Huskies attempt undefeated season at home

Five seniors will play on the home court for the final time in their collegiate careers this Saturday as the #25 Washington Huskies attempt to go undefeated at home for the first time since the 1989-1990 season. The Huskies (12-5, 20-6) will host Washington State (1-16, 2-24) at Bank of America Arena on Saturday, March 1st. Tip-off is set for noon as the ladies attempt to make it 14 straight wins at home.

State of the Huskies

The Huskies are coming off of a big win on the road, something they have not been able to do on a consistent basis. After a comeback fell short against Oregon State, the Huskies managed to save some face and defeat Oregon at "the Pit" for the first time in over 10 years. It was also the first time the Huskies notched a 20-win regular season under head coach June Daugherty.

Senior sharpshooter Loree Payne, who burned the Ducks for 29 points earlier this season at home, did the trick again as she scored 24 points on 9-for-15 shooting. Senior Kellie Dalan, normally known for her rebounding prowess, showed some offensive flash as well by accounting for 23 points and shot 10-of-13 from the field.

Junior guard Giuliana Mendiola scored just four points on the night but it was not necessary for her to carry the bulk of the scoring load.

Mendiola is an All-American candidate as well as a Pac-10 Player of the Year candidate. She ranks at or near the top of every major category in the conference. She is averaging 17.2 points, (3rd in Pac-10) 5.5 assists, (1st) and 6.5 rebounds. (7th)

She is also the top three-point shooter in the conference, shooting 46.2 percent from beyond the arc. Teammate Emily Autrey is second at 45.1 percent, and Payne is seventh at 37.1 percent.

Payne, who is averaging 15.2 points during her senior campaign, is second in the conference in total three-pointers made with 62 on the season. She is by far the all-time leader in three-pointers made in school history as she passed former Husky teammate Megan Franza earlier this season.

As a team, Washington is highest scoring team in the conference, averaging 77.5 points per contest. They also tend to live by the three-pointer. Their 218 total three-pointers and 579 attempts are by far the most in the conference.

Stanford has locked up the regular season Pac-10 title and the #1 seed in the Pac-10 Tournament. Theoretically, the Huskies can fall into a tie with Arizona and UCLA for second place. The seeding for the tournament will then be decided in head-to-head match ups and records against the rest of the Pac-10 competition. The Huskies do control their own destiny, and if Arizona loses one more game, the Huskies will win the #2 seed outright.

The Huskies are the top draw when it comes to attendance in women's basketball in the Pac-10. The Huskies have drawn over 63,000 fans this season and averages nearly 5,000 fans for contest.

There are five seniors on the team that will be honored on Saturday. Payne, Autrey, and Dalan along with Cheryl Sorenson, and Alicia Heathcote will play their last home games and say goodbye to Husky fans.

Looking at Washington State

Washington State snapped a 45-game losing streak after a 67-64 victory over Cal earlier this season. Since that victory, the Cougars dropped two straight against Oregon and Oregon State, but managed to score a victory against Idaho on Thursday.

The Cougars came close to defeating the Huskies the first time around on December 28th. Washington narrowly escaped Pullman with a 77-69 victory.

"I think we have learned a lot since that (first) Washington game in terms of how to close a game," said Cougars head coach Sherri Murrell. "What is going to be real tough is Washington is great at home. We are going to have to step up our defense; they are just good from the outside.

"Washington shoots the three-point shot at home like it's a lay-up so we are going to have to defend that much better."

According to junior guard Gioconda Mendiola, the Cougars play much better than what their record indicates.

"We're looking forward to finishing our season on a high note," said Mendiola. "I think we also want to win this game so it will carry over to the Pac-10 Tournament with a winning streak.

"Washington State is a good team. We're not going to take them for granted.

"I think a lot of people do look past Washington State. They upset Cal and we don't want to be the next upset so we're not going to take them lightly. We're going to prepare as hard as we can."

Washington State is led my junior forward Bianca McCall. She leads the team in scoring (12.7 pts/game) and rebounds. (8.0 rebs/game)

Other players of note for the Cougars are Jessica Perry, Holly Harris, Lindsey Egeland and Candace Fields.

Current Pac-10 Standings
                           Conference	Overall
1.  Stanford		14-3		22-4
2.  Washington 	         12-5		20-6
    Arizona 		12-5		19-7
4.  UCLA		         11-6		16-10
5.  Oregon State	         8-9		14-12
6.  USC			7-9		12-15
    Oregon           	7-9		11-14
8.  Arizona State	         7-10		15-11
9.  California		5-12		9-17
10. Washington State	1-16		2-24
Game Time:
Saturday, March 1st
@ Bank of America Arena
Seattle, WA
12:00pm Top Stories