Huskies Keep Dancing Right into Elite Eight

March 25, 2001

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Monday, March 26 --
No. 6 Washington vs. No. 5 Southwest Missouri State
(NCAA West Regional Final)
Spokane Arena, Spokane, Wash.

The Tournament: The Washington women's basketball team (22-9) made the most of its return home, advancing to the West Regional championship game set for Monday night after knocking off No. 2-seed and seventh-ranked Oklahoma, 84-67, in the semifinal game late Saturday night. The Huskies will face No. 5 seed and 15th-ranked Southwest Missouri State at 7 p.m. PST, Monday, March. 26.

The Huskies advance to an NCAA Regional Championship game for just the second time in school history and the first since time since 1990. It will mark the longest stretch of NCAA Tournament games ever for the Huskies, who, when they advance in 1990, had a first round bye. In the 1990 tournament, Washington met Auburn in the Mideast Region Championship, only to be defeated, 76-50, by the Tigers. The Huskies were a No. 1 seed that year.

Monday night, the Huskies, a six-seed who earned an at-large bid and were sent to Florida for their first and second round games, meet the Lady Bears, who advance to a regional championship for the second time in school history. En route to Spokane, SMS knocked off 12th-seeded Toledo, 89-71, and No. 4-seed Rutgers, 60-53, in Piscataway, N.J.

Washington is in its 13th NCAA Tournament and third under Husky head coach June Daugherty. Appearing in the tournament for the first time since 1998, the Huskies advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1995.

Television / Radio / InternetWashington's regional championship game versus Southwest Missouri State will be televised live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. PST. Michelle Tafoya and Doris Burke will call the action with Beth Mowins on the sidelines. It will be carried live on the radio at KOMO am 1000 with Steve Sandmeyer calling the game. Games can also be heard live on the internet by going to where fans will be directed to:

How They Got HereThe Huskies received the lengthiest travel schedule of the tournament but didn't let it faze them as they opened their first NCAA appearance since 1998 with a last second buzzer-beating shot to defeat 11-seed Old Dominion, 67-65, in the first round at the O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla. They followed that performance, and the shot that earned a spot on ESPN's Plays of the Week, with an upset of host and No. 3 seed Florida, 86-75, to advance to the Sweet 16 for the fifth time in school history.SWMS advanced after defeating Toledo, 89-71, and No. 4-seed Rutgers, 60-53 in Piscataway, N.J.

About the West Region Field
Washington finished the regular season with a record of 19-9 overall and 12-6 in the Pacific-10 Conference. The Huskies were crowned conference co-champions along with Stanford and Arizona State, who also finished with league marks of 12-6. Stanford earned the automatic bid to the tournament through the conference tiebreaker. Washington was the highest seed among the four Pac-10 teams participating in the tournament, as Stanford was at 10, ASU 11 and Oregon 13. The Huskies are the only Pac-10 team remaining in the tournament.

Southwest Missouri State boasts the NCAA's all-time leading scorer in Jackie Stiles who has amassed 3,339 career points, including an NCAA single-season record 1,008 points this season. Stiles tallied 41 points in the Lady Bears' 81-71 regional semifinal victory over Duke. Southwest Missouri State earned an automatic bid through the Missouri Valley Conference after finishing its regular season with a mark of 25-5. The Lady Bears are making their 10th appearance.

Along with Spokane, the other regional sites are: East - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Mellon Area), Mideast - Birmingham, Alabama (Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Area), and Midwest - Denver, Colorado (Pepsi Center). The four regional winners will meet at the NCAA Women's Final Four, March 30 and April 1, at the Savvis Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

Probable Washington Starters

     Name               Pos. Ht.   Yr.   Hometown              Pts   Rebs42 - LeAnn Sheets        F   6-2   Sr.   Olympia, Wash.        7.3    6.940 - Andrea Lalum        C   6-4   Fr.   Bozeman, Mont.        9.3    5.422 - Loree Payne         G   6-0   So.   Havre, Mont.         11.2    2.414 - Megan Franza        G   5-11  Sr.   Leavenworth, Wash.   16.2    3.713 - Giuliana Mendiola   G   5-11  Fr.   Lake Forest, Calif.  11.3    6.3

NCAA Tournament History: On the strength of a remarkable regular season that has seen the Huskies engineer one of the greatest turnarounds in the country, Washington is making its 13th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The most recent visit was in 1998 when the current Husky senior class were freshmen. Washington has an overall mark of 14-12 in tournament games and has advanced as far as the Elite Eight, in 1990.

The Huskies first appeared in 1985, the fourth year of the tournament, and had a string of seven straight years in which they advanced to postseason. After missing out in 1992, when they finished 17-11, the Huskies returned every year from 1993-95.

Washington is 7-3 in first round games, 5-5 in second round games and 2-3 in regional semifinal games. UW owns a record of 3-4 in NCAA tournament games played on a neutral court.

Been There, Done That: Washington's six-player senior class was the last UW group to appear in the NCAA Tournament, when they were freshmen in 1998. The Huskies lost in the first round, 88-71, at Purdue. Washington advanced to the second round of the WNIT in 1999.

Top Twenty: Washington surpassed the 20-win plateau for the first time since 1994-95 ... the Huskies finished 25-9 that year and advanced to the Mideast Regional Semifinal before falling to Texas Tech (67-52) ... UW has posted 11 twenty-win seasons since 1974-75 ... UW's highest win total was in 1990, when that team finished 28-3 after advancing to the Elite Eight (where it lost to Auburn, 76-50).

Top Dawgs: When Washington earned a share of the Pac-10 women's basketball title, it became the fourth conference crown for a Husky sports team this year. The men's and women's soccer teams each won Pac-10 titles, as did the Husky football team.

The men's soccer team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament while the women reached the Sweet 16. The Husky football team earned a berth in the Rose Bowl where it defeated Purdue, 34-24.

Bottom to Top: Washington's first place finish in the Pac-10 Conference marked the single greatest turnaround by a Pac-10 team, from one year to the next, since conference play began in 1986-87. The Huskies, who share the Pac-10 championship with Arizona State and Stanford, finished ninth last year. No other team has ever made that great a leap in one season. Previously, the most dramatic turnaround was an Oregon team that went from fourth place in 1997-98 to Pac-10 champions in 1998-99.

Pac-10 History: Washington has claimed three Pac-10 titles since the conference began women's play in 1986-87. The Huskies won the second title awarded, in 1988, when they finished with an overall record of 25-5 and 16-2 in conference play. That team advanced to the NCAA West Region Semifinal, where it lost to Long Beach State, 104-78, in Long Beach. The Huskies were co-champions with Stanford in 1990 when they posted Washington's best record ever, at 28-3 overall, with a 17-1 conference mark. The Huskies, who finished the year ranked No. 3, advanced to the Elite Eight, where the season ended with a 76-50 loss to Auburn at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.

In the 14 previous years of Pac-10 play, the conference's automatic qualifier hosted NCAA first round games. In 1990, when Washington and Stanford were co-champions, both were No. 1 seed and hosted tournament games. When UCLA and Oregon shared the title in 1999, the Bruins had the automatic bid and hosted while the Ducks played at Iowa.

Dawg Bites
o Washington is participating in its 13th NCAA Tournament. The Huskies are14-12 all-time in the tournament.

o UW? last NCAA Tournament appearance was in 1998. The Huskies lost, 88-71, to Purdue.

o The Huskies?last Sweet 16 appearance was in 1995. They lost, 67-52, to Texas Tech in Knoxville, Tenn.

o Washington has reached the round of 16 four times. The Huskies have been to the Elite Eight once before, in 1990.

o Washington was the highest seed among four Pac-10 Conference teams appearing in the tournament. The Huskies are the lone remaining Pac-10 team.

o Sixth-seeded Washington is the lowest seed remaining in the tournament.

o UW broke the Pac-10 single season mark for three pointers made in the first round of the NCAA Tournament . The Huskies have hit 230 treys this season, surpassing the old mark of 213 set by Stanford in 2000.

o The Huskies broke the Pac-10 record for three pointers in a game with 16 versus Arizona, Feb. 8.

o The Huskies have hit at least five three point baskets in all but four games this season.

o The Huskies?lead the Pac-10 in rebounding with 42.7 boards per game.

o The victory at Florida gave head coach June Daugherty win No. 80 in her fifth year at UW. She has a five-year mark of 81-65 and a 12-year career record of 204-139.

o UW? all-time record is 524-254 in 27 years of women? basketball at UW.

o Washington won 20 games for the first time since 1995.

o LeAnn Sheets posted a season-high 15 rebounds versus Old Dominion in the first round.

Quick Fact: All 23 of Washington's athletic teams are referred to simply as 'Huskies.'The term 'Lady Huskies' is not used by the University of Washington.

Dawgbite: Seven of the 15 players on the Husky roster are from the state of Washington ... two are from Montana, two from Oregon, two from California one from British Columbia and one from Colorado.

Senior Salute: Six Huskies are entering the home stretch of their collegiate careers. This year is the second NCAA Tournament appearance for Sarah Duncan, Melissa Erickson, Megan Franza, Carli Halpenny, Jill Pimley and LeAnn Sheets. Together the class has combined to lead Washington to a 64-54 record over the last four years, including the Huskies' most recent NCAA Tournament visit, when they were freshmen in 1998. They helped lead UW to a 10-0 start and a No. 7 national ranking in '97-98 and have engineered the fourth-greatest turn-around in the country, from one season to the next, this year. All six players will graduate in June.

Top Turnaround: Washington has engineered a dramatic turnaround from last season, when the Huskies played their home games in downtown Seattle, were continually plagued by injuries and lacked a senior class. At the end of last season, Washington had a record of 8-22, the first losing season in school history, and a ninth place finish in the Pac-10 ... this year, the Huskies finished the regular season at 19-9 and as Pac-10 co-champions.

With an overall record of 22-9, Washington more than doubled its win total from last season when it finished 8-22. Here is a look at how Washington ranks among other teams around the country that have also posted similar turnarounds this season:

Team                   99-00 record (%)   00-01 record (%)    differentialSouth Carolina St.     5-23 (.179)        18-10 (.643)        +.464Washington             8-22 (.267)        22-9 (.710)         +.443Baylor                 7-20 (.259)        21-9 (.700)         +.411Montana State          6-21 (.222)        18-10 (.643)        +.421Georgia Southern      10-18 (.357)        22-7 (.759)         +.402

Washington and Southwest Missouri State Common Opponents The Huskies and Lady Bears have just one common opponent this season in Oklahoma State. Both teams defeated OSU during the regular season. Here is a look at how they fared:Southwest Missouri State def. Oklahoma State 78-46, Nov. 29 in Springfield. Washington defeated OSU 66-59, Dec. 3 on a neutral court in Oklahoma City

Series History: Monday night will be the third meeting between the Huskies and the Lady Bears. Washington owns a 2-0 record in the series, with a 95-57 win in the Utah Classic in the 1988-89 season and an 85-77 win in the preseason WNIT in Springfield in the 1994-95 season. Husky head coach June Daugherty has never coached against SMS.

Washington carries an all-time record of 2-1 versus schools in the Missouri Valley Conference, with the two wins over SMS and a loss to Drake in 1982.

Statistical Comparison     UW      SMSOverall record             22-9    28-5AP Ranking                 votes   15Points per game            74.1    82.7Field goal percentage     .409    .4983-Pt. FG percentage       .333    .409Rebounding average         42.7    40.2

Regional Semifinal Recap
Game Notes
With 17 points against Oklahoma, Megan Franza moved to No. 6 on the UW career scoring chart ... she now has 1,600 points ... She moved to No. 17 on the Pac-10 career scoring chart, passing former Husky great Karen Deden ... Franza needs one more three pointer to move to No. 2 on the Pac-10 three point field goals made list ... Andrea Lalum's three blocked shots were a UW NCAA Tournament record.

Regional Semifinal, March 24SPOKANE, Wash.- Washington, cheered on by a capacity crowd at the Spokane Arena, eliminated No. 2 seed Oklahoma 84-67 Saturday night to advance to the semifinals of the West regional.

The sixth-seeded Huskies, who defeated No. 3 seed Florida in Gainesville to make it to Spokane, play fifth-seeded Southwest Missouri State on Monday night for a berth in the Final Four.

Southwest Missouri State upset top-seeded Duke in the other semifinal 81-71 behind 41 points by Jackie Stiles. Megan Franza warmed up after an icy start to score 17 for Washington (22-9). She missed her first five 3-pointers, then made three of four, two in a 23-second span, as the Huskies pulled away midway through the second half.

Freshman Andrea Lalum scored 18 for Washington. Loree Payne added 17 and freshman Giuliana Mendiola 15. Oklahoma (28-6) shot just 35 percent from the field (25-of-72).

In what was supposed to be a 3-point shootout, the Sooners were just 6-for-26 from long range. Washington was 8-for-24. All-America Stacey Dales was just 6-of-14 shooting and scored 13. LaNeishea Caufield, who like Dales averages 16.1 points per game, was 0-for-11 from the field and scored six.

Caton Hill kept the Sooners in it most of the game with 23 points and 12 rebounds. She scored 18 in the second half as Oklahoma rallied to take a 49-48 lead on Sunny Hardeman's 3-pointer with 12:52 to play.

But Lalum followed with one of her three 3-pointers - in four attempts - to put the Huskies ahead for good 51-49 with 12:48 remaining. Franza's 3-pointer capped a 10-2 run that gave the Huskies a 58-51 lead 11:03 from the finish.

Hill's two free throws cut it to 60-57 with 7:58 to go, but Franza made two 3s, the second with 7:16 to play, put Washington up 66-57.

The Huskies, in a regional final for the first time since 1990, sealed it by making 11 of 12 free throws in the final 1:53. Washington has never played in the Final Four.

The game got off to an ugly start. Oklahoma, which averages 82 points, scored just 17 in the first 16:12. Payne's rebound basket put Washington ahead 25-17 with 4:32 left in the half. Then both teams warmed up and the Huskies led 38-33 at the break.

The Sooners made just three of their first 15 shots and trailed 17-10 after Mendiola scored for Washington with 9:23 to go in the half.

NCAA First and Second Round Recaps
Second Round versus Florida, March 18
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Two losses at the end of the regular season sent Washington on a 3,000-mile trip that few teams could expect to survive.

Talk about making the best of it.The Huskies kept alive their long and unlikely adventure in the NCAA tournament Sunday night, thanks to good shooting and a clutch 14-point effort from freshman Andrea Lalum in an 86-75 upset victory over Florida.

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

Giuliana Mendiola led Washington with 18 points, but nobody came through bigger than Lalum, who hit two 3-pointers to open the game, then made four key baskets down the stretch to help hold off a strong Florida rally.

The Gators matched the program record for victories this season, but joined Georgia as the second Southeastern Conference team that couldn't advance out of a subregional on its home court.

Brandi McCain led the Gators with 23 points, but shot just 8-for-29 (7-for-26 from 3-point range) as part of the team's awful 34 percent shooting night. By the time McCain got hot, midway through the second half, Florida trailed by 19.

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

Trailing 62-43, McCain hit three 3-pointers and center Vanessa Hayden scored nine points as part of a 26-11 run that pulled the Gators within four. But Lalum kept answering during that stretch, keeping the Huskies in the lead.

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

First Round versus Old Dominion, March 16
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Loree Payne got Washington's tournament off to a magical start, hitting a 15-foot jump shot at the buzzer to lift the Huskies past Old Dominion 67-65 in the first round of the West Regional.

With 0.7 seconds remaining, Payne, a sophomore, took the inbounds pass from Megan Franza, spotted up on the baseline and swished home the game winner as the buzzer blared.

The sixth-seeded Huskies (20-9) rushed off the bench and mobbed Payne, pushing her into press row, as they celebrated a triumphant return to the tournament after a two-season absence.

No. 11 seed Old Dominion (21-9) trailed by as many as 10, but chipped away, and when Monique Coker hit a layup, the Lady Monarchs tied the game at 65 with 54 seconds remaining. After a Washington turnover, Old Dominion had a chance for the go-ahead bucket, but lost the ball after shooting an air ball, then getting whistled for a shot-clock violation.

The Huskies brought the ball down, and Franza missed a 15-foot jumper. But the ball went out of bounds off Old Dominion, giving Payne her chance to be the hero.

It was a quick turnaround for Washington, which blew its chance to win the Pac-10 outright with two bad losses to to UCLA and USC - both at the bottom of the conference - to close the regular season.

The Huskies, who depend largely on their 3-point shooting, won despite making just 7 of 22 from long range. Payne hit four 3-pointers and led Washington with 20 points. Franza, an All Pac-10 first-teamer, finished with 12 points and six assists.

Long a powerhouse in the women's game, Old Dominion came into the tournament with its lowest seed ever, even though it won its 10th straight Colonial Athletic Association title.

Myriah Spence came off the bench to lead the Monarchs with 13 points while teammate Hamchetou Maiga had 11 points and seven rebounds. The was ODU's first opening-round loss since 1995.

In the Rankings: Washington was in The Associated Press Top 25 twice this season, most recently at No. 22 for the week of March 5. The Huskies broke into the poll for the first time this season at No. 23 on Feb. 12. The Huskies received votes in the most recent March 11 poll.

When Washington moved into the rankings Feb. 12, it marked the first time a Husky team had been in the top 25 since the 1997-98 season. They were ranked the week of Feb. 28, 1998, at No. 23. The current six-player senior class was in its freshman season then and helped lead Washington to its last NCAA Tournament appearance. That team was ranked as high as No. 7, after starting the season on a 10-0 run.

UW's highest ranking in the AP Top 25 was No. 3 in the final poll of the 1990 season.

Hear the Roar: Washington's home attendance has increased dramatically this season, the first year of play in the newly remodeled Hec Edmundson Pavilion. The Huskies brought an average of 4,185 fans per home game, up from last year's mark of 2,338 from last season and 3,608 from the 1999 season. That's an increase of 1,847 from last year to this year and up 577 from two years ago.

Dawgbite: Washington ranks sixth in the nation in three point field goals made per game. The Huskies average 7.4 per contest. The national leader is Iowa State at 9.2.

Three Point Barrage: Washington is first in the Pac-10 in three point field goals made with 230 in 31 games ... the Huskies broke the Pac-10 single season record in the first round of the NCAA Tournament versus Old Dominion after they tallied seven in that game for a total of 215 (old mark - 213, Stanford, 2000) ... the team has far surpassed the previous UW season high of 150 three pointers made in 1998. The Huskies broke the single game mark when they sank 16 from long range against Arizona Feb. 8. Stanford tied that mark when it hit 16 against Washington Feb. 24.

Some Pac-10 Notes: UW continues to lead the Pac-10 in rebounding, at 42.7 boards per game ... the Huskies are second in scoring offense (73.7 ppg) ... second in assists (16.53 apg) ... first in offensive rebounds and defensive rebounds ... first in three point field goals made (7.43) and first in assist to turnover margin (0.91).

Dawgbite: Fifth-year Husky coach June Daugherty has engineered one of the greatest turnarounds in the Pac-10 and the nation this season ... she enters the NCAA West Regional with a 12-year career mark of 204-139. Daugherty is 81-65 in her five years at Washington. Her UW record is third-best among Washington coaches and with two more wins, she will tie Kathie Nier (1975-79) for most second-most UW victories.

Daugherty currently stands fifth among Pac-10 coaches in career victories, behind Stanford's Tara VanDerveer, Arizona's Joan Bonvicini, USC's Chris Gobrecht and Caren Horstmeyer at Cal. She collected career victory No. 200 Feb. 24 versus Stanford.

UW Against Ranked Teams: Washington has a record of 4-3 versus ranked teams this season, including upsets in its last two outings. The Huskies knocked off 14th-ranked Florida on its home floor in the second round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament and then No. 7 Oklahoma in the regional semifinal.

Washignton made a statement the week of Feb. 8 when it knocked off both No. 22 Arizona and No. 23 Arizona State, the first ranked opponents UW had defeated this season. The effort moved UW into the rankings, at No. 23, for the first time since 1998.

The losses to ranked opponents have been as follows: No. 1 Connecticut (100-54), No. 22 Arizona (88-72) and No. 18 Oregon (67-53).

Senior Strength: Husky coach June Daugherty continually points to the six-player senior class as a major reason for UW's success this year, crediting the group with strong leadership in practice and during games. Senior captains Megan Franza and Jill Pimley headline the group. Franza has been a constant in the starting lineup since her freshman year and is a leader on the court. Pimley is in her second season as a team captain and is a vocal leader whether she is playing or on the bench. LeAnn Sheets, who has struggled with injuries throughout her career, is healthy and gives the Huskies a veteran presence in the post. Melissa Erickson, until she injured her knee Jan. 27, brought experience off the bench, giving the Huskies added height inside. Sarah Duncan was named Most Inspirational last season and continues 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 the spring quarter studying in Italy. The move puts her back in the class she entered with in 1997 and strengths the leadership the six-player group provides.

Washington had no seniors on its roster last season when it posted an 8-22 record, the only losing season in school history.

Take Note: Washington, a tri-champion in the Pac-10, was picked to finish sixth in a preseason vote of Pac-10 coaches. The Huskies were picked seventh in the media poll.

Fabulous Freshmen: While Washington's six player senior class has played a large role in the Huskies' success this year, the freshmen class has been just as vital to the winning season. Versatile guard Giuliana Mendiola and center Andrea Lalum are mainstays in the starting lineup and average 30 minutes and 22 minutes a game, respectively. Mendiola has a team-leading five double-doubles this year and Lalum has four.

Mendiola, who plays point guard and either wing position, led the Huskies in rebounding all season and is currently second on the team with 6.3 boards per game. She is the second-leading scorer, with 11.3 points a game and her assist to turnover ratio (1.70) is third in the Pac-10. Mendiola, who was the Husky Classic MVP earlier this season, has started 29 of 3 1games this season.

Lalum, who moved into the starting lineup a month ago, leads the Huskies' in field goal percentage, hitting 47 percent of her shots from the field. She averaged a team-best 47 percent from the field in conference games.

Lalum, who grew an inch last year up to 6-foot-4, is a versatile player who provides the Huskies with a physical inside presence but has also connected on 26 three-point shots this year. She was 3-for-3 from behind the arc as a part of her 19-point effort at Stanford. She also blocked four shots against St. Mary's Dec. 17, the highest single game 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 as Washington's career-leading rebounder (1,003 rebounds, 1996-99).

Fellow freshman Gioconda Mendiola, the older sister of Giuliana, returned to action after missing three games because of surgery on her thumb. Mendiola graduated from high school in June, 1999 and then remained at home in California for a year before starting school. She and Giuliana wanted to start college at the same time and play four years together.

Rounding out the freshman class is Sarah Keeler, who is redshirting this season.

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 Daugherty to constantly shuffle her lineup. No less than five different players were on the bench with injuries at one point or another last year. LeAnn Sheets missed the first eight games of the season after foot surgery. Cheryl Sorenson ended up redshirting after a torn ACL in preseason. Melissa Erickson was hampered by a sore shoulder during the non-conference portion of the schedule. Carli Halpenny was lim

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