Huskies Shot Down Gamecocks for Season-Opening Win

Nov. 14, 2004

SEATTLE - Sophomore Breanne Watson scored all 12 of her points in the final 12 minutes as Washington overcame an eight-point second-half deficit to win its 2004-05 season-opener, 65-53, over South Carolina at the WBCA BTI Classic in Seattle.

Washington (1-0, 0-0) will face 14th-ranked Minnesota (1-0, 0-0) at Bank of America Arena in second-round action Monday at 7 p.m. The Gophers, an NCAA Final Four participant in 2004, defeated UNLV, 77-69, in the tourney opener Sunday. South Carolina (0-1, 0-0) and UNLV (0-1, 0-0) will play Monday at 5 p.m.

Watson's first bucket, a 19-foot jumper from the left side, sparked a 21-0 UW run midway through the second half which erased a 38-30 South Carolina lead. The sophomore center accounted for eight of the Huskies' 21 points in the run, during which Washington held the Gamecocks off the scoreboard for nearly seven minutes.

Freshman Dominique Banks shared the UW scoring lead with 12 points in her collegiate debut, while junior Kayla Burt added 12 in her first official game since retiring in January of 2003 following a cardiac arrest. South Carolina's Lauren Simms was the Gamecocks' leading scorer with 12 points.

'We showed a lot of poise tonight, especially when we went down early,' said ninth-year head coach June Daugherty. 'So many players made things happen and got us into runs to get us back into it. That's what we're about - we're a team.'

A South Carolina squad featuring no seniors and just two juniors on the roster looked like the more veteran squad at the start, forcing UW into an uncharacteristic 13 first-half turnovers and holding the Huskies under 26 percent shooting from the field to open a 29-24 halftime advantage.

It was Washington which poured on the defense in the second half, however, allowing the Gamecocks' just five second-half baskets and forcing 18 South Carolina turnovers. During the Gamecocks' seven-minute scoreless drought, Washington hit eight field goals, including three from Watson and the first of the season for Burt, a long-range three-pointer with seven minutes to play.

'We kept playing hard and we gutted it out on defense,' Watson said. 'That's what kept us in the game. We kept crashing the offensive boards and then gained momentum with steals on defense.'

Washington improved to 21-10 all-time in season-openers, with wins in its last four-straight dating back to the 2001-02 season. The win was also the 25th for Washington in 31 home-openers all-time.