Women's Basketball Drops Season Opener in OT at Indiana

Nov. 17, 2000

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - In a wild first game, the Washington women's basketball team lost its season-opener at the buzzer, 77-74, in overtime at Assembly Hall Friday afternoon. After missing a pair of free throws, Indiana's Tara Jones got the ball on an inbounds pass and sank a three pointer as time expired to lift the Hoosiers to their first win under coach Kathi Bennett.

It was almost Washington's win as freshman Giulana Mendiola hit a three-pointer of her own at thebuzzer in regulation to tie the game at 65-65 and send it to overtime. It capped a second half in which the Huskies outscored the Hoosiers by six.

IU freshman guard Anna Waugh opened up overtime with a three-pointer, but Husky senior Megan Franza scored five consecutive points to give Washington a 70-68 lead. Indiana tied the score at 70-70 on layup with 2:05 to go. There were three more lead changes before IU's Heather Cassady hit a three-pointer to tie the game once again at 74-74 with :58 seconds remaining.

After a Husky miss with 30 seconds remaining, Indiana slowly worked the ball upcourt and got it intothe hands of Jones with time running out. IU's Jones tried to go up for a three-pointer with under one second left, when a hand check foul was called on senior starter LeAnn Sheets, who then fouled out of the game, and Jones went to the free throw line. After a five-minute delay due to discrepancies with the clock and number of personal fouls for Sheets, nine-tenths of a second was put on the clock, Jones went to the line and missed both free throws.

On the rebound of Jones' second miss, the ball bounced off Husky sophomore Kellie O'Neill, giving the Hoosiers the ball back with seven-tenths of a second left under the offensive basket. Cassady inbounded the ballto Jones behind the arc, and she sank the game-winner.

The sequence of events that sent the game to overtime were just as wild. The Huskies got two offensive rebounds off missed free throws but only cashed in on one, as they trailed, 63-62, with 16 seconds remaining in regulation. Franza missed a long three pointer and IU's Erika Christenson was fouled on the rebound, sending her to the line. She sank both free throws to put the Hoosiers up by three. Washington inbounded the ball to Mendiola, who was nearly stripped of the ball, bobbled it several times and then threw up a prayer, hardly looking at the basket, that went at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

Mendiola, making her collegiate debut, finished the game wih 15 points, on 5-of-6 from the field, including two three pointers, 3-of-4 from the line and five rebounds. Franza, who missed her first nine shots of the game, led all scorers with 23 points, including five three pointers. When she finally broke out of her slump, her shots came at critical points in the game. Franza hit back-to-back three pointers, sandwiched in between a Melissa Erickson jumper, to pull the Huskies within one, 50-49, at 8:24 in the second half. She hit Washington's first five points in overtime to give the Huskies their first lead of the game at 3:32 in the extra period.

Washington also got double figure scoring from Cheryl Sorenson, who was playing for the first time since the 1998-99 season, while Sheets had a game-high 10 rebounds before fouling out. Indiana had four players in double figures, led by Wasugh's 17 points. Indiana led by as many as 11 in the first half and took a 33-27 lead at halftime.

'I like that when we were down, we showed a lot of poise, fought back and sent it to overtime,' said fifth year Husky coach June Daugherty. 'I thought we had a chance to go to double overtime. The officials said LeAnn's foul was a hand check. Then there was a discrepancy on the clock, several times. There was a discrepancy at the table, on LeAnn fouling out. We had that as her fourth foul. There was discussion on that. The other thing was how much time was on the clock at the end of the game. There were no monitors in the arena to check how much time was on the clock. That would have been a valuable tool, to know how much time was left, in a game that easily could have gone to double overtime. I don't say that to take anything away from Indiana and coach Bennett in her first home game. Congratulations to them. That team fought hard and deserved the win.

The Huskies continue their road trip with a game at Michigan, at 2 p.m. EST (11 a.m. PST) Sun., Nov. 19 at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor.

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