Bench play keeps Huskies alive with offensive punch

Dec. 27, 2004

Cheri Craddock will take any inch the opposing defense allows her and make them pay. In a two minute span midway through the fourth quarter, Craddock buried three three-pointers to bring the Huskies from seven points down to within one of Arizona at 45-44 and sparked the 3,387 fans in attendance into a roar. Unfortunately, the Wildcats pulled away late and handed the Huskies a 67-63 defeat, another learning experience for the young Dawgs.

Bench production was big for the Huskies, who struggled with their shot in the first half on 8-37 shooting for 21.6%. Although Craddock had missed all four of her three-point tries in the first half, she never lost faith in her ability to knock it down. Hitting a few shots from inside the arc also boosted her confidence to step back behind it.

'Once I got a couple layins, I was ready to go back out there and shoot a three,' said Craddock.

Also providing a big lift off the bench for UW was freshman Dominique Banks, who chipped in 11 points, including six straight points for the Dawgs in a crucial stretch of the second half.

During one exciting sequence, Banks hit an eight-foot jumper in the paint, nabbed a steal and converted a fastbreak pull-up jumper to knot the game at 51-51 with 7:42 left in the contest. Arizona responded however with a 6-0 run and the Huskies never pulled closer than two points the rest of the way.

All told, the Husky bench accounted for just over half of Washington's point total; 32 out of 63. The Husky bench outscored their Wildcat counterparts, 32-25. For an offense that has been hot one half and cold the next, reliable bench production will be big to helping the Huskies break out of their current shooting funk.

Banks is proving she can be counted on when her number's called, as she has now posted 30 points in her last two games combined. When the shots aren't falling from outside, Banks has the ability to penetrate and score in the paint, which allows Head Coach June Daugherty to be patient with her team's shooting.

'The kids understand that the shots are going to fall,' said Daugherty. 'We started to rain a little bit from three tonight, that was great to see, I think it gave us great energy. Dom (Banks) got loose on stuff underneath against their tall trees, so we're not going to let the shooting get going in our heads. We're not about that. We're going to build on a good game tonight.'

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