The 'Big Dance' Continues For Huskies!!

March 18, 2001

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Washington kept alive its long and unlikelyadventure in the NCAA tournament Sunday night, thanks to good shooting and aclutch 14-point effort from freshman Andrea Lalum in an 86-75 upset victoryover Florida.

Forced to travel 3,000 miles after losing their last two regular-seasongames, the sixth-seeded Huskies (21-9) looked right at home in Gainesville.

They made their first six shots, shot 49 percent from the field and hit allbut seven of their 34 free throws in a near wire-to-wire victory over thethird-seeded Gators (24-6).

Freshman Giuliana Mendiola led Washington with 18 points, but nobody camethrough bigger than Lalum, who made four key baskets down the stretch to helphold off a strong Florida rally.

At the final buzzer, a few of the Washington faithful who made the long tripraced out of the stands and jumped up and down with the Huskies - right on themenacing Gators logo painted at midcourt.

The Huskies made it to the round of 16 for the first time since 1995.They'll continue play in the West Regional much closer to home - in Spokane,Wash., against the winner of Monday's game between Stanford and Oklahoma.

Florida matched the program record for victories this season, but joinedGeorgia as the second Southeastern Conference team that couldn't advance out ofa subregional on its own home court.

Brandi McCain led the Gators with 23 points, but shot just 8-for-29. By thetime she got hot, midway through the second half, Florida trailed by 19.

This game had none of the drama of Friday night, when Huskies guard LoreePayne hit a jumper at the buzzer to lift her team to a thrilling 67-65 victoryover Old Dominion.

Trailing 62-43, McCain hit three 3-pointers and center Vanessa Hayden scorednine points as part of a 26-11 run that pulled the Gators within four. ButLalum kept answering during that stretch, hitting four late baskets to keep theHuskies ahead.

After pulling within 73-69, Florida missed five straight shots, and startedsending the Huskies to the foul line, where they hit 11 of 15 down the stretch.

Thus marked a sudden and unexpected end to basketball season at Florida,where the women joined the men, who lost earlier in the day to Temple.

AP Sports Writer

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