Dawgs Celebrate Senior Day with Thrilling Win
SEATTLE -- Led by Haley Van Dyke's 18 points, the Washington women's basketball team closed their home season and celebrated Senior Day with a stirring 74-69 victory over Arizona State on Sunday afternoon at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Van Dyke led a balanced, efficient scoring attack, as six Huskies scored at least five points on the afternoon. Lauren Schwartz was perfect from the field in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 of her 17 points in the final frame as Washington shot a flawless 12-12 from the free throw line to ice the game late.
"I think these young ladies have earned the belief in themselves," Head Coach Tina Langley said of the clutch free throw shooting. "They work really, really hard every day."
The Huskies ran patient offense from the jump. Trinity Oliver beat the shot clock with a Euro-step around her defender on the game's opening possession, and Alexis Whitfield scored just before the horn a few possessions later to knot the game at 9.
The Dawgs also created offense in transition. T.T. Watkins converted a steal and score early in the opening frame, and Van Dyke swished a three following a steal on the Sun Devils' next possession. The early activity set an active tone for the game, as the Huskies ran off opponent misses and turnovers to create open shots.
Down 12 midway through the second quarter, Nancy Mulkey converted an and-1 that kicked off a 11-0 Washington run. Jump shots from Mulkey and Missy Peterson got the Huskies close, and Van Dyke hit shots on consecutive possessions to give Washington the lead.
The teams traded baskets to open the third quarter, and the Huskies trailed by 5 when they engineered another momentum-shifting scoring run. Jayda Noble punctuated the run with a fast break basket. She converted the and-1 with one-tenth of a second left in the quarter and gave Washington a 54-47 lead.
Noble provided a spark off the bench for the second consecutive game, forcing the issue with an acrobatic layup to give the Huskies a slim 58-54 lead inside of five minutes remaining. She finished with a career-high ten points.
"She's got unlimited potential," Langley said of the freshman Noble. "I think she's started to recognize the player she can be on both ends of the floor."
It was the Lauren Schwartz Show to finish the game. She hit a short jumper for a four-point lead, and twisted her way to a tough finish to break a tie at 62. Schwartz calmly drained a long stepback jumper inside of a minute to play, and hit four big free throws on ensuing possessions to keep the Huskies up three with 12 seconds on the clock, providing the Huskies a lead they would not relinquish.
Washington carried momentum from a strong second half against Arizona on Friday into this game. At the end of her Senior Day, Peterson spoke on the team's energy and attitude coming off the win. "We can't stop smiling, look at us," she said. "We played for each other, and it made the win so much more fun."
The Huskies will travel south to the Bay Area for their game at California on Thursday night.