Huskies reeling after 1-2 punch in the desert

No one saw this coming. Even in what is unfolding as a wacky and unpredictable Pac-10 season, no one imagined defending champion Washington would be 1-3 after four games. "Maybe there has been a little bit of a regression and we've got to find ourselves," coach Lorenzo Romar said after the Huskies lost 68-51 at ASU on Jan. 8. Upbeat as usual, Romar said he expects the Huskies to weather the storm.

"Since we've been here at Washington, we've gone through worse times and ended up OK," he said. "Went through a year of 0-5 and ended up going to the tournament. Went through a year in 2006 ... we lost three consecutive Pac-10 games and we went to the Sweet 16.

"There are areas where we've got to get better."

That was still very much the case after the Huskies (10-5, 1-3) absorbed an 87-70 thrashing at Arizona on Sunday.

Six Arizona players scored in double figures, and Washington never really was in the game in the second half while losing by 17 points for the second straight game.

The Huskies lost just once in the non-conference season, albeit in their lone road game. The bigger issue, Romar said, is to not simply play to the level of competition.

"Play to our potential, that's what we want to do," he said. "That's a goal we can't give up. We got to work to our potential, and I don't think we've done that as of late. ... We got to find ourselves."
--The Huskies missed their first nine shots from the field at ASU and never recovered. They finally made their first field goal on a layup by Tyreese Breshers with 12:42 left in the half. UW shot just 27.3 percent in the first half against ASU's 2-3 zone.
--The Huskies are winless in three road games a year after going 6-4 on their opponents' home floor.

ON THE SPOT: Senior F Quincy Pondexter looked like a strong candidate for Pac-10 Player of the Year during November and December. But he was a no-show in the Huskies' loss at Arizona, equaling his season-low of seven points. Over his past four games -- three of them defeats -- Pondexter is shooting 17-for-40 with 12 turnovers. UW won't defend its Pac-10 title without a return to form by Pondexter.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We didn't make shots. That's all it was." -- Senior Quincy Pondexter, asked to explain how the Huskies missed their first nine shots at Arizona State.
SEASON RECAP: The Huskies were breezing along at 10-1 through the end of the non-conference schedule -- the Pac-10's only nationally ranked team -- and then they staggered a bit in a six-point win over Oregon State. That should have foreshadowed bigger problems against Oregon, which sliced through their press and pulled off the 90-79 upset victory. Arizona State followed with a 17-point romp of UW in Tempe, and Arizona was equally dominant with a 17-point victory of its own.

PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- F Quincy Pondexter, F Darnell Gant, C Matthew Bryan-Amaning, G Abdul Gaddy, G Isaiah Thomas. Key Subs -- G Venoy Overton, F Justin Holiday, G Scott Suggs, F Tyreese Breshers.
   Oregon 90, Washington 79
   Arizona State 68, Washington 51
   Arizona 87, Washington 70
   vs. Stanford, Thursday, Jan. 14
   vs. Cal, Saturday, Jan. 16
   at UCLA, Thursday, Jan. 21
   at USC, Saturday, Jan. 23
   vs. Seattle, Tuesday, Jan. 26
IN FOCUS: A tantalizing rematch with Cal -- an 88-85 triple-overtime winner in Seattle last year -- awaits on Saturday. But Washington cannot afford to look past Stanford, which swept the L.A. schools at home last weekend and boasts one of the Pac-10's most prolific 1-2 punches in senior Landry Fields (22.1 points per game) and sophomore Jeremy Green (17.6), coming off a career-best 30 points in the win over UCLA.
--Sophomore G Isaiah Thomas scored 20 points in the loss at Arizona State then had 18 points, five rebounds and four assists at Arizona, although he shot just 1-for-6 from 3-point range.
--Senior F Quincy Pondexter entered last weekend averaging 21.3 points, then scored just nine points in the loss at Arizona State and seven at Arizona.
--Hidden in the loss at Arizona, freshman G Abdul Gaddy scored a career-high 13 points, equaling his total of the previous six games. Top Stories