Late Meltdown Costs Huskies

The last time the UCLA Bruins visited Bank of America Arena, the Washington Huskies put on an offensive spectacle that according to UCLA head coach Kathy Oliver, "haunts" her to this day. Oliver may be able to put that game behind her now as her Bruins took advantage of a Huskies defensive meltdown late in the game to steal one from the Huskies 64-59.

"Obviously it's a very disappointing loss," said Huskies head coach June Daugherty. With the Huskies up by seven points with fewer that four minute remaining in the game, it looked as if the Huskies would be able to escape their horrendous shooting performance with a victory. The Huskies defense however allowed UCLA to hit a number of three-pointers, some from NBA range, and seal the victory. "Those mistakes down the stretch defensively cost us this ball game," said Daugherty.

Last season's game against UCLA in Seattle was one for the ages. The two teams combined for nearly 200 points and Washington's Giuliana Mendiola basically won her Pac-10 Player of the Year Award with her 43-points performance.

This year's game in Seattle was quite the opposite. Mendiola's 43 points from last year almost equaled the entire team output and neither team shot the ball nearly as well.

Mendiola was the lone bright spot for the Huskies. Mendiola scored 21 of her 27 points in the second half as she took charge of her team and single handedly kept the Huskies alive throughout the game. No other Husky player scored in double-digits.

UCLA maintained the lead for the majority of the second half but with seven minutes to go, the Huskies began threatening. Mendiola drove through the lane and passed it out to Andrea Lalum waiting outside the arc who drained it for a three and tied the game at 45.

On the very next Washington possession, Mendiola did the job herself by draining a try of her own to put the Huskies up 48-45 with 6:18 to go in the game. Husky fans erupted and like so many times before, it looked as if another Pac-10 opponent would not be able to beat out the late Huskies momentum.

UCLA however had other plans. With 2:27 left in the game, UCLA's Lisa Willis drained a three pointer from the baseline. However, she was fouled immediately after the shot, which gave her two free throws on top of it. Willis made one of two free throws and toed the game at 54-54.

On the other end of the court, Mendiola was driving down and was fouled along the way. Mendiola went to the line to shoot two, but uncharacteristically, missed both free throws. That was enough to give UCLA the momentum the rest of the way as they continued their hot shooting to take the victory.

Noelle Quinn led UCLA with 25 points and 11 rebounds while Willis finished 13 points. UCLA's Nikki Blue, a preseason all-conference selection, was shut out in the first half but she had a key steal in the final seconds of the game that gave her team the victory. Blue finished with 11 points.

"We have to be mad about this," said Daugherty. "This is disappointing and we've got to get ready to take it out on somebody else."


Notes:
Mendiola moves up: With 27 points, Mendiola moved up two spots on the school's all-time scoring list. Mendiola passed former teammate Loree Payne for sixth place, and Yvette Cole for fifth place. With five assists, she also established herself as Washington's all-time leader for assists.

Payne was in attendance for tonight's game. Payne, who is not only the most prolific three-point shooter in school history but as well as Pac-10 history, is currently a grad assistant at Northwest Nazarene College in Idaho. She is in town for the annual Alumni Game, that takes place on Saturday at 11am, just before the Huskies take on USC at 1pm.

Stats:
Points: Giu. Mendiola 27, Lalum 9, Gio. Mendiola 8, Hicks 5, Bell 4, Watson 4, A. Jones 2
Rebounds: Bell 11, Lalum 7, TEAM 7, Giu. Mendiola 6, O'Hara 3, Gio. Mendiola 3, Watson 2, Hicks 2
Assists: Giu. Mendiola 5, Gio. Mendiola 2, A. Jones 2, Hicks 1, Bell 1
Steals: Giu. Mendiola 4, Bell 2, O'Hara 1, Watson 1
Blocks: Giu. Mendiola 1, Bell 1, Castro

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