Oregon Tops Washington 78-64, Advances To Pac-10 Tourney Semis
March 2, 2002
By LANDON HALL
AP Sports Writer
EUGENE, Ore. - Shaquala Williams regained her shot, withoutlosing any of her defiance or toughness.
A day after being held to just 12 points on 4-of-15 shooting, theOregon guard scored 26 to lead the Ducks into the semifinals of thePac-10 tournament with a 78-64 victory over Washington on Saturday.
Williams is only 5-foot-6, but she's Oregon's most bruising player,and she relished mixing it up with the Huskies' Mendiola sisters,Giuliana and Gioconda.
'They're tough kids,' Williams said. 'They kind of have a chip ontheir shoulders when they play. I like to think I do, too. It's myhomecourt, and I'm not going to back down for anybody. So if you'regoing to take cheap shots and throw elbows, then I'm not going to backdown from you.'
Cathrine Kraayeveld added 14 points and 14 rebounds to help theseventh-seeded Ducks (17-12) pull away. Jamie Craighead had 13 pointsand Ndidi Unaka, who came in averaging just 3.6 points, provided a biglift by scoring nine of her season-high 12 in the second half.
'I was impressed by our ability to keep focused and offensively beaggressive and tough, not to give up easy shots,' said Oregon coach BevSmith. 'We never let go of that intensity, and I think that took away alot of any feeling they had to try and get back into it.'
Giuliana Mendiola had 18 points and Loree Payne 15 for thesecond-seeded Huskies (17-11), but they combined to make just 9-of-29shots from the field. The team shot 31 percent, but the starters shotunder 25 percent.
'I thought, definitely, they did an outstanding job of reallygetting out on our shooters,' UW coach June Daugherty said. 'Theirinside pressure was much stronger than the last time we played.'
Washington beat Oregon 88-80 on Feb. 23 in Seattle but can't seem tofigure out the Ducks at McArthur Court. UW has lost 10 straight inEugene dating to 1994.
'We had revenge on our minds, and we came out hard,' Unaka said.
Oregon will play either Arizona or Arizona State in Sunday's firstsemifinal.
Washington, which won the conference title last season and advancedto the final eight of the NCAA tournament, probably will get another biddespite the early exit.
'I'm confident that we deserve to be in the NCAA tournament, and atthis point it's out of our hands,' Daugherty said.
Williams was frustrated in Friday night's opening-round win overWashington State, but she vented by scoring 16 points in the first 11minutes, 20 seconds on Saturday. Overall, she was 8-for-16 from thefloor, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range after missing all fouragainst the Cougars.
'Shaquala Williams was an unbelievable leader for them,' Daughertysaid.
Washington stayed close in the first half and trailed only 33-28 athalftime. But the Ducks had too many options on offense, and the Huskieslet any chance slip away by going 7:12 without a field goal during thesecond half.
Leading only 49-41, Unaka and Craighead each hit two baskets duringan 18-5 run, which ended when Kraayeveld made two free throws to pushthe lead to 21 with 4:36 left.
Washington got within 12 with 2:08 to play but couldn't trim thelead any further.
After getting a tougher than expected game from Washington State,the Ducks only had about 15 hours to rest up for the Huskies, who had afirst-round bye. But Oregon came out firing away, building a 25-15 lead.
A blocking foul on UW's Kellie O'Neill, followed by a technical onDaugherty for arguing the call, gave Williams four straight free throws.She made them all, and Unaka's floating jumper capped an 11-0 run.
Washington responded by scoring 10 of the next 11 points to getwithin 26-25. After Craighead hit a long jumper and a 3-pointer, Paynesank a 3 to cut the deficit to 31-28. But UW didn't get that closeagain.
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