip (10-of-43) in the first 20 minutes.

But Gonzaga came back to tie the game on some timely three-point shooting in the second-half. Vandersloot's three at 15:28 tied the score, 34-34, and after the Huskies pushed ahead again, guard Jami Schaefer hit another three to tie, 37-37, at 12:57.

Then with UW leading 46-43 with 7:02 remaining, Gonzaga mounted a 7-0 run over the next four minutes to go up, 50-46, and did not relinquish the lead at that point.Washington's loss to Gonzaga was the second-straight in the all-time series, as the Bulldogs had never defeated the Huskies until last year's 91-72 win in Spokane. UW still leads the series, 17-2.

Washington will now hit the road and travel to Ogden, Utah, for a mid-week game at Weber State, Wed., Nov. 19. The contest will tip-off at 6 p.m. PT. The Huskies will then return to Seattle to host Boise State, Sunday, Nov. 23, at 2 p.m.

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