Washington women swap roles with Washington State in rematch
Injuries have hit WSU hard, while UW is surging late.
Seattle Times staff reporter
WSU @ UW women, noon, ROOT Sports
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As fans departed into the snowy January night, many were wondering the same thing: Would the Washington State women ever defeat Washington?
The Jan. 14 matchup appeared to be the best opportunity. The Cougars had won their first three conference games and were playing at home, while the Huskies would be without leading scorer Regina Rogers and Marjorie Heard due to injuries.
But Washington freshman Jazmine Davis, clueless to the severity of the rivalry, ignored mean-spirited chants from the crowd and scored a game-high 25 points in leading Washington to a 60-51 win. It marked the Huskies' 33rd consecutive win against the Cougars.
On Sunday, Washington (14-11, 6-9 Pac-12) aims for No. 34, but will the teams' roles be reversed?
"When you look at it, when we played there, they were probably the favorite based on everything," Washington coach Kevin McGuff said in his weekly news conference Tuesday. "It was really a great point of the year for them, but we went over there and won. So now with the injuries they've had, maybe we're the favorite."
The Cougars (10-17, 4-7) have lost Ireti Amojo (knee) and Tia Presley (foot) for the season and could be without senior guard April Cook, who has missed the past three games due to back spasms but hopes to play.
"They're going to come in here really fired up to try to get a win here late in the year," said McGuff. "It's a little bit of a different mindset for both teams, but it's on us. We have to be able to handle it."
Washington State has lost six straight and 11 of 12 since its hot start to Pac-12 play. Five of those defeats came by five points or fewer, including last week's 47-42 decision at Arizona State.
Meanwhile, the Huskies will have Rogers in the lineup for this rivalry game. The senior center has had five double-doubles since missing the first WSU game and ranks fifth in the nation in field-goal-shooting percentage (59.8).
"You've got to respect her, but you can't forget about (Mackenzie) Argens or the other three on the floor at any time because they have a lot of weapons," Cougars coach June Daugherty said of the Huskies on Tuesday. "It makes it tough for our front line to play a lot of one-on-one and limit touches. That's been an emphasis for us in practice. We decided to focus on our defense this week and get it much more improved."
The Cougars are notorious for late-game scrambles, especially against the Huskies. But Washington has picked up another needed skill since the first meeting — it's able to finish games.
"It's experience," said McGuff, whose team has won three of its past five. "You kind of go through some things where you don't close out games because we get away from things that put us in a position to win. You go through that enough and you feel a little bit more comfortable about what you need to do to close out games.
"We've played our best basketball in the last three or four weeks. I wish it could be a little bit more consistent, (but) we've had our best high notes this season. If I could tell you what I like to work towards, it's doing it for longer stretches."
When it comes to Washington State, though, that hasn't been a problem for the Huskies.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @JaydaEvans