It appeared the Huskies were upon one of the largest late-season collapses in program history. After finishing the regular season on a four-game losing skid, the Huskies overcame a 22-point, first-half deficit — biggest in program history — against the 12th-seeded Oregon (4-27) to prevail 69-62 Thursday night to advance to the quarterfinals in the women’s Pac-12 Tournament.
Fifth-seeded Washington plays Colorado Friday night at 8:30 p.m. The Buffaloes finished two games ahead of the Huskies in the regular season and earned a first-round bye as the four seed.
The Ducks hit nine of 15 three-point attempts in the first half. Oregon’s barrage went unanswered by the Huskies, missing 16 of 18 threes in the first half.
“The concentration just wasn’t really there to start the game,” said Jazmine Davis. “Everything we lacked, Oregon had.”
Trailing 35-13 at the 13-minute mark of the first half, Washington went on a 15-4 run to close the gap to 39-28 at the half.
The lead was five with 15 minutes remaining when Davis (28 points, 8-19 shooting) hit one of her three deep balls. After the slow start, momentum and the crowd — the first day total was announced at 4,665 — started working in the Huskies favor.
“Having as many Washington fans as we had here was a big part of us grabbing the momentum,” head coach Kevin McGuff said.
The Huskies took their first lead, 53-52, with two Kristi Kingma free throws at the 8:26 mark. Kingma (4 points, 0-10 shooting) was well below her season average of 13.7 points a game.
After five lead changes and three ties, Washington took the lead for good with more than four minutes remaining on a Talia Walton (19 points, 8-25 shooting) jumper from the elbow. Leading 65-62 with 1:11 remaining, Walton hit a three to end any uncertainty.
“That was the shot that kind of put the nail in the coffin for them,” McGuff said.
Aminah Williams, a Pac-12 All-Defense first-teamer, finished with 11 points and 17 rebounds.
The Huskies lost their only meeting against Colorado Feb. 24, 68-61. With a win Friday, the Huskies would play Saturday the winner of the Washington State-Stanford game.
The Cardinal have won the last six tournaments and embarrassed the Huskies 71-36 at Hec Ed Feb. 28. Washington was without Walton and Davis, who were serving one-game suspensions for violation a team rule. The duo scored 47 points in the first-round win over Oregon.