Husky Women trample Bruins

The Washington Women blitzed the UCLA Bruins 86-53 Friday night in front of 3,077 fans at Hec Edmundson Pavilion, winning their second game in a row for just the second time this season. True freshman Kayla Burt led Washington with a career-high 18 points off the bench.

Burt, who's missed seven games with a stress fracture in her left foot, returned for her first home game since the injury and showed no ill effects. As Washington held a slim 10-8 lead early on, Burt checked into the game and immediately made a difference by nailing a three-pointer, driving the lane for a layin, and stealing an errant pass which turned into an uncontested layin at the other end. Those seven consecutive points from the Arlington High School product moved Washington out to a 17-8 advantage, and UCLA would never threaten again.

"I was pumped up," Burt said after the game. "I hadn't played at home in a while."

"This is a kid with a high basketball IQ," said Washington Head Coach June Daugherty of Burt. "She did a great job physically on her rehab so that when she stepped on the floor she had that flow about her tonight. I thought it was a break-out game for her and I'm just very pleased."

Four other Huskies scored in double figures: Loree Payne (15), Kristen O'Neill (13), Sarah Keeler (12), Kellie O'Neill (10). It was the fourth time this season that the Huskies had five different players in double-digits during a contest.

Keeler's scoring output eclipsed her previous high of 10, while Kristen O'Neill equaled her high-water mark of 13.

The game was never really close. Nine minutes into the contest, the UW had already run out to a 12-point lead. Horrible shooting prevented UCLA from ever getting back in the contest, as they finished the first half just 8-41 from the field.

Riding the back of Burt and her 14 first-half points and the eight points of the freshman O'Neill sister, the Huskies pushed the lead to 41-20 by halftime.

One area of concern for the Huskies, regardless of the huge lead after one half, was rebounding. Most of UCLA's shot attempts were from the perimeter, often causing long rebounds that fell into the hands of the Bruins. Rebounding had already been a red-flag area for the Husky team this season.

Recently, it became so bad Daugherty decided to switch the starting lineup, moving Kellie O'Neill and Cheryl Sorenson into the starters role in place of Emily Autrey and Loree Payne.

Even that didn't solve the problem tonight - at least not early in the game. UCLA outrebounded the Huskies 17-5 on the offensive glass before intermission, prompting Daugherty to give her team a speech about rebounding during halftime.

"We weren't happy with the offensive boards that we were giving up before halftime," the head coach said. "We talked about putting a body at somebody all the way at the three point line if we have to box out because the ball was going that far out. That was a good adjustment for us because that was an area of concern and something that we need to keep improving on."

Washington outrebounded UCLA 12-9 on the offensive glass in the second half, and outscored the visitors from Los Angeles 45-33 to make it a laugher by the final buzzer.

It's hard to fault UCLA for their performance, a team that has plenty of bad luck already this season. In December it was determined that its leading scorer, senior Michelle Greco, would have to sit out the season due to chronic concussions. Then, earlier today, multi-sport star Kristee Porter decided to leave the team to pursue professional U.S. national team opportunities. That left the team without its best two scorers and in Porter, its second best rebounder.
Game Notes:

Time Change Sunday: Washington's game Sunday versus USC has been changed to a 7 p.m. tip-off in order to accommodate the Seattle Seahawks' game at Husky Stadium at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

Mascot Mania: The annual mascot game was held during halftime of tonight's game. In case you're wondering, the Ivar's Clam didn't score this year after pouring in a career-high two points last season.

Aussie Joins Team: Australian standout Nicole Castro, who joined the UW Women's team on Wednesday, was suited up and sat on the bench during the game. She will likely redshirt the season and be available starting next season.

"Nicole is an athletic and versatile guard," said Daugherty of Castro. "Obviously with her graduation in November she is not on the traditional season, but we look forward to getting her in here to learn our system. She has great speed and the ability to shoot the three. Nicole already has a great deal of experience playing with the junior program in Australia and will be an integral part of the Husky program."

Milestone Maker: When junior Loree Payne nailed the front end of two free throws late in the game, she became just the 17th player in Husky history to reach 1,000 points. "I was a little surprised she got it at the free throw line," said Daugherty. "With Loree I kind of imagined it would have been a three (pointer)."

Gunner!: UCLA freshman Brianna Winn came into the game shooting just 5-26 from three point range, and actually improved her percentage tonight by shooting just 2-9 from behind the arc. To her credit, most of the attempts were a good five feet from behind the line. Top Stories