After Washington's 72-54 win over Washington State on Saturday at Bank of America Arena in Seattle, the Huskies have extended their winning streak over the Cougars to 17-straight games.
"We're back on track into the conference race," said Huskies head coach June Daugherty. "We are playing better and we are understanding what we have to defensively as a team."
Washington (11-7, 4-5) started the conference season 1-5 but has now won three straight conference games and has begun to climb the Pac-10 standings. The win over the Cougars however was not as smooth sailing as the score may indicate.
Both teams started the game off slowly had and had early shooting woes. Eventually, the poor shooting began to cost the Huskies. The Cougars eventually began to hit their shots before the Huskies did and took advantage of it with a 10-2 run. The Huskies looked to the scoreboard and found themselves trailing the Cougars 16-14.
That was when the shots started falling.
Giuliana Mendiola started things off with a clean jumper from the top of the key as she led the charge and the Huskies went on a 16-0 run to build up a substantial lead and leave the Cougars looking for answers. During their run, the once-cold Huskies shooting turned red-hot. Gioconda Mendiola capped off the run with a three-pointer from the left side of the arc on a dish from her sister. The Huskies did not miss a single field goal on their run and instantly turned their miserable shooting percentage around.
However, the Cougars were not about to roll over and let the Huskies have their way this afternoon. Washington State did not let the large deficit faze them in any way as they fought back through the final minutes of the first half to slowly cut the Huskies lead down to single digits by halftime.
The Cougars got off to a fast start in the second half and pretty soon, the Huskies had just a one-point lead which prompted Daugherty to call a time out to get her team back on the right track.
"I thought we were playing in slow motion and we were caught standing defensively and gave up way too many easy shots," said Daugherty.
Whatever she said to them during that timeout must have worked because the Huskies came out firing once again and this time, the Cougars were not able to make any hint of a comeback. Washington's defense forced the Cougars to turn the ball over 24 times during the game, and 14 times in the second half.
The Huskies have also begun to go inside more than their usual selves. Washington has always been able to shoot the deep ball, and now they are beginning to use their athletes to go inside and slash through the lanes to balance out their offensive arsenal.
Mendiola led all scorers in the balanced offensive attack for the Huskies. Mendiola finished with 18 points, six assists, and five rebounds. Andrea Lalum pitched in 15 points, Cameo Hicks added 10 points, and Cheri Craddock contributed with a career-high 11 points.
"I think that our team's confidence has gone up," said Mendiola. "We were a little down after some Pac-10 losses, but we didn't lose our confidence. Now it just keeps getting higher, especially when we keep winning games. I think that we are playing a lot harder and that just helps our confidence."
Moment of Silence – Prior to tip-off, Bank of America Arena joined in on a moment of silence to honor the memory of Cal player Alisa Lewis. A former resident of Spokane, Lewis passed away suddenly this past Monday after she fell victim to a case of what doctors believe to be bacterial meningitis.
O'Hara Returns: Maggie O'Hara returned to action against Washington State. O'Hara sprained her ankle last week against Oregon. After sitting out the next game against Oregon State, she returned with a brace around her ankle to score six points and grab two rebounds while playing 16 minutes.
Mendiola Moves Up: With 18 points today, Giuliana Mendiola moved up two places on the Huskies all-time scoring record book. Mendiola began the day tied with Karen Deden for eighth place on the list, and passed her along with former teammate Megan Franza to land on seventh place on the list. Mendiola needs 61 points to pass another former teammate, Loree Payne for sixth place. Also, Andrea Lalum moved to twelfth place on the all-time scoring list as she passed Laurie Merlino with her 15 points today.
Up Next: The Huskies hit the road for the Bay Area next week as they lock up with Cal and Stanford. Washington defeated Cal at home earlier this year and fell just short against Stanford.
Scoring: Giu. Mendiola 18, Lalum 15, Craddock 11, Hicks 10, O'Hara 6, Watson 5, Gio. Mendiola 3, Castro 2, Jones 2
Rebounds: Lalum 6, Giu. Mendiola 5, Watson 5, Gio. Mendiola 4, Bell 3, Castro 2, Hicks 2, O'Hara 2, Craddock 1
Assists: Giu. Mendiola 6, Hicks 6, Jones 3, Lalum 2, Gio. Mendiola 2, O'Hara 2
Blocks: Bell 1
Steals: Gio. Mendiola 3, O'Hara 3, Giu. Mendiola 2, Watson 1, Lalum 1, Craddock 1
Huskies women down Cougs in Seattle
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