UW Runs Out Of Steam, Bruins Prevail, 58-46
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Quay Miller capped an impressive run in the Pac-12 Tournament with a game-high 19 points to spark a strong effort from the 11th-seeded Huskies, but No. 3 seed UCLA fought off Washington's upset bid and held on for a 58-46 win in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament on Thursday.
The Huskies (7-14), who trailed by as much as 15 points in the second quarter, never rolled over and even took the lead in the third quarter. But with the Huskies forced to play the final 20 minutes with their leading scorer and top defender, Haley Van Dyke, sitting on the bench after she hit her head on the floor towards the end of the first half, they ultimately ran out of steam at the end.
"I'm so proud of our team," Husky Coach Jody Wynn said. "going toe-to-toe with them and really giving 100 percent effort for 40 minutes. We rattled them, and they responded, obviously, but I'm really proud of our fight. I'm proud of the heart we showed. I'm proud of our camaraderie.
"We lost another teammate in today's game and a couple others went down throughout the game, and our kids just kept battling."
The ninth-ranked Bruins (15-4) came into the game with plenty of swagger and tons of talent, but by the end of the night, Miller made an argument to everyone watching that she might have been the best player on the floor at Michelob Ultra Arena.
The sophomore from Kent, Wash., used an array of moves to get to the basket and hit big bucket after big bucket. She also hounded All-Pac-12 standout and top WNBA prospect Michaela Onyenwere all night, limiting her to 12 points (six below her season average) and four rebounds (four below her average).
"We pride ourselves on defense," Miller, who also had seven rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot, said. "Being able to guard whoever my coach tells me to guard is very big for me. Once we execute on the defensive end, that's when everything falls together on the offense end for us."
Miller refused to back down in the first half, helping the Huskies (7-14) erase a big deficit. The game started out tight, tied at 5-5 in the first quarter, but UCLA went on a 17-5 run to close the quarter and went up 25-10 when Emily Bessoir nailed a three-pointer on the Bruins first possession of the second quarter.
Bessoir's shot seemed to jolt the Huskies awake and put the Bruins into a temporary hibernation. Tameiya Sadler started a 13-0 run that spanned almost eight minutes with a layin. Khayla Rooks drained a three-pointer and Alexis Griggsby cut to the hoop for a layup to make it an eight-point game, 25-17. Miller scored the final six points of the run and accounted for the Huskies final eight points of the first half to put her team within reach, 30-25, at halftime.
Sadler, who was the Huskies only other double-figure scorer with 12 points, took over in the third quarter and pushed UW into the lead for the first time since early in the first quarter. She scored eight points in a two-minute span, the final three coming from behind the arc, which gave UW a 35-34 advantage with 7:14 left in the third quarter.
After Onyenwere hit a pair of free throws, Miller hit a jumper to give UW a 37-36 lead with 6:06 remaining in the third. It would turn out to be the Huskies last lead of the game, as UCLA closed with a 6-2 run to lead 42-39 heading to the fourth quarter.
The Bruins turned up their defense and UW ran out of gas down the stretch as UCLA had a 16-7 fourth-quarter scoring advantage. Miller hit a layin to draw the Huskies within three points, 44-41, but the Bruins went on a 12-2 run to take a double-digit lead.
"UCLA is a fantastic basketball team," Coach Wynn said. "They showed that they can score in bunches and score from off their defense. They're very well coached and one of the best teams in the nation."
Onyenwere and Charisma Osborne topped UCLA with 12 points each.
Miller converted a three-point play to get UW within 10, but the Huskies ultimately ran out of time.
"This one stings," Miller said. "I know our team wanted it. All season long we were doubted so it was good to wake up the Conference, wake up everyone that we're here to compete like any other team. Just not being able to get this win hurt because we all played hard. To not come out with the 'W' is a little bit hard."