Husky Women Pound the Paint for 72-54 Win Over Cougars

Jan. 24, 2004

SEATTLE - In a battle of Pac-10 teams, Washington held off a tough challenge from cross-state rival Washington State for a 72-54 win before 4,532 fans at Bank of America Arena.

Huskies' senior Giuliana Mendiola scored 10 of her game-high 18 points during a 23-6 UW second-half run that broke open a one-point game. Washington State freshman guard Kate Benz led all Cougars' scorers with 15 points, while Stephanie Singer added 10.

The Cougars (4-14, 0-9) were seeking their first Pac-10 win of the season, while the Huskies (11-7, 4-5) wanted to build upon a two-game sweep of Oregon and Oregon State last weekend.

Both teams struggled to find the basket in the early going, as Washington State took a 16-14 lead in the first 11 minutes. The Huskies broke the game open, however, over the next four minutes, scoring 18 consecutive points - including six by freshman Cheri Craddock - to open a 32-16 advantage.

Upon switching into a full-court press, the Cougars promptly mounted a run of their own, harassing the Huskies into a series of turnovers while scoring 17 of the next 22 points to close to within four, at 37-33, with 1:31 to play.

A pair of quick Washington baskets to seemed to give the Huskies momentum going into the half, but it was the Cougars who came out of the locker room on fire, with baskets from three different players pulling the visitors to 41-40 early in the period. It was then, however, that Mendiola took the game over, scoring 10 points in a six-minute span to spark a 23-6 UW run that gave Washington its largest lead of the game, at 64-46 with 7:43 to play.

The Cougars had the ball with a chance to cut the lead to single digits late in the game, but Washington scored the final six points of the contest, holding the Cougars scoreless over the final two minutes.

'We're starting to understand what we have to do defensively as a team,' said Huskies' head coach June Daugherty.

Washington threw up just 13 shots from behind the arc, well below their Pac-10 leading average of 19.6 three-point attempts per game. Instead, the Husky guards looked down low for senior Andrea Lalum, who finished with 15 points and six rebounds, or drove the lane, with the team scoring 32 of its 74 points in the paint.

'In the second half, we settled down and got back into our offensive scheme, and looked pretty good sharing the basketball,' said Daugherty after the game. 'We're excited to keep improving for the second half of the Pac-10 season.'

The Huskies will close out the first half of Pac-10 play with a trip to the Bay Area next weekend, for matchups with sixth-ranked Stanford on Thursday at 7 p.m., and California at 2 p.m. Saturday.

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