UW Women Win Pac-10 Opener Over WSU, 71-58

Jan. 3, 2009

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SEATTLE - Junior guard/forward Sami Whitcomb scored a team-high 17 points, including 13 in the second-half, to lead Washington women's basketball to a 71-58 victory over Washington State in both teams' Pac-10 opener at Bank of America Arena, Saturday.

The victory improved Washington's winning streak in the all-time series with WSU to 27 games, including 16-straight at home. The win also snapped a brief two-game losing streak for the Huskies, which improved to 5-6 on the season and 1-0 in Pac-10 play. The Cougars fell to 7-5 overall, 0-1 in league action.

Joining Whitcomb in double-figures for the Huskies were junior guard/forward Laura McLellan (10 points) and senior guard/forward Michelle Augustavo (10 points). Augustavo's play off the bench was especially key as UW lost starting guard Kristi Kingma to a sprained left ankle in the first-half. McLellan and senior forward Heidi McNeill led UW on the rebounding end with six boards apiece, while sophomore guard Sarah Morton dished seven assists.

The Huskies shot a season-best 52 percent clip from the field (26-of-50), while in turn holding the Cougars to a 30.2 percent average (19-of-63).

Guard April Cook led three Cougars in double-figures with 17 points, while guard Jazmine Perkins (12 points) and forward Rosie Tarnowski (10) rounded out the top-three scorers for WSU. Ebonee Coates grabbed a game-high 12 board as well.

In addition to losing Kingma with the sprained ankle, UW starters McLellan and Whitcomb were also dealing with injury issues at different points in the first half. McLellan was briefly shaken up and left the game, but quickly returned and Whitcomb was dealing with a cramp in her hamstring. Unlike the freshman Kingma, those issues weren't enough to keep the juniors off the court for long.

'I'm extremely proud of our kids, especially in a time of adversity,' UW head coach Tia Jackson said. 'We lose our third leading scorer in Kristi, but I thought Charmaine (Barlow) coming off the bench was fantastic...I was very excited about Michelle (Augustavo) stepping into that role, starting (for Kristi) in the second half. Washington State is a much better team than they were last year, so I definitely see it being another fight come the end of the season at their place.'

The Huskies certainly didn't have an easy time early on, as the Cougars opened the game with an 11-3 run. But Washington chipped away at the WSU advantage and came back to even the score twice late in the first-half. Trailing by two (22-24) with 4:39 remaining until the intermission, the Huskies closed out the half with a 15-4 run - including a 9-0 spurt - to take the lead for good.

UW led by nine at halftime (37-28) and sped out to a 12-0 run to start the second stanza and never looked back, holding the Cougars without a field for the first three and a half minutes of the period. Washington's largest lead was a 25-point spread with 4:59 remaining in the game.

Washington will now hit the road to continue Pac-10 play next week, traveling to nationally ranked Stanford (Jan. 8) and California (Jan. 11). Sunday's game will be televised live on FSN.

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