Women's Hoops Opens Pac-10 Second Half In Heated Race

Feb. 6, 2001

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Game 20
Washington Huskies (13-6, 6-3)vs.No. 22 Arizona Wildcats (16-5, 6-3)
7 p.m., Thurs., Feb. 8
Bank of America Arena (10,000)

Game 21
vs. No. 23 Arizona State Sun Devils
(15-6, 7-2)
2 p.m., Sat., Feb. 10*
Bank of America Arena (10,000)
* Televised by Fox Sports NW, delayed, shown Feb. 11 at 11 a.m.

This Week:
The Washington women's basketball team (13-6, 6-3) opens thesecond round of Pac-10 play by hosting a pair of ranked foes in No. 22Arizona, tied for second with the Huskies, and conference leader No. 23Arizona State in a critical weekend for the league race. The Wildcats arehere first, at 7 p.m., Thurs., Feb. 8, followed by an afternoon tip with theSun Devils, at 2 p.m., Sat., Feb. 10. The ASU contest will be televised byFox Sports Northwest, on a delayed basis, and is set to air Feb. 11 at 11a.m. Both games can be hears on the radio at KKOL 1300 am.

The Huskies are coming off a decisive victory at Washington State, inwhich they pounded the Cougars, 91-71, Saturday afternoon. The win kept theHuskies among the leaders in the Pac-10, as they stand in a three-way tiefor second place, along with Arizona and Stanford. Four of five startersreached double figure scoring at WSU, led by Megan Franza's 15 points, whileGiuliana Mendiola, Loree Payne and Franza each connected on three long rangebaskets in the game. Franza continues to lead the Huskies, with 14.7 pointsper game, followed by Mendiola and Payne, both at 10.5 per game. Ten of 12Huskies in the game were in the scoring column, highlighted by a 3-for-4seven point, eight rebound effort off the bench from Cheryl Sorenson.

Arizona has rebounded from three straight road losses to win its lasttwo games, both at home, over the Oregon schools. Pac-10 Player of the WeekElizabeth Pickney spearheaded the effort last weekend, posting 26 points andseven rebounds against the 22nd-ranked Ducks and added a double-double with19 points and 11 boards against OSU. Four Wildcats average double figurescoring, led by Pickney at 15.2 points per game, and followed by lone seniorReshea Bristol, who also added 26 points against the Ducks, and VerandaJames (13.7) and LaKeisha Taylor (10.6). Coach Joan Bonvicini recordedcareer victory No. 500 with the victory over Oregon State.

Arizona State kept its hold on sole possession of the top stop in thePac-10 by also sweeping the Oregon schools in Tempe last weekend. The SunDevils, who surpassed their win total from last year and moved into theAssociated Press Top 25 for the first time since 1992, have now won six in arow. Their last loss came at the hands of Washington, a 66-62 setback inTempe, Jan. 11. They are led by a trio of players averaging double figures,starting with Amanda Levens at 14.5 points per game, and followed by MelodyJohnson (14.2) and Betsy Boardman (10.9). Fifth-year coach Charli TurnerThorne was a graduate assistant at Washington from 1989-90.

Take a Kid to the Game:
UW's game against Arizona Thursday is part of thenational 'Take a Kid to the Game' Campaign. The Huskies invite area youth towatch UW take on No. 22 Wildcats at 7 p.m. at Bank of America Arena. Kidsage 12 and under will receive a free youth general admission ticket with thepurchase of a full-priced adult ticket. The national program involves morethan 500 men's and women's collegiate basketball games across the country.Tickets for the game are available at the Husky ticket office or by calling(206) 543-2200.

The Coaches
June Daugherty (Ohio St. �78)
Record at UW: 72-62 (5th yr.)
Career record: 195-136 (12th yr.)

Joan Bonvicini (Southern Conn. �75)
Record at UA: 175-110 (10th yr.)
Career: 500-181 (22nd yr.)

Arizona State
Charli Turner Thorne (Stanford �88)
Record at ASU: 70-72 (5th yr.)
Career: 100-112 (8th yr.)

Series Notes
UW leads the series with 22-8, but the Wildcats have won the last four ...Arizona defeated UW, 88-72, in the first meeting this year ... UW leads ASU,21-10, and holds a current one-game win streak in the series, with a 66-62win in the first meeting this year.

Huskies on Radio
All UW games air live on KKOL 1300 AM radio. Steve Sandmeyer calls theaction. Games can also be heard live on the internet at:http:www.broadcast.com/sports/ncaa/washington

June Daugherty Radio Show
KOMO am 1000
Mondays, 6:30-7 p.m.

Next Games
Feb. 15 at Oregon State, 7 p.m.
Feb. 17 at Oregon, 1 p.m.

Recent Results:
UW won at Washington State, 91-71 ... Arizona swept at home,beating No. 22 Oregon, 88-76, and OSU, 83-73 ... ASU swept at home, beatingOSU, 58-51, and No. 22 Oregon, 73-63.

Erickson Out for the Year:
Senior forward Melissa Erickson (Littleton,Colo.) tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee at California,Jan. 27, and is out for the remainder of the year. She had an MRI Jan. 31to determine the extent of the injury and proceeded with surgery, Feb. 5.Erickson, who had played in 18 games this season, concludes her collegiatecareer having played in 92 games over four years for the Huskies. She had acareer scoring mark of 2.46 points per game.Erickson, who started nine gamesas a junior, had career-bests of 13 points, at Hawaii, and 10 rebounds atArizona, both last season

She will graduate in June, with a degree in sociology, and plans topursue a career in coaching basketball.

Coaches Corner:
All three coaches this week -- June Daugherty, JoanBonvicini and Charli Turner Thorne -- reached milestone victories lastSaturday. UA's Bonvicini leads the way, earning career win No. 500 againstOregon State, June Daugherty tallied career win No. 195 at WSU and ASU'sCharli Turner Thorne posted career win No. 100 against the Ducks.

Some Pac-10 Notes:
Washington continues to lead the Pac-10 in rebounding,at 43.7 boards per game, after posting a 12-rebound advantage against theCougars ... ASU leads in rebounding defense, holding opponents to 33.1boards per game ... Arizona leads the Pac-10 in scoring (80.1 ppg) andWashington is third (71.5) ... ASU leads in scoring defense, holdingopponents to 59.0 ppg ... UW and UA are first and second in assists pergame, averaging 16.58 and 16.43, respectively ... Arizona's ElizabethPickney (15.2) and Reshea Bristol (14.7) rank third and fourth in the Pac-10scoring race ... Megan Franza is right behind, in fifth at 14.7, followed byASU's Amanda Levens in sixth at 14.2.

UW Against Ranked Teams:
The Huskies meet a pair of ranked foes this weekendwhen they face No. 22 Arizona and No. 23 Arizona State. Washington is 0-3against opponents ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 this season. Thefirst loss came at the hands of No. 1 Connecticut (100-54) back on Nov. 24.The second was at No. 22 Arizona, 88-72, and then to No. 18 Oregon, 67-53.

Though the Huskies have faced just three ranked teams this season,their schedule has not been light. In the Feb. 5 RPI rankings, Washington'sschedule is listed as No. 25 in the country, in strength of schedule. It wasas high as No. 2 earlier in the year.

Looking Back:
Washington has engineered a dramatic turnaround from lastseason, when the Huskies played their home games in downtown Seattle, werecontinually plagued by injuries and lacked a senior class. After 19 gameslast season, Washington had a record of 6-13 ... this year, the Huskies are13-6 ... they were 3-6 after the first nine Pac-10 games in 2000 ... thisyear they are 6-3 and in second place in the Pac-10 as they begin the secondround of play.

Huskies Hit High Field Goal Mark:
When the Huskies hit 50 percent of theirshots from the field (33-66) at Washington State it marked the highest fieldgoal percentage of the year ... the previous high was 47 percent (28-59) inthe second game of the season at Michigan ... the Huskies hit 50 percent inthe first half of the game (16-32) to take a 48-23 lead at the break ...UW's individual leader is freshman Andrea Lalum, who is hitting 46 percent(62-133) from the field.

Balanced Attack Continues:
Washington's 91 points at WSU tied itsseason-high, reached previously in a triple overtime game versus USC, Jan. 4... 10 of the 12 Huskies in the game against the Cougars contributed in thescoring column ... Four Huskies reached double figures, led by MeganFranza's game-high 15 points ... Andrea Lalum and Loree Payne each scored 14and Giuliana Mendiola rebounded from a scoreless game at California torecord 13 points ... Washington's 12 three point baskets was also aseason-high ... The previous mark was 10 at Arizona, Jan. 13. ... Mendiola,Payne and Franza each hit three (3) three point baskets in the game.

Washington's 91 points at WSU marked the 10th time a JuneDaugherty-coached Husky team has topped the 90-point barrier, includingearlier this season when they matched the effort in a triple overtime gameagainst USC. The Huskies topped the barrier once last year, nearly reachingthe century mark with 99 points against Idaho. Two years prior, in 1998-99,the high-scoring Huskies scored 90 or more points four times. The Washingtonschool record for points in a game is 114 versus Weber State in 1985.

The Series with Arizona
Overall: Washington leads, 22-8
Current streak: Arizona has won four games
Last six games: Arizona, 4-2
Last year: Arizona swept, 96-85 in Seattle and 96-81 in Tucson
Longest UW streak in series: 12 games
Longest UA streak: 3 games
Last UW win in the series: Jan. 9, 1999 (73-63 in Seattle)
June Daugherty vs. Arizona: 3-6

First Meeting This Season
Jan. 13, 2001 at No. 22 Arizona 87, UW 72 � Lakeisha Taylor scored 23 pointsand Reshea Bristol had a school-record 16 assists, leading No. 22 Arizonaover Washington 87-72.

The Wildcats (14-2, 4-0 Pac-10) won their seventh in a row whileWashington snapped a three-game win streak.

Using a trapping defense, Arizona took a 12-5 lead and then used a 12-2run over the final three minutes of the first half for a 48-34 lead.Washington (10-4, 3-1) rallied behind six 3-pointers in the second half -two by Loree Payne - to cut the margin to 70-68 with 4:48 left. But theWildcats went on a 13-4 run in the next three minutes to end the Huskies'threat.

Elizabeth Pickney finished with 17 points for Arizona while Aimee Grzyband Veranda James had 13 each. Payne and Andrea Lalum paced Washington with13 points apiece.

The Series with Arizona State
Overall: Washington leads, 21-10
Current streak: Washington has won 1 game
Last six games: UW, 4-2
Last year: Split, UW won, 78-76, in Seattle and ASU won, 74-53, in Tempe
Longest UW streak in series: 11 games
Longest ASU streak: 3 games
Last ASU win in Seattle: Feb. 3, 1996 (81-77)
June Daugherty vs. ASU: 6-3

First Meeting This Season
Jan. 11, 2001 UW 66, at ASU 62 � Freshman guard Giuliana Mendiola scored 15points and pulled down seven rebounds, including 10 points in the secondhalf, to lead the Huskies to a 66-62 victory over Arizona State.

For the Huskies, the victory snapped a three-game losing streak inTempe and was the first win in the state of Arizona since 1997.

The two teams battled to a 24-24 tie at the half with the Sun Devilsoutshooting the Huskies by a slim 34.5 to 32.1 percent margin andoutrebounding UW 24-16. In the second half, however, the Huskies slowlybuilt a lead, taking a 46-36 edge with 48-38 to play when Mendiola completeda layup with 9:27 to play. Washington took a 58-44 lead with a layup by JillPimley with 4:33 to play, holding ASU to just one field goal in over 10minutes.

The Sun Devils charged back into the game, however, with a 17-3 runthat began when Natalie Tucker hit a three-pointer with 4:16 left to play.Junior Cian Carvalho made a layup to put the Sun Devils within three points,62-59, with 41 seconds to play. Arizona State would get within three pointstwo more times over the final seconds of the game, but Washington knockeddown 4-of-6 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

Johnson led the game with 22 points and 11 rebounds, including eightpoints over the final two minutes of the game. For Washington, Megan Franzaand Pimley each reached double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively.

Washington, tied for second place after the first round ofconference play, was picked to finish sixth in a preseason vote of Pac-10coaches. The Huskies were picked seventh in the preseason media poll.

Look at Lalum:
Freshman center Andrea Lalum (Bozeman, Mont.) moved into thestarting lineup five games ago, for the Oregon/Oregon State series, and hasresponded well to the move. She is averaging 10.6 points and 6.2 rebounds inPac-10 game so far, topped by a career-best 19 points at Stanford. Inaddition, her field goal percentage has been stellar in Pac-10 games, at ateam-high .552 from the field in nine conference games, a mark that isfourth in the conference. She has scored in double figures the last fourgames and in five of the last six. Lalum, who is part Native American,posted her second double-double of the year when she had 12 points and 11rebounds against Oregon State.

Lalum, who grew an inch last year up to 6-foot-4, is a versatile playerwho provides the Huskies with a physical inside presence but has alsoconnected on 13 three-point shots this year. She was 3-for-3 from behind thearc as a part of her 19-point effort at Stanford.

She blocked four shots against St. Mary's Dec. 17, the highest singlegame mark by a Husky player since Amber Hall swatted four away at Texas,Dec. 2, 1996. Hall, then a junior, went on to finish her career asWashington's career-leading rebounder (1,003 rebounds, 1996-99).

Lalum has now started seven games in her freshman year.

Senior Strength:
Husky coach June Daugherty continually points to thesix-player senior class as a major reason for UW's hot start this year,crediting the group with strong leadership in practice and during games.Senior captains Megan Franza and Jill Pimley headline the group. Franza hasbeen a constant in the starting lineup since her freshman year and is aleader on the court. Pimley is in her second season as a team captain and isa vocal leader whether she is playing or on the bench. LeAnn Sheets, who hasstruggled with injuries throughout her career, is healthy and gives theHuskies a veteran presence in the post. Melissa Erickson, until she injuredher knee Jan. 27, brought experience off the bench, giving the Huskies addedheight inside. Sarah Duncan was named Most Inspirational last season andcontinues to fill that role this year. Carli Halpenny rounds out the group.A redshirt junior, she has opted to graduate this year in order to spend thespring quarter studying in Italy. The move puts her back in the class sheentered with in 1997 and strengths the leadership the six-player groupprovides.

Washington had no seniors on its roster last season when it posted an8-22 record.

Healthy Huskies:
While crediting the senior class with leading the Huskies,coach Daugherty also points to a healthy lineup as cause for celebration.Washington's frontline was beset by injuries last season, causing Daughertyto constantly shuffle her lineup. No less than five different players wereon the bench with injuries at one point or another last year. LeAnn Sheetsmissed the first eight games of the season after foot surgery. CherylSorenson ended up redshirting after a torn ACL in preseason. MelissaErickson was hampered by a sore shoulder during the non-conference portionof the schedule. Carli Halpenny was limited by a stress reaction in her hipand was initially declared out for the season and Kellie O'Neill had apremature end to her freshman year after suffering a severe ankle sprainmidway through the season.

Sheets suffered a sprained ankle at Boise State this year, causing herto miss the next two games, but she has returned to full strength. Inaddition, Loree Payne returned after missing the first six games with astress fracture in her foot. She posted a season-best 21 points against USC,Jan. 7.

The healthy lineup has given the Huskies increased depth this season, afactor that was particularly evident in the triple overtime win against USCJan. 7. The Trojans had four key players foul out while the Huskies wereable to constantly rotate fresh players in the game.

Megan on the Move:
Senior guard Megan Franza had one of the finestperformances of her career at California, Jan. 27. The left-handed guardfrom Leavenworth, Wash., exploded for a season-high 30 points on 11-of-17from the field. She tallied 22 points by halftime and finished the nightwith a school-record tying six three point baskets to go along with fourassists, three steals and a block. Here are a few notes on what Franza isdoing in her final season as a Husky:

  • Leading scorer against the Cougars, the eighth time she has led UW inscoring this year
  • Season-high 30 points at California, Jan. 27
  • Third career performance of 30 or more points (35 vs. Idaho, 12/18/99, 33vs. Stanford, 1/27/00)
  • Tied her own school record with six three pointers at Cal (shares recordwith two others) ... she and Jamie Redd (1996-99) both hit six twice
  • Started 104 of last 106 games ... last time not starting was Nov. 15,1998, vs. Iowa sophomore year
  • Reached double figure scoring in 40 of last 46 games ... has led UW inscoring last two seasons
  • Team captain

Franza on the UW Career Charts

  • No. 8 on UW career scoring chart with 1,376 points ... with nine points atStanford Jan. 25, she passed former teammate Amber Hall (1,330) ... needs132 points to move to No. 7 (1,508)
  • Career scoring average of 13.0 points per game
  • No. 8 on career field goals made chart (520) ... No. 5 on field goalattempts chart. (1,351)
  • No. 2 on UW career three point field goals made chart (174 made) ... needs19 to pass all-time leader Jamie Redd (192)
  • No. 2 on career three point attempts list with 614 ... again trails Redd(675) ... Franza equalled her career high attempts with 13 versus Nebraskathis season (Dec. 6)
  • A first team All-Pac-10 selection last year, Franza became the 16th Huskyto top the 1,000-point barrier and only the eighth player to pass the markas a junior.

Franza on the Pac-10 Conference Career Charts

  • Points - with 1,376 points, Franza needs 125 to tie No. 25 (1,501, ArianneBoyer, UO, 1994-97)
  • Field goals made - with 1,351 fgm, Franza needs 71 to tie No. 10 (747,Rehema Stephens, UCLA, 1989-92)

Chart Topper:
Megan Franza's game-winning shot with 4.5 seconds on the clockagainst Oregon State (Jan. 20), capped a 28-point performance for the seniorguard. That was followed by her 30-point performance two games later atCaliforinia. Here is a look at Franza's top six scoring marks:
35 -- vs. Idaho, Dec. 18, 1999
33 -- vs. No. 24 Stanford, Jan. 27, 2000
30 -- at California, Jan. 27, 2001
28 -- vs. Oregon State, Jan. 20, 2001
27 -- at Colorado State, Dec. 29, 1999
26 -- at Nebraska, Dec. 6, 1999

And Finally:
Last year, with a scoring average of 17.2 ppg, Franza led thePac-10 in scoring until the final two weeks of the season, while freshmanteammate Loree Payne finished fourth with 17.4 points per game. Togetherthey formed the highest scoring duo from the same school in Pac-10 history.

With the graduation of Maylana Martin (UCLA) and the redshirt seasonfor Oregon's injured Shaquala Williams, Payne and Franza entered the 2000-01season as the leading returning scorers in the Pac-10.

The victory at Washington State gave fifth-year Husky coach JuneDaugherty career win No. 195 ... when Washington defeated Oregon State Jan.20, it gave Daugherty victory No. 70 in her tenure at Washington ... sheenters the Arizona/ASU series with a five-year mark of 72-61 and a 12-yearcareer record of 195-135 ... her win total is third among seven Huskycoaches over the years.

On the Rebound:
Washington's rebounding efforts have improved tremendouslyfrom last season. After a cumulative -4.3 rebounding margin in 2000, theHuskies have a margin of +4.8 over opponents this season, a mark that ledthe Pac-10 until the Huskies were outrebouned at Stanford and Cal.Washington has outrebounded all but six opponents this season (UConn, St.Mary's, ASU, Oregon, Stanford, Cal). The team is averaging 43.7 rpg, secondin the Pac-10, after 19 games. Freshman Giuliana Mendiola is currently theleading rebounder at 6.4 boards per game. LeAnn Sheets follows at 6.0 andKellie O'Neill is at 5.4 rebounds per game.

Pizza Time!:
Washington's defensive efforts have been stellar so far thisseason and it's not just the Huskies who are reaping the benefits. WhenWashington wins at home and holds its opponent under 55 points, every fan inBank of America Arena can redeem their ticket stub for a free small pizza atPapa John's Pizza. It's become a rally cry for the home crowd and so far,the fans have cashed in twice, against UCLA (54) Jan. 4 and against LoyolaMarymount (52) on Dec. 21. They just missed against James Madison when theDukes tallied 56 points. Overall, the Huskies are holding opponents to 66.7points per game this season.

Mendiola Magic:
Freshman guard Giuliana Mendiola is off to a great start inher first season as a Husky. Here are a few highlights from the year:

  • Leads UW in rebounding (6.4) and assists (3.9)
  • Second-leading scorer at 10.5 points per game
  • No. 6 rebounder in the Pac-10
  • Seattle Times Classic MVP ... 37 points, 15 rebounds, three turnovers intwo games
  • Four double-doubles this season
  • Assist to turnover ratio is 1.4 ... fourth-best in the Pac-10
  • Has started 17-of-19 games
  • Plays point guard and either wing position
  • A few more notes ... the younger sister of teammate Gioconda ... takescare of the ball well, with only one turnover in her first college game, atIndiana, none at Boise State and none against Loyola Marymount ... eightassists versus UCLA ... In the triple OT win over USC, had 12 points, 10rebounds, six assists and only two turnovers in 41 minutes of action ... washeld scoreless at California, for, in her own memory 'probably the firsttime ever.'

Mendiola, who scored 3,069 points during her prep career, is in the top10 in five different Pac-10 statistical categories. Here is a look at whereshe ranks on each Pac-10 list:
rank category statistics
No. 4 assist/turnover ratio 1.42
No. 4 assists 3.95 apg
No. 5 defensive rebounds 4.11
No. 6 rebounding 6.4 rpg
No. 10 3 pt. FG made 25 (1.32 pg)
No. 20 scoring 10.5 ppg

Mendiola on the UW Freshman Charts:
While current sophomore Loree Paynere-wrote the UW Freshman Top 5 record book last season, Mendiola is set toleave her mark on several charts as well.

More Magic:
Freshman guard Gioconda Mendiola, older sister to Giuliana, hada career high when she posted a team-leading 10 points against UCLA Jan. 4.Mendiola had only scored in two of the nine games in which she had played tothat point in the season. Her previous high was five points against JamesMadison.

Mendiola graduated from high school in June, 1999 and then remained athome in California for a year before starting school. She and younger sisterGiuliana wanted to start college at the same time, so that they could playfour years together.

Road Warriors:
The Huskies have compiled a record of 6-3 on the road thisyear, with a 3-2 mark in conference games, after splitting in the Bay areaand winning at Washington State. Washington's three non-conference road winscame at Michigan, Boise State and Oklahoma State. The only loss was a 77-74setback in overtime at the buzzer to an Indiana squad that now boasts arecord of 13-5.

Washington had a mark of 1-10 on the road last season.

Payne Returns to Action:
Sophomore guard Loree Payne has returned to theform Husky fans are used to. UW's leading scorer as a freshman last season(17.4 ppg), Payne missed the first six games after being sidelined by astress fracture in her left foot. The sophomore guard, who was on thegold-medal winning USA Basketball Jones Cup team this summer, is back in thestarting lineup and bumped her scoring average into double figures for thefirst time this year after tallying 29 points, including seven threepointers, in the Oregon series two weeks ago. She followed that by shakingoff a 2-for-10 performance by hitting the winning three point basket with:58 seconds remaining in the game at California. Payne has scored in doublefigures in five of the last six games.

Injury Update:
Gioconda Mendiola had surgery Feb. 1 to repair a sprainedthumb on her right hand. She did not play at WSU but is probable for thisweekend.

Loree Payne missed the first six game with a stress fracture in herleft foot but returned Dec. 21. LeAnn Sheets suffered a left ankle sprain atBoise State and missed the Nebraska and Oklahoma State games. Sarah Keelerhad a minor meniscus tear in December and is redshirting this season.

Huskies in Overtime:
The triple overtime game against USC Jan. 7 wasWashington's second extra period contest this season. The Huskies opened theyear with a 77-74 loss at the buzzer in one overtime period at Indiana. Thetriple overtime game against USC was the first in UW school history.Washington's all-time record in overtime is 8-9 since 1976.

So Far, So Good:
Washington wrapped up the non-conference portion of itsschedule with a mark of 7-3, its best non-league record since 1997-98 whenit was 9-0. Included in that record is a 3-1 mark on the road. The onlythree non-conference losses of the season came in overtime at the buzzer atIndiana, at the hands of No. 1 Connecticut and a two-point loss to a 10-1Colorado State team. The third straight road win, at Oklahoma State Dec. 3,equalled UW's mark from all of last season. The wins have been impressive,beginning with a 73-60 thumping of a Michigan team that had knocked offLouisiana Tech two nights earlier. The Huskies rebounded from the UConn lossby cruising past Boise State, 87-67, and followed with the win at OSU andits first home victory in the new arena, against Nebraska. The Huskiescurrently have a home mark of 6-3. Helping the cause this year has beenincreased scoring from the bench and a versatile rotation that is nearlythree deep at every position.

Last Week
UW 91, at WSU 71� Megan Franza scored 15 points to lead a contingent of fourWashington players that scored in double figures as the Huskies defeatedWashington State, 91-71, at Friel Court.

WSU's Sarah Barrett scored a game-high 17 points to also lead a groupof four Cougar players that scored in double figures. However, poor firsthalf shooting plagued WSU and set a deficit that the Cougars could notovercome.

WSU converted 8-of-35 shots (22.9 percent) from the field in the firsthalf compared to a 16-of-32 effort from the floor for Washington. TheCougars rebounded in the second half but ended the game shooting 26-of-70(.371) from the field compared to the Huskies' 50 percent effort for thegame (33-of-66).

The Huskies, who never trailed in the contest, jumped out to 9-3 leadin the opening four minutes of the game. WSU went on a 5-0 run to cut thelead to 9-8 at the 14:48 mark of the half but then went ice-cold while theHuskies heated up. WSU would score 15 points for the rest of the half as theCougars made five field goals in that stretch. The Huskies took advantage ofthe Cougars' cold spell, scoring 39 points in that 14:48 period to take a25-point halftime lead.

Along with Franza's 15, Loree Payne and Andrea Lalum added 14 pointswhile Giuliana Mendiola chipped in 13 for Washington.

Huskies Among National Leaders in RPI Rankings
Washington's impressive stand in the RPI rankings continues. In theFeb. 4 Collegiate Basketball News Women's RPI Ratings, UW stands at No. 16in the nation and its schedule is listed as the 25th-toughest. Last week,they were No. 19 and listed as having the 21st-toughest schedule.

Washington has posted a record of 13-6 thus far, including a six-gamewin streak earlier in the year. The wins have been impressive. UW's victoryover Michigan came against a Wolverine team that had knocked offthen-eighth-ranked Louisiana Tech, a 2000 Final Four participant.Washington's season-opening loss at Indiana, at the buzzer in overtime, cameagainst a Hoosier team that has gone on to post a record of 13-5. UW's otherloss came at the hands of current No. 3 and defending national championConnecticut.

The Rating Percentage Index (RPI) is used by the NCAA women'sbasketball committee to supplement the selection of at-large teams and theseeding of all teams for the NCAA basketball tournament. It is derived fromthree component factors: Div. 1 winning percentage (25%), schedule strength(50%) and opponent's schedule strength (25%).

Catching up with Kellie:
Sophomore Kellie O'Neill had a stellar performancein her first home game this season, against No. 1 Connecticut. A 6-1guard-forward, she poured in a game-high 27 points against top-rankedConnecticut in Washington's home-opener Nov. 24.

O'Neill, who topped her previous career-best 16-point from December1999, went 12-for-18 from the field, including a 2-for-3 effort from 3-pointrange. Even more impressive was who it came against. O'Neill put in thehighest individual scoring effort against UConn to that point in the season.Only three players - including 2000 WNBA Rookie of the Year Betty Lennox -were able to score at least 25 points against UConn and its stingy defenselast season.

O'Neill, whose younger sister Kristen recently signed with Huskies fornext season, finished her high school career at Meadowdale with 1,414points, 810 rebounds, 213 steals and 170 blocks with a career field goalpercentage of 50.9 percent.

What They're Saying about O'Neill
'I like the way she plays,' Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma said ofKellie O'Neill after she scored 27 points against them on Nov. 24. 'You haveto guard her at the 3-point line. She's really smart with the ball in thelane. Their guards (Megan Franza and injured Loree Payne) get a lot ofmention and notoriety, and they should. But I think that kid (O'Neill) isreally, really good.'

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