UW Women put clamps on ASU

Minutes into the second half Saturday afternoon in Hec Edmundson Pavilion, Washington broke open a competitive contest in the final minutes of the first half with an 11-2 run and never looked back, widening the gap after intermission in route to a dominating 68-50 win over ASU.

Washington guard Kayla Burt drove the lane and looped up a left-handed layin that missed hard off the glass. What appeared to be a simple errant shot ended in the type of fashion that signified the way the entire game was to be played for both teams.

A put-back attempt by Loree Payne found iron, but another rebound, this one by Giuliana Mendiola, banked in. With the crowd roaring and the visiting Arizona State Sun Devils reeling, it was never more evident that the Washington Huskies simply wanted it more today.

Husky guard Loree Payne led all scorers with 20 points, marking the third consecutive game that the junior small forward has reached the 20-point plateau. Giuliana Mendiola continued to play with confidence and had a well-rounded game, finishing with 15 points, seven assists, and five rebounds. Kellie O'Neill added 10.

Washington (15-8, 10-4 Pac-10) orchestrated one of its finest defensive performances of the season, putting the clamps down on the Sun Devils for virtually the entire 40 minutes. ASU's star senior guard Amanda Levens, who came into the contest leading the team in scoring with 18 points per game, felt the affects of the Husky pressure more than anyone. Levens, a transfer from Old Dominion, was ice-cold from the perimeter and any attempts she made to penetrate the lane resulted in a swarming contingent of Huskies. As a result, she finished the game with merely two points on a frigid 1-12 performance from the field.

"We have worked really hard on our defensive pressure and forcing them to rush shots with the shot clock winding down," said Washington Head Coach June Daugherty. "It made a huge difference for us tonight."

Arizona State (19-7, 10-5 Pac-10) came into the game second in the conference but shot just 30 percent for the contest, and were only 2-19 from three-point range. That, along with a rambunctious Hec-Ed crowd of 4,735, translated into a dreadful afternoon for the visitors from Tempe.

"We just stunk," said ASU Head Coach Charli Turner Thorne. "We didn't make shots."

"It's hard to find a lot of bright spots for the Sun Devils today."

With the win, Washington moves alone into second place in the Pacific-10, trailing only Stanford.

The Huskies couldn't have been more satisfied with their defensive performance, especially since that had been one of the team's primary concerns earlier in the season.

"Our defense has been improving every game," Payne said. "We have been working on getting out on shooters and pressuring them, making it difficult for them to get the ball inside to the big guns. Arizona State is a great team and I thought we pressured them well and earned a win."

ASU was led by the 15 points of senior forward Cian Carvalho. Senior center Melody Johnson, always a force in the middle with her big frame, had 13 points to go with 12 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season. Betsy Boardman chipped in 12.

The game was actually closely played for the first 16 minutes. The Huskies broke ahead 9-2 early on, but the Sun Devils followed that up with a 13-2 run of their own to take a 15-11 lead. From there, each team traded baskets. Four points in a row by Washington forward Emily Autrey gave the Huskies a two point lead, but a layin by Johnson knotted the score again at 22.

But in the last 4:01 of the half, the home-town team took charge of the game. Payne drove the lane for a left-handed layin, then nailed a 12-foot pull-up jumper from the right angle. Burt knocked down two free throws, and Kellie O'Neill scored five points in a row to cap an 11-0 Husky run. A jumper by Boardman ended the run in the final seconds of the half, but only pushed ASU to within 33-24 as the halftime buzzer sounded.

Game Notes:

Up Next: The Huskies will fly down to Palo Alto for a 7 p.m. Valentine's Day (February 14th) matchup against the Pac-10 leading Stanford Cardinal. Washington will then play the California Bears in Berkeley on February 16th at 1 p.m.

Husky Stats:

Points: Payne 20, Mendiola 15, Kel. O'Neill 10, Autrey 9, Lalum 6, Burt 3, Keeler 2, Heathcote 2, Sorenson Rebounds: Kel. O'Neill 7, Lalum 6, Giu. Mendiola 5, Payne 4, Sorenson 3, Burt 2, Payne 2, Keeler, Reichman
Assists: Giu. Mendiola 7, Payne 3, Lalum 2, Burt 2, Autrey, Kri. O'Neill
Steals: Autrey, Lalum, Kri. O'Neill, Burt, Kel. O'Neill Blocks: Lalum 4, Kri. O'Neill 2

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