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Strong Defense Sparks Washington Huskies 64-56 Victory Over Southern

posted by Jayda Evans: Womens Hoops Blog
Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at 4:06am EST

Jayda Evans covers college and pro women's basketball. While its her first year on the Washington beat, she has covered the Storm since its inception. She'll offer observations, critiques, occasional off-beat tales and answers to select e-mail inquires. Evans also has written a book on the Storm and women's hoops, called "Game On!"

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Image: GoHuskies.com

HUSKIES WIN: I'm always fascinated when teams don't come prepared to play. Maybe I'm rough, but I would want to demolish everyone or get beat trying. Washington? It started the party a little early, needing 12 FTs in the final five minutes to win 64-56 on Tuesday. No disrespect to Southern (1-6). They played with fire from the beginning and that's how they almost won. The Huskies can be thankful they're collectively good enough to win, even late. Maybe that feeling will be beneficial in Pac-12 play. "I thought we had learned this lesson before," McGuff said. "It's nice to be able to learn that lesson, hopefully, and still win the game. Moving forward, let's hope that we don't have to deal with that anymore." Coleman led all scorers with 26 points, getting shutdown by Barlow's defense late. Rogers had 14 points to lead the Huskies while Argens added 13 points and 12 boards for her second consecutive double-double. McGuff said the team will still breakdown the game film to pick up teaching tools. He already made a point of telling the team they didn't have a FG in the closing 8:44 -- a Rogers layin. But I'm tossing this game. Good that UW has a five-game win streak, bad way to head into the holiday break. Hopeful it's the last of not showing up because of preconceived expectations. Washington (8-2) opens Pac-12 play at Oregon State (9-2) on Dec, 29.

ROGERS OUT: Rogers was inserted and called for her fifth foul after Barlow missed two free throws. Not sure of the call. Laneisha Stephens made one of two FTs and Southern is back up 54-52 with 5:56 left. Argens is in for Rogers with senior Mollie Williams also playing inside.

AND FOULS: Rogers is on the bench with four fouls. Heard is continuing to play well, though. Wetmore gave the team a 52-51 lead after two FT with 6:24 on the clock.

TECH: McGuff was called for a technical foul, finally expressing the feelings of most in Hec Ed when Rogers was called for a foul instead of her opponent. Coleman made the free shots and the game is tied at 50 points apiece with 8:16 remaining in the game.

MINI RUN: Rogers and Argens are throwing their weight around in the paint to stitch together a 6-0 run, giving Washington a 46-40 lead with 11:36 on the clock. They've combined for 23 points and 12 rebounds in the game.

SCOREBOARD: No. 4 Tennessee is up 48-41 on No. 6 Tennessee at the break. It's the most points the Cardinal has scored in a half since 1999. The game is being aired on ROOT Sports, if you'd like to tune in...I would.

HALFTIME: McGuff leaned on sophomore F Marjorie Heard tonight. She played the final six minutes of the opening half, scoring four points and taking a charge to help the Huskies enter the break down 34-30. UW was having trouble defending another G, this time Coleman. She shot three-pointers over Barlow's reach and drew fouls in the paint for 16 opening half points. But Heard drawing a charge and Argens blocking one of Coleman's jumpers started to dim the Jaguars' confidence. SU is shooting 38.2 percent from the field while UW warmed up to 31.3 percent. UW needs to find itself if it's going to win. Southern needs to find the hot-hand and continue to play aggressive if it's going to hold onto the upset.

BAD NIGHT: Throw in the officials as teams having a bad night. The topper -- so far -- was a blatant ball bouncing off Southern out-of-bounds and the crew giving the ball to Southern. The positive is Washington getting more going offensively, but remains down 21-15 with 7:48 left in the half.

ICY: Washington is 1-for-8 from the field. McGuff put McCann-Smith in to generate some scoring, but she may not be out of her slump. McCann-Smith had a career-high on Sunday, but is 0-for-3 to start. Meanwhile Southern is shooting 60 percent from the field to take a 12-2 lead. There's 14:26 on the clock.

APRIL FOOLS?: Could be a long night. Southern was called for a turnover on the opening play because they forgot which hoop was theirs, turning around to head the opposite direction. Reminds me of when three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson once scored for the opponent. Jaguars have figured it out, however, forcing McGuff to call a time out as SU takes a 6-2 lead with 18:14 remaining in the first half.

Crack open the record books, Washington is nearing another benchmark. The Huskies haven't had eight nonconference wins since the 2002-03 season when then-coach June Daugherty's team was 8-1 in early play. That UW squad finished at 22-8, losing in the opening round of the NCAA tournament to Wisconsin-Green Bay 78-65.

The modern-day Washington is 7-2 and ridding a four-game win streak as it prepares to play Southern University (1-5) at Hec Ed. The Historically Black University (HBCU) from the bayou hasn't won since November, so I'm not expecting much of a challenge Tuesday in the Huskies collecting that signature eighth win.

UW still needs plenty of work on itself, according to coach Kevin McGuff, and it's a good night for the training. But teams like the Jaguars can be tricky. The Huskies have never played them, the holiday break follows, and players are feeling good about themselves after four years of losing.

Take Southern lightly at all or have any lapses in concentration and Washington could have an embarrassing loss like the men on Sunday against South Dakota State. But the nonconference finish would still be the best since 2006 when the team was 7-4.

UWTV is making its debut with play-by-play announcer Michael Preston. He's solo for the night, former Huskies G Sara Morton taking a position with a company that puts on global basketball tournaments and Dan Giuliani entering private business. Rumor has it that former Husky F Liz Lay will be the color commentator for the Jan. 5 telecast.

Until then, let's get you started with your starting lineups:

JAGUARS
F Jasmine Jefferson
F Jamie Floyd
C Lechell Rush
G Adrian Sanders
G Kendra Coleman

HUSKIES
F Charmaine Barlow
F Mackenzie Argens
C Regina Rogers
G Jazmine Davis
G Mercedes Wetmore

Tonight's officials are Cathi Cornell, Kyle Bacon, and Cheryl Flores.

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