Huskies lose a heartbreaker

Last season, Stanford came to Washington and left quite embarrassed by their worst loss of the entire season. This time however, Stanford gained some measure of revenge but it did not come without a whole lot of sweat. Even though the Huskies put on a big run and held Stanford to without a field goal for the final 11 minutes of the game, the No.9 Cardinal squeaked out a 77-69 win over the Huskies.

Stanford also became the first conference opponent to get a win at the Huskies home court in over a year and halted the Huskies 10-game home winning streak at Bank of America Arena. Washington had an 18-game overall home winning streak snapped earlier this year by Texas Tech.

"Obviously it's a disappointing loss," said Huskies head coach June Daugherty. "The run at the end of the second half absolutely took the wind out our sails.

"It was great to see us fight back and get back in the game the way we did but we had too many defensive breakdowns today to beat a team like Stanford."

The game also featured a match-up of arguably the two best players in the Pac-10 in Stanford's Nicole Powell and Washington's Giuliana Mendiola. Both players showed just why they are both All-American candidates and why it just very well may come down to the two of them for this year's Pac-10 Player of the Year Award.

Powell led Stanford with 23 points and 13 rebounds but what she did to really make a difference in the game was hitting clutch free throws. As Stanford failed to make a single field goal for most of the second half, Powell hit 9-of-12 from the free throw line including 5-of-6 in the last 20 seconds of the game to seal the victory.

Compared to their last outing against Cal, the Huskies came out firing and connected well on the most part. Both Stanford and Washington had big first halves and traded baskets. For the early part, it looked as if the first team that could not answer the opposition's would find themselves short at the end.

Stanford made 13-of-24 shots from behind the three-point line. Susan Borchardt, the wife of former Washington prep standout and current Utah Jazz Curtis Borchardt set the pace for the Cardinal by shooting 4-of-6 from downtown and 14 points. Fellow Cardinal Sebnem Kimyacioglu also found her stroke for the treys as she shot 4-of-7 from and finished with 16 points.

The Huskies also showed that they were no strangers to the three-pointer. Going 10-of-24 from long range, Washington's clutch three-pointers in the second half is what kept them close in the game.

The close game however looked as if it would get messy as the second half began however. Washington came out flat in the second half of play as Stanford found the holes in the Huskies defense to build a lead as big as 14.

But that was when the Huskies woke up and shut the Stanford offense down. With 7:30 left in the game, Cameo Hicks drained a three-pointer from the left wing that brought the crowd to its' feet. Jill Bell also contributed to the run with some big rebounds. Bell tied her career-high with 12 points and gained her first double double with 10 rebounds. Feeding off of the new energy, that was when the Huskies floor leader brought out her best game.

Like she has done so many times before, Mendiola took over the game in the second half. Mendiola scored 16 of her 23 points in the second half including the last six Husky points.

After cutting that once double-digit lead down to two, Mendiola brought the ball up the court with the intention of leading her team to victory. However with everyone expecting her to take the final shot, she passed it off to an open Hicks on the baseline who shot the ball but to no avail.

"I thought we had them," said Mendiola. "We can't afford to play defense like we did against these type of shooters. Our rotations were slow and we were slow getting through picks. We watched them shoot it in our faces."

After starting the season 5-0, the Huskies are 3-5 since.

Said Daugherty, "I'm not worried about our offense, we're averaging over 75 points per game and we shot 43% tonight. We didn't get the stops we needed defensively."

Husky Stats:
Scoring: Giu. Mendiola 23, Lalum 20, Bell 12, Hicks 6, Gio. Mendiola 6, O'Hara 2
Rebounds: Bell 10, Lalum 5, Giu. Mendiola 4, Hicks 3, Watson 2, Castro 2, O'Hara 2, Craddock 1, Gio. Mendiola 1
Assists: Giu. Mendiola 5, Hicks 5, Lalum 2, Watson 1, Gio. Mendiola 1, Castro 1
Blocks: Watson 1, Lalum 1
Steals: Hicks 1, Bell 1 Top Stories