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Game thread: Arizona State at Washington

posted by Jayda Evans: Womens Hoops Blog
Friday, February 18, 2011 at 12:46am 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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WILLIAMS OUT: Williams fouled out of the game, not good since the Huskies need bodies on Tobin. Instead, the ASU senior scored again in the paint to push the lead up to 48-42 with 7:37 remaining in the game. Tobin has a game-high 17 points, eight boards, and two blocks.

BENNETT HURT: Former Washington F Kali Bennett re-injured her right thumb, falling out-of-bounds hard on the injury when diving for a loose ball. Bennett immediately crumbled and started to cry, in obvious pain. She's on the bench with a towel covering her face. The Sun Devils were in the midst of a good offensive play when the injury occurred. Tobin is particularly playing well for ASU, which leads 46-42 with 8:01 on the clock.

EARL RETURNS: FYI, Earl is back in the game -- just in time to foul Barlow. She made both to make the score 44-40 ASU with 10:55 left.

HUSKY RUN: An improbable bucket while being fouled by Morton has helped the Huskies close within 39-36 with 13:14 remaining in the game. Morton fell to the court and was picked up by Jackson as Hec Ed woke back up from its slumber. Later, Wetmore picked off a dribble and Argens made a pair of FTs to cap a 14-2 run.

EARL HURT?: It appears Earl took a hard hit from Morton that was a no-call by officials, until Turner Thorne started to complain. Morton made a jumper and was taken out of the game by Jackson, who already had Wetmore seated at the score's table. Earl clutched her jaw and looked at the officials confused as to why Morton wasn't called for something prior to the shot. Officials discussed it, but everything stands. ASU leads 37-28 with 16:00 remaining.

BUZZER STUNNER: ASU collected a Morton turnover in the waning seconds and dribbled down court for a Alex Earl layin as the halftime buzzer sounded. It was a disappointing end to the half for UW, which is down 33-21. The Sun Devil's talented depth and hot shooting has kep the Huskies out of this game. UW is shooting 28 percent from the field and getting outrebounded 20-12. Washington has forced 12 turnovers, scoring 15 points. If it could make the other shots it attempts, this might be a ball game. As of now, it appears ASU is about to slam the door shut on the conference basement the Huskies are trying to climb out. Kingma leads with eight points while Brandon has 11 points and seven boards

REALITY CHECK: And those other Dawgs are back. A three-pointer by Simon helped push the score back up to 25-15, the Sun Devils going on a 10-0 run. The guards are struggling and UW's defense can't stop Brandon or Simon from popping treys.

BALLIN': UW played its best stretch that I've seen (noting that I've only traveled to the Oregon schools). C Regina Rogers and Morton had sweet passes to teammates for scores, the defense forced turnovers and a FTs by Barlow inched the Huskies back within 16-15 with 8:34 left in the half. The Huskies appear to be in a flow with each other, working really well for second-chance shots (even if they don't always hot them) and to make something of broken plays.

BRAND ME: Brandon is starting to make a mark on the game, getting two pretty jumpers to drop in giving the Sun Devils a 11-6 lead with 12:29 remaining in the half. UW is turning the ball over and missing shots at the hoop, thwarting some good effort elsewhere on the court.

HOT PINK: ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne, who received a few boos during pregame intros, is already hyped at officiating. Her players have been called for traveling and an offensive charge, killing some momentum. The UW posts are establishing themselves and the Huskies only trail 5-4 with 15:41 remaining in the opening half.

MY LEG: TV personality Sara Mosiman is hobbling around on crutches, but don't worry. It's not another sign if the UW injury curse. The former G had the rod removed from her right leg and is on crutches for a few weeks while it heals. She said she feels great.

Washington and Arizona State are draped in pink in honor of legendary coach Kay Yow and to raise money for breast cancer awareness. The Sun Devils are in full-on pink while the Huskies are in white with pink accents from the stripes on their uniforms to the laces on their purple kicks.

Look beyond the color scheme and the game as more implications than recognizing life's bigger issues and the people who inspire us by conquering them. Both teams need a win to keep their season's dreams alive.

ASU (14-8, 6-6 Pac-10) pictured itself a NCAA tournament team with the return of PG Dymond Simon and the growth of last season's youthful roster. But the Sun Devils, despite being fourth in the Pac-10, haven't won back-to-back games since defeating both of the Oregon schools at home in January. They lost to Washington State at home and Arizona on the road.

Meanwhile Washington (10-12, 5-8) has won three of its past five games, banking on its defense because its offense has more personalities than a Saturday Night Live cast. A healthy roster has helped the Huskies' turnaround and this stretch of home games are huge.

If UW can sweep the Arizona schools at home, it plays its final three games on the road and could get favorable seeding for the conference tournament in March. The Huskies would have to win the automatic berth, in my opinion, to advance to the NCAA tourney. But another good finish in Pac-10 play and a good showing in the conference tournament should advance the Huskies to the WNIT.

And that should be enough to earn coach Tia Jackson the right to coach the final year on her five-year contract. In her fourth season, she's helped develop PG Sarah Morton into a quality player and recruited good adds in freshmen Marjorie Heard and Mercedes Wetmore, not to mention cultivating a strong junior class.

But Jackson and the Huskies still need those wins to make their story of overcoming obstacles complete. Problem is, so do the Sun Devils. Let's see which dominates, beginning with your starting lineups:

SUN DEVILS
F Tenaya Watson
F Kimberly Brandon
C Becca Tobin
G Dymond Simon
G Deja Mann

HUSKIES
F Charmaine Barlow
F Mollie Williams
C Mackenzie Argens
G Sarah Morton
G Kristi Kingma

Tonight's officials are
Charles Gonzales, Lucy Banuelos, and Mazetta Garrett.

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