UW lights up Beavs at home

Coming in with a 10-7 record and facing a Husky team that was undefeated at home, the Oregon State Beavers seemed to be up against it from the beginning. Washington used a balanced attack and a dominating effort on the boards to blowout yet another home opponent 82-56 in front of an ever rowdier home crowd of 5,964 at Bank of America Arena Saturday.

The Huskies controlled the opening tip and took control of the game early. Though the Huskies would come up empty on their first possession it was all Dawgs from there on out. Kristin O'Neill continued her hot play of late and opened the Huskies' scoring with a three pointer to take the Huskies' first and only lead they would need for the game.

Loree Payne and Emily Autrey followed suit to stake the Huskies to an early 9-2 lead. OSU's Hollye Chapman had two buckets inside to keep the Beavers competitive, but it would not last. The Huskies proceeded to go on a 15-2 run that was fueled by Giuliana Mendiola's four early assists. Giuliana finished the first half with six assists but could have easily have had ten had her teammates blew not blown some point blank shots.

The Beavers struggled to get shots off in the first half taking only 25 shots for the period, while the Huskies took 35. A large reason why was Washington's 25-11 rebounding margin. "We're excited about the way we rebounded today. It was the best effort I have seen the in seven years I've been here," said head coach June Daugherty in post game. "Lalum and Keeler both played a really great, physical game."

The Beavers were only able to corral three offensive boards in the first period and only eleven for the contest. The Huskies while not shooting an extraordinary percentage were efficient when Giuliana Mendiola was penetrating the OSU defense. The Beavers went from a player-to-player defenses to 1-3-1 and 2-3 zones to try to bring more help against penetration but their efforts proved to be in vain.

Giuli continued to get wherever she needed to be on the floor to find her teammates and finished with 13 assists to match not only her jersey number, but also her point total. Giuli also contributed six rebounds.

The Washington lead steadily grew from one point early, to the 22 point margin that they took into halftime. Though Washington held the 43-21 halftime lead, no player had scored in double figures. Loree Payne was the high scorer with nine, and no Husky finished the game with more than the 13 scored by Mendiola and Emily Autrey. O'neill's eight first half rebounds played a huge factor in keeping the Oregon State offense from seeing too much of the ball, limiting the Beavers to 21 points.

The second half proved no more beneficial to the Beavers. The Huskies maintained a comfortable 20 point advantage for much of the half despite a valiant effort from Leilani Estavan. The Junior from Los Angeles tried to put the Beavers on her back scoring 13 points in the first 13 minutes of the second half and closing with 24 points on 9-18 shooting and four of nine from behind the arc.

Estevan's scoring brought the lead down to 17 points at 4:29 remaining prompting June Daugherty to call for time and attempt to refocus her squad. Giuliana Mediola hit an up and under jumper coming out of the time out and the Huskies never looked back. OSU went to a press that seemed to bother the Huskies, but didn't convert enough baskets to allow themselves time to set it up.

To their credit, the Beavers continued to press with under two minutes to go and a 26 point defecit. Husky Freshmen Nicole Castro, Erica Schelly and Senior walk-on Alicia Heathcote were able to garner playing time in the closing minutes. The final margin of 82-56 was helped along by a baseline fall away jumper by Heathcote and a sideline three from Castro, the Aussie import, both of which brought roars from the hometown crowd.

Daugherty raved about her Junior point guard in the post game calling her the best player in the conference. "We need to get the word out. Giuli is as good as anyone and we hope the media and everyone else will realize it soon," she said. Daugherty will only look so far as the games against the LA schools next week, emphasizing that the Huskies have a long way to go before they can be happy. " We've got a lot of basketball left to be played. What helped us today is the fact that we got some rest and were able to come out and hit the boards with a lot of energy."

Mendiola only echoed the sentiments of her head coach. "I know we can play with anyone," she said. "I have that much confidence in our team. We need to look at USC and UCLA and get ready for those games" When asked if there were 25 teams better than the Huskies the answer was simple, "No." USC and UCLA will come to Hec-Ed on Thursday and Saturday of next week to give the Huskies a good shot against one of the squads that blemish their Pac-10 record. Game time Thursday will be at 7 PM while Saturday's game will be a 1 PM tip.

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