Husky Women Trounce USC

The shots kept falling for the Huskies Thursday night at Hec Edmundson Pavilion in Seattle, and the home team rode its sharp-shooting to guide themselves to a 94-76 win over the University of Southern California.

Washington (16-3, 8-2 Pac-10) kept control early, and stormed ahead late using its most deadly weapon the three-point shot. As a team, they hit for a Pac-10 season-high 12 shots from long range, the second-most ever by a USC opponent.

Everyone seems to have their legs back and that's real important, said Husky coach June Daugherty of her team's hot night of shooting.

In all, Washington shot 51.7 percent from the field, including a scorching 63 percent total in the second half, which saw the Huskies score 58 points.

Leading the charge from behind the arc was UW center Andrea Lalum, who admitted after the game her preference for playing out at the perimeter. With the Women of Troy's dominating post player Ebony Hoffman guarding her, Lalum drew the junior center out and made her pay by hitting a career-best five three pointers for the game.

She finished with 19 points.

Loree Payne, second on the conferences all-time list of three-pointers made, added three to the Huskies total and scored 17 points. Emily Autrey, the forward who came into the game shooting a Pac-10 best 43 percent from behind the arc, cashed in twice from long range en route to her 10 points.

But it was the night of Giuliana Mendiola that proved to be the difference. The flashy yet steady junior from Lake Forest, Calif. finished just two assists shy of a triple-double. She scored 22 points on 9-13 shooting from the field, and added 10 rebounds to go with her eight assists.

And with the game hanging in the balance midway through the second half, it was the younger of the two Mendiola sisters who put the team on her back.

USC had cut the UW lead down to one at 60-59 with 10:32 to go in the contest, and seeing the close score made Giuliana Mendiola feel the need to take control.

I hate it when I look up at the scoreboard and it's only a one or two point game, she said after the game. That's when I decided to be more aggressive offensively whether that meant creating a shot for myself or dishing.

The Huskies outscored the Women of Troy 34-17 the rest of the way, getting clutch leadership from Mendiola and key three-point shots from Payne and Autrey to lead the charge.

This team is incredible about making runs and once we started on a run, things just kind of flowed how we like it, said Payne. When you're going through a game, there comes a point in the second half where you're going to put them away. We made up our minds that we needed to put these guys away. We went on a run, hit some shots and ended with a pretty good lead.

The game, though, wasn't as lopsided as the final score indicates.

USC (9-12, 4-6 Pac-10) hung around in the first half and used a nine-point run to pull ahead by two with () left before halftime. But UW answered, and did so in a quick fashion. Giuliana Mendiola scored six points as UW ran off eight unanswered and took a six-point lead to intermission.

After the break, neither team took control of the game. The Huskies had their way with the Women of Troy both from the perimeter and inside the paint, but could only manage to trade baskets with the visitors from the Southern California thanks to the ruggedness and ranginess of Hoffman.

Hoffman, who in the USC media guide is shown wearing a headband reading Big Dog, lived up to her name. She out-physicaled the Huskies inside with an unstoppable game in the low-post, and moved out beyond the perimeter to nail all three of her attempts from three-point land.

By game's end she equaled a career-high with 27 points.

She's very physical, said Lalum of Hoffman. She's so good that words can't describe. It's a great challenge for me and I (always) look forward to playing her.

But not even Hoffman could overcome the hot Husky shooters, as the shots continued to fall for the Purple and Gold until the final buzzer sounded.

Rometra Craig, a junior transfer from Duke, scored 14 and was the only other USC player to finish in double figures.

Game Notes:

Up Next: The Husky women wrap up their four-game homestand with a 1 p.m. tipoff on Saturday versus the UCLA Bruins. The Bruins are cold, having lost three games in a row, but barring a minor miracle will come in on a high note. They play Washington State Thursday night, who is in the midst of the third longest losing streak in Division-I women's basketball history of over 40 games. UCLA also brings with them the Pac-10's leading scorer in Michelle Greco, who averages 19.3 points per game.

Mendiola Magic: How good is Washington junior Giuliana Mendiola? Well, coming into Thursday night's game, she was leading the Huskies in scoring (15.2 points per game), rebounding (6.2 per game), and assists (5.1). She is the Pac-10 leader in assists per game. To go with that, she came in shooting a scorching 83 percent from the free throw line and a solid 42 percent from three-point land.

Home Sweet Home: Washington's win over USC improved the team's record in Seattle to an unbeaten 10-0. It's the longest home winning streak since the 1981-82 season.

Where's the Pom Poms? The Husky men's basketball team may have been the biggest cheerleaders in attendance at the game tonight. Sitting at midcourt with the student section, the entire team led the crowd in cheers and had the Husky women loving it. Loree Payne noticed the kind gesture from the men's team, and said the women's team plans on returning the favor. We plan to be here tomorrow night to cheer them on when they beat Washington State, she said.

Husky Stats:

Points: Giu. Mendiola 22, Payne 17, Lalum 19, Autrey 10, Keeler 8, O'Neill 7, Sorenson 5, Dalan 4, Schelly 2

Rebounds: Giu. Mendiola 10, Sorenson 5, Autrey 4, O'Neill 4, Keeler 3, Gio. Mendiola 3, Lalum 2, Castro 1, Payne 1

Assists: Giu. Mendiola 8, O'Neill 3, Gio. Mendiola 3, Sorenson 2, Autrey 2, Lalum 2, Payne 2

Steals: Giu. Mendiola 3, Payne 1, O'Neill 1, Heathcoate 1, Keeler 1, Dalan 1, Sorenson 1

Blocks: O'Neill 1 Top Stories