Washington women pull away from Seattle University for 72-53 victory
Pride seemed to emerge somewhere around the five-minute mark of the opening half. Tied at 27 with a crosstown foe making its final trek...
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Pride seemed to emerge somewhere around the five-minute mark of the opening half.
Tied at 27 with a crosstown foe making its final trek to being a Division I program, Washington found its own D-I prowess to protect its home floor and get its first win of the season. Buoyed by the play of Mercedes Wetmore, UW defeated Seattle University 72-53 at Edmundson Pavilion.
It's the Huskies' largest margin of victory since defeating Western Michigan by 19 points last November. The win also marks the first for UW coach Kevin McGuff, hired in April to revitalize a program that suffered through four consecutive losing seasons.
"He's probably like, 'Yes! First one down, many to come,' " said Wetmore, giving a small fist pump as she mimicked how her coach reacted to the win. "We were ready to get one (Wednesday)."
McGuff rattled his lineup after a one-point defeat to UC Davis in Friday's season opener. He inserted junior forward Jeneva Anderson instead of sophomore returning starter Marjorie Heard.
The response was Heard helping the Huskies find an offensive flow with her physical play inside and newfound shooting range. She tied the score at 27 with 4:45 remaining in the first half. The shot helped Washington go on a 9-2 run to close with a 36-29 lead at the break after senior Mackenzie Argens found Heard for a fast-break layin with 31 seconds on the clock.
The Huskies, playing most of the game without center Regina Rogers due to foul trouble, opened the second half on a 14-6 run to build a 50-35 lead, ending any SU hopes of challenging its city rival. The Redhawks (1-1) haven't defeated the Huskies since 1981, a stretch of eight games.
"We were impatient, a lot," third-year SU coach Joan Bonvicini said. "When they (UW) took Regina out, we sort of let down defensively. And it's not like we didn't respect the other players, we just needed to keep the same intensity and we didn't. That's when UW made their run."
SU senior Talisa Rhea and sophomore post Kacie Sowell played well off each other in their team's previous two games. But with Washington refocusing on defense, Rhea was limited to 3-for-13 shooting for six points and eight turnovers — well below her 18-point average.
The Redhawks couldn't find the same depth the Huskies discovered, absorbing a six-point night from Rogers with a career-high 16 points from Wetmore and 32 points off the bench.
"You can start to see glimpses, but depth will be a real asset to this team as we move through the season," McGuff said. "We had different people stepping up. It's nice to see ... ultimately that's going to be what makes us a dangerous team."
The game attracted 2,021 fans, some still skeptical to embrace a new coach given the program's recent history. Last week's loss coupled with an early slow start on Wednesday may have had eyes rolling.
But Washington, despite having only one senior on the floor at times, played like an entertaining and seasoned team, shooting 45.5 percent overall.
"This is obviously a passionate town for women's basketball," McGuff said. "In time, sooner rather than later, we'll continue to grow the crowds and it's a point of emphasis for how we want to make this program special."
|SEATTLE UNIVERSITY (1-2)|
Percentages: FG .28, FT .615. Three-point goals: 3-19, (Ward 2-7, Kerfoot 1-6, Rhea 0-4, Brown 0-1, Butler 0-1). Team rebounds: 6. Blocked shots: 4, (Sowell 3, Kerfoot). Turnovers: 17, (Ward 3, Sowell, Kerfoot 2, Rhea 8, Brown, Shephard, Adhiambo). Steals: 4, (Ward, Dillard-Brown, Butler, McCarthy).
Percentages: FG .55, FT .600. Three-point goals: 4-8, (Wetmore 3-5, Davis 1-1, McCann-Smith 0-1, Heard 0-1). Team rebounds: 7. Blocked shots: 6, (Anderson 2, Rogers, Davis, Williams, Argens). Turnovers: 15, (Anderson 2, Barlow 2, Rogers 3, Wetmore, Davis 2, Argens 3, Williams, Heard). Steals: 8, (Anderson, Barlow, Wetmore 2, Davis 2, Williams 2).
|Seattle University||29||24||— 53|
Officials: Lisa Jones, Alejandro Moreno, Richard Waters Technical fouls: None. A — 2,021
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @JaydaEvans.
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