No. 11 Huskies Upends No. 6 Colorado, 68-54, At Pac-12 Tournament
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – There must be something about being the 11th seed in the Pac-12 Women's Basketball Tournament that the Huskies like.
The Huskies were previously the No. 11 seed in 2019 when the won twice to advance all the way to the semifinals. They came out Wednesday night intent on repeating history.
Washington (7-13) shot 54.3 percent for the game – including 55 percent (11 for 20) from 3-point distance – to pull off a first round upset, 68-54, of No. 6 seed Colorado (10-10) on Wednesday at the Mandalay Bay Event Center.
In the Huskies run two years ago at the Pac-12 Tournament, Missy Peterson hit a last-second three-pointer to send UW to an upset of No. 3 Oregon State in the quarterfinals. This year, Peterson has been out all season, recovering from ACL surgery. On Wednesday night, she was on the bench cheering her Huskies on, and Haley Van Dyke, who shared team-high scoring honors with 18, said the team fed off Peterson's energy and presence.
"Without having Missy here, I think we are playing for her, just this whole season we've been playing for her," Van Dyke said. "Playing for her today was a big thing for us. She obviously couldn't be on the court with us. She was a big reason why we were successful two years ago. I think that motivation was really big for us."
Peterson's inspiration must have spread up and down the Huskies' bench as everyone that played, seemingly contributed, or had their best game of the season.
Freshman Tameiya Sadler had the most well-rounded game of her Husky career with 18 points, a career-high eight assists and three steals.
Quay Miller and Alexis Griggsby – who was a perfect 4 of 4 from the field, including 3 of 3 from outside the 3-point arc – each scored 11 points. Miller also had five of UW's 13 steals on the night.
The Huskies were focused and inspired for nearly all 40 minutes and had a nice bounce back from their loss last Sunday at Washington State and the Sunday prior in the home finale against the same Buffaloes they faced tonight.
"We had to get refocused and leave Sunday in Pullman, focus on ourselves, making sure that we're locked in," Wynn said.
"We learned a lot from playing Colorado just a week and a half ago at our place. Three, maybe four
players scored in that entire game. I think we got to the free-throw line maybe five or six times. We turned it over 21 times.
"We learned a lot," she continued. "We watched film. We learned to have a little bit more patience and poise when the ball was in our hands, and to work for each other as a unit."
At first, Colorado came out the more focused team. After falling behind 8-4, the Buffaloes closed on a 15-4 run and took a 19-12 lead after the first quarter.
Washington used the three-ball in the second quarter to turn the tide and re-take the lead. All-Pac-12 performer Mya Hollingshed hit a jumper with 5:30 remaining in the first half to give the Buffs a 23-18 lead, but Washington closed with a 16-5 scoring advantage, behind a pair of three-pointers and a buzzer-beating jumper in the key by Miller to take a 34-28 halftime advantage.
Colorado jumped out of the gates in the third, scoring the first six points to tie the game and took a one-point lead, 36-35, on a Tayanna Jones jumper with 6:37 left in the quarter. From that point on, it was all Washington.
Sadler started a 14-0 Husky run with a three-pointer and Van Dyke capped it with a three of her own to give UW a 13-point lead that they would never relinquish.
Colorado got the lead down to eight twice in the fourth quarter, but the Huskies seemingly had an answer anytime the Buffaloes started a run. Sadler and Van Dyke hit back-to-back three-pointers to give UW a 14-point advantage with 2:31 left – a margin that they ultimately kept until the final horn.
In the past, UW struggled to close out games down the stretch, but Wynn was more than pleased with how her team finished on Wednesday.
"That's big, right?" Wynn said of her team's ability to not let up on the gas pedal. "It took everybody.
"It was great to see the ball go through the net. Obviously, Quay Miller shot the ball beautifully in the first half. Kind of got us going. Tameiya, Haley, Lexi, it was contagious. They made the extra pass to one another. They did a good job of pass faking, taking what the defense gave us."
The Huskies will take on No. 3 seed UCLA on Thursday at 8:00 p.m. in the quarterfinals. The Bruins won the only other matchup between the teams, 84-50, on Feb. 7 in Seattle.