Huskies’ Spirited Comeback Against No. 8 Arizona Falls Short
SEATTLE – Locked in a defensive battle, the Washington women's basketball team held No. 8 Arizona to their lowest first half scoring output this season before falling, 51-42 at Alaska Airlines Arena on Friday night.
The Huskies (5-14) came out determined to control the paint defensively. It showed up in the turnover column, as the Wildcats (19-4) turned it over ten times in the first half. Freshman Jayda Noble provided a jolt off the bench in the second quarter, getting her hands in passing lanes and recording a beautiful assist on a pocket pass to Alexis Whitfield, who finished with six points.
Head Coach Tina Langley was pleased with her team's attitude and engagement.
"I thought they did a brilliant job of going out and really executing," Langley said.
The Dawgs ran their early third quarter offense through Nancy Mulkey, as the senior swished a jumper and rattled home a triple to keep Washington close. Five different Huskies tallied points in the third frame as they cut the lead to 12 heading into the fourth.
Mulkey, who led the Huskies with 13 points, led the charge to start the final quarter. Washington repeatedly forced the Wildcats to use nearly all 30 seconds of the shot clock as they executed switches and stayed alert defensively.
Haley Van Dyke added six points, including a stepback three to cut the Wildcats' lead to ten midway through the fourth quarter. Lauren Schwartz drained a deep three, and Mulkey capped an electric 8-0 Huskies run with her second triple of the night and a driving layup that trimmed Arizona's lead to four.
"It was fun," Mulkey said. "When we do what we're supposed to do, it's fun. Good things happen."
The Dawgs got within four again on a corner three from Missy Peterson, who finished with seven. Trinity Oliver pulled down eight rebounds, her third consecutive game with at least six boards.
Langley emphasized the need to sustain the confidence her team picked up with tonight's close contest.
"To see what we can do on a consistent basis is pretty remarkable," she said. "You've got to be pretty excited about that."
The Huskies will host Arizona State on Sunday at 12 p.m. PT at Alaska Airlines Arena, as the program will honor Mulkey and Peterson on Senior Day.