Huskies women earn win over Houston
The Huskies (7-2) rotated 12 players, mainly using the 86-60 win over Houston as a teaching tool for deep reserves and freshman Talia Walton, who made her debut after October knee surgery.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Houston coach Todd Buchanan sat hunched over, rubbing his temples while covering his eyes. It's a familiar position for the coach this season.
He traveled to Washington with only seven healthy players, and quickly was at a loss on how to stop the Huskies on Sunday. Washington (7-2) rotated 12 players, mainly using the 85-60 win as a teaching tool for deep reserves and freshman Talia Walton, who made her debut after October knee surgery.
Washington used a 20-10 run to take a 30-15 lead over the Cougars (1-10) with 7:15 left in the first half, leaving Buchanan perplexed. And across the scorers' table, first-year UW coach Kevin McGuff wanted more, calling a timeout during the run to correct a missed defensive assignment.
The one thing working for Houston irked McGuff, which was penetration to the hoop. Cougars guard Roxana Button was the main culprit, getting to the line 17 times and making 11 free throws in her game-high 21 points.
"It's still a part of how we grow as a team," said McGuff, who led Xavier to the Elite Eight in 2010. "We watch the scoreboard, we get a lead and all of a sudden our intensity goes out the window, which is really a sign of (lack of) maturity.
"Most of the game I spent addressing things on defense because it was really a poor performance for us. They drove it at will and it was really disappointing to see because I thought we were making some progress."
Senior forward Mackenzie Argens established the Huskies inside by scoring six of the opening eight points. She finished with 19 points and 17 rebounds for her fourth career double-double.
Senior Mollie Williams added 11 points and 12 boards off the bench to help UW outrebound Houston 56-34 overall and outscore the visitors 22-4 on second-chance shot opportunities.
"We were really moving the ball well," Argens said. "It's nice having everyone back and it's fun having Talia out there ... it's fun being 7-2. But we can't let that get to our heads. We've got to still play hard."
The Huskies did enjoy the win at times. Williams joked that she spent most of the game with her arms up, signaling a three-pointer. Transfer guard Kellie McCann-Smith scored a career-high 14, nailing four of Washington's season-high six three-pointers.
Yet if Williams and teammates added the arm gesture on defense, McGuff may have had fun, too.
"That's one of the things we appreciate about McGuff, it seems like he's never satisfied," Williams said. "As a player, you want to try to make your coach satisfied. If he gives us stuff that we need to work on, then that's what we're going to do."
Washington, which won its fourth consecutive game, hosts Southern (1-5) on Tuesday to conclude its nonconference schedule.
"We've made a lot of progress, but I've got to maintain high expectations on a daily basis just for what our concentration and intensity is," said McGuff, whose team also set season highs in rebounds (56), bench points (36) and blocks (nine). "We did a lot of really good things, even on defense, just not enough for us to be the team that we want to be."
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Officials: Anita Ortega, Eric Larson, Karen Lasuik. Technical fouls: None. A — 1,652
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