Resurgent Huskies playing UCLA at right time

This is what the Huskies had in mind. And it's what scares the rest of the Pac-10. Washington (12-5, 3-3) climbed back into the conference race by routing Stanford 94-61 and Cal 84-69 on a home weekend that the Huskies began in last place.

"I never thought about us losing this game or the last two games," said forward Quincy Pondexter, who scored 52 points in the two victories. "I never even thought that was a possibility."

Once the games started, there wasn't even a possibility the Huskies would lose. UW led 41-22 at halftime against Stanford, 50-31 against the Bears.

"If we play this way, we have the ability to separate ourselves and we can catch back up (in the conference standings)," Pondexter said.

The Huskies used their depth, quickness and aggressiveness to dominate the Bay Area visitors.

Cal coach Mike Montgomery said when the Huskies play that way, they are the class of the Pac-10.

"They played harder than we did," he said. "They were more physical than we were. They were energized and we got back on our heels, which is something that they do to people and they've done before."

On the heels of three straight defeats, coach Lorenzo Romar made a couple lineup changes for the weekend and got immediate dividends from junior forward Justin Holiday, whom he called the catalyst for the win over Stanford.

"He was inserted into the starting lineup because the things that he brings are the things that we were lacking," Romar said. And within five minutes of the start of the Stanford game, he drew a charge on Cardinal star Landry Fields, setting the tone for the night.

"He's a defensive general on the court," Pondexter said. "It's like Ray Lewis in football."

Sophomore Isaiah Thomas said the Huskies were ready to break out.

"You have to come out and play hard or just be moving to the bottom of the Pac-10. We don't want that. We want to win, and we have to show that's what we want," he said after beating Stanford. "We didn't win for all the fans and everybody else talking about us. We had to win for ourselves."

--NFL legend Joe Montana and wife Jennifer sat at midcourt for the Cal game on the weekend their son, Nick, made a football recruiting visit to Washington.
--With his 157th victory at Washington, Lorenzo Romar moved past Tippy Dye (1951-59) into third on the school's all-time victory list.

ON THE SPOT: As the club's only senior, it falls on the shoulders of Quincy Pondexter to prepare the Huskies for the trip to Los Angeles. Washington has pulled itself back into the wacky Pac-10 race, but the Huskies are winless in three road games this season and cannot afford to get swept in L.A. Pondexter, who scored 52 points in wins over Stanford and Cal at home last weekend, must provide the leadership to assure that does not happen.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "People think I can't play defense, but I can. Maybe not the way Venoy (Overton) does, but I'm not a liability out there." -- Sophomore Isaiah Thomas, after helping limit Cal star Jerome Randle to a season-low five points.

SEASON RECAP: The Huskies were breezing along at 10-1 through the end of the non-conference schedule -- they were the Pac-10's only nationally ranked team -- but then 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 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. Now back in the race at 3-3 after sweeping the Bay Area schools, what's left for UW is to demonstrate it can win on the road.

PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- F Quincy Pondexter, F Tyreese Breshers, F Justin Holiday, G Abdul Gaddy, G Isaiah Thomas. Key Subs -- G Venoy Overton, F Darnell Gant, C Matthew Amaning-Bryan, G Scott Suggs.

   Arizona 87, Washington 70
   Washington 94, Stanford 61
   Washington 84, Cal 69
   at UCLA, Thursday, Jan. 21
   at USC, Saturday, Jan. 23
   vs. Seattle, Tuesday, Jan. 26
   vs. Washington State, Saturday, Jan. 30
   vs. Arizona, Thursday, Feb. 4
IN FOCUS: The Huskies are catching UCLA at just the right moment. The Bruins should be reeling a bit after absorbing their worst defeat to USC at Pauley Pavilion. No one on this UW squad has beaten the Bruins at Pauley, but the opportunity is there. UCLA does not have great depth, and Washington's fast tempo should carry the day.

--Isaiah Thomas, all of 5-foot-8, had the primary defensive assignment on Stanford's 6-3 Jeremy Green, and held him to seven points in his first game after going for 30 against UCLA. Likewise, he played well defensively against Cal's Jerome Randle. Thomas added 15 points and seven assists, then scored 20 in UW's rout of Cal.
--Senior F Quincy Pondexter broke out with 27 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Stanford, then 25 points, going 11-for-11 from the free throw line against Cal.
--Sophomore G Scott Suggs came off the bench to score 12 points against Stanford. Top Stories