Husky Women Knock off Hoosiers

The Washington Women's basketball team never trailed Friday night as they beat the University of Indiana 85-73 in front of 2,995 fans at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.

The game was the nightcap of the Les Schwab Pac-10/Big Ten Challenge, which included a Washington State/Michigan match up that took place prior to the game.

Six Huskies scored in double-digits, led by the 17 points of guard Giuliana Mendiola. Loree Payne (16), Andrea Lalum (14), Kellie O'Neill (12), Emily Autrey (11), and Sarah Keeler (10) rounded out Washington's leading scorers.

After taking a 10-point lead to halftime, the Huskies took advantage of 16 second-half Indiana turnovers to stay comfortably in the lead until the game's final minutes The Hoosiers battled back thanks to full-court pressure, which gave the Huskies problems. IU got to within five when point guard Heather Cassidy knocked down two free throws with 1:43 remaining, but it proved to be too little too late.

Washington (5-3) hit 9 of 12 free throws down the stretch to ensure victory.

Six-foot, five-inch center Jill Chapman scored 16 of her game-high 24 points in the second half but fouled out with 5:27 remaining, significantly hurting the Hoosiers' chances at a comeback. It showed in the final minutes as Indiana had nobody to go to when it mattered most.

The tough Husky defense forced 31 Indiana turnovers for the game, led by the swarming presence of freshman point guard Kristen O'Neill. The first year player started in place of the injured Gioconda Mendiola and pressured the IU ball-handlers all game. That allowed the rest of the Husky defense to take gambles that resulted in forced turnovers.

"Our defense definitely disrupted Indiana's flow," said Washington Head Coach June Daugherty. "To force 31 turnovers against a team of that stature that is very well coached, it's a great feat for our defense. It's something that we've been trying to build on with our intensity, and tonight we were able to put it together."

Lalum agreed with the head coach. "We relied on each other big-time on defense," she said. "We were able to take risks and pressure the ball as much as we did because we knew that we had each others backs. We relied on each other and were dependent on one another and it showed tonight. We came together as a team."

Washington broke out to an early lead just minutes into the game behind the hot hand of two-guard Loree Payne. The junior from Montana came out firing and hit back-to-back three pointers to put the UW ahead 8-0 before three minutes had elapsed in the game. That gave the Huskies a cushion that they'd maintain for the remainder of the half.

With Lalum riding the bench due to two early fouls, Keeler entered the game and immediately made her presence known at both ends of the court. She gave the Huskies a nice boost with six first half points on nifty back-to-the-basket shots. Defensively, Keeler blocked a shot and forced a jump ball on a hustle play under the basket.

"I came out with a new attitude tonight and it paid off," said the jovial Keeler. "This is just the first step though. There's a lot more of Keeler to come."

Indiana (4-3) shot themselves in the foot with carelessness at the offensive end of the court, committing 15 turnovers before intermission. At one point it looked like the Huskies would run away with the contest as the home team pulled out to a 30-13 lead, taking advantage of the Hoosier turnovers.

But before Washington could put the game away, the Hoosiers answered with a 9-0 run of their own to get it back to an eight-point contest. They were led by the outstanding play of senior forward Erin McGinnin, who shot the ball extremely well despite an unorthodox shot, scoring a team-high 14 points on three of four shooting from beyond the three-point arc. McGinnin also pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the team heading into the locker room.

She scored just two after half and finished with 16 points for the game.
Game Notes:

Gio Sidelined: Starting point guard Gioconda Mendiola, the older of the two Mendiola sisters on the team, will miss six weeks after it was learned last night that she has a stress fracture in her lower right leg. In her absence, freshman Kristen O'Neill got the start tonight and figures to stay there until Gio returns.

Next Up: Washington will face the Michigan Wolverines Sunday at 3 p.m. to wrap up the tournament. Daugherty would like to get some help from the Husky fans for the game. "I'd like to see a packed house," said the head coach. "We've got the Pac-10, Big-10 challenge. We've got two ranked teams in here, and I think people will have the opportunity to see some great basketball on Sunday." Top Stories