Women take care of business

The Washington women's basketball team came into Saturday's contest with an unblemished 14-0 home record. They had no intention of letting the 2-24 Washington State Cougars put a damper on the Huskies' senior day festivities. UW dominated early and never let the Cougars up for air. A large crowd of 6,530 witnessed a 73-49 dominant performance at BOA Arena this afternoon in the final home game for seniors Loree Payne, Emily Autrey, Cheryl Sorenson, Kellie Dalan and Alicia Heathcote.

WSU committed right turnovers in the first eight minutes to allow the Huskies to build an early 18-8 lead at the 11:59 mark. The Huskies ability to keep the Cougars off the offensive glass, as well as the 18 first half Cougar turnovers, limited

WSU to only 17 shot attempts in the first half. The Huskies took 38 shot attempts, more than doubling them up. The Cougars managed only two second chance points in the first half on their paltry total of five offensive rebounds.

No single Husky totaled double digit points in the first half, but the balanced attack produced enough points to go into half time with a 40-17 lead. By totaling 17 first half points the Cougars managed to commit more turnovers than points scored. Included in the Cougars' first half futility was their single assist dished out by Jessica Perry.

The Cougars came out in the second half with a different energy. WSU slowly chipped away at the Huskies lead despite being unable to raise their shooting percentage to over thirty percent. The Huskies scored only twelve points in the first twelve minutes of the second half and continued to send the Cougars to the line for free throws.

The Cougars were in the bonus early and were able to cut the Husky lead down to 15 points. The Husky field goal percentage plummeted and turnover numbers rose until the five minute mark in the game when WSU went back to their first half ways and began to once again turn the ball over. The Cougar gaffes led to consecutive Husky layins pushing the Husky lead back to 20 points. To the Cougar's credit, the Huskies only outscored the Cougars by one point in the second half

Though the Cougars made a run, the result was never in question. The Huskies held a 27 point lead with 1:48 to play making the final margin academic from there. Once again Pac-10 player of the year candidate Giuliana Mendiola paced the Huskies with 20 points on 8-15 shooting. The junior from Orange County struggled at 0-3 from behind the arc, as did the rest of her teammates. The Huskies shot an uncharacteristic 6-21 from three point land for an out of character 28.6 percent.

Four Huskies landed in double figures but team leader and senior Loree Payne struggled her way to five points on 1-13 shooting, her lone basket being a signature three pointer in the first half. Fellow senior Emily Autrey contributed 12 while Kellie Dalan added ten points of her own.

"It's been an amazing year and great at home. It was awesome to see the crowd that we had," said head coach June Daugherty. "These seniors have been through it all, from playing games at Mercer (Arena) to playing games in this beautiful building and going to the elite eight."

The thought of playing her last game at Hec-Ed got to senior Kellie Dalan in the pre-game. She was seen tearing up during the senior day festivities."I lost the bet. It got to me when I was shooting free throws and they started to play Hey Baby like they always do. Then I saw my dad and that's when the dam broke," she said.

Fellow senior Payne couldn't help but be emotional on her final day playing at home, but the commotion of it all prevented and overt displays. "There was a lot of running here and running there trying to get things organized. I realized that we get to put our uniforms back on and play Saturday. I think that is when it will hit me," said the Havre, Montana native. The Huskies completed their regular season with a perfect home record, 21-6 overall and 13-5 in conference.

With their home season behind them the Huskies look towards the post season. They will begin Pac-10 tournament play on Saturday as the second seed. Their opponent is yet to be determined. As the second seed the Huskies will bypass the first round of play. Nevertheless the Huskies will be forced to win three games in three days if they wish to earn the conference championship in San Jose.

"Our trainers work all year to get the team in condition for these games. To the point where they are strong and not tired for the three game stretch," said Daugherty.

"I think we have a great shot to win it," said Mendiola.

The 13 Pac-10 victories this year is the most ever for Coach Daugherty. She has reached 12 conference wins three previous years.

Today's victory was Washington's 16th straight win over WSU dating back to February 25th, 1995 when the Cougars were victorious 71-68 in Pullman.

The attendance average of 4,981 for the 14 home games leads the Pac-10 this season.

Husky Stats:
Points: Giu. Mendiola 20, Andrea Lalum 13, Emily Autrey 12, Kellie Dalan 10, Loree Payne 5, Sarah Keeler 5, Cheryl Sorenson 4, Gio. Mendiola 2, Erica Schelly 2.

Rebounds: Giu. Mendiola 6, Gio. Mendiola 6, Sarah Keeler 6, Emily Autrey 5, Kellie Dalan 5, Kristin O'Neill 3, Andrea Lalum 2, Loree Payne 2, Cheryl Sorenson 1.

Assists: Kristin O'Neill 5, Giu. Mendiola 4, Loree Payne 2, Kellie Dalan 1, Andrea Lalum 1, Alicia Heathcote 1, Nicole Castro 1, Emily Autrey 1, Gio Mendiola 1.

Steals: Kristin O'Neill 5, Giu. Mendiola 5, Andrea Lalum 4, Emily Autrey 3, Gio. Mendiola 2, Cheryl Sorenson 2, Loree Payne 1, Sarah Keeler 1, Alicia Heathcote 1.

Block: Andrea Lalum 1.

Dawgman.com Top Stories