BY Howie Stalwick 11:41PM 03/05/2015

Huskies women advance in Pac-12 tourney

Jazmine Davis has always been a big scorer for the Washington Huskies, but rarely has the senior guard scored bigger baskets than she did Thursday night in the opening round of the Pac-12 Conference women’s basketball tournament at KeyArena.

Davis scored 18 of her season-high 29 points in the second half to help Washington erase a six-point halftime deficit and down upset-minded Utah, 75-64. Davis scored Washington’s last four points of the first half and 13 of the Huskies’ first 17 points in the second half.

“I just wanted to do as much as I could,” Davis said. “We just needed some energy from somewhere.”

The 12th-seeded Utes, who tied Arizona for last place in the Pac-12, make up for their lack of athleticism and dynamic scorers by executing uncommonly well at both ends of the court.

“We call it being Utah’d,” Washington star Kelsey Plum said.

“Utah guards us as well as anybody,” Huskies coach Mike Neighbors said.

Still, the fifth-seeded Huskies nearly matched their league-leading average of 75.6 points per game by scoring 47 points in the second half on 55.2 percent shooting.

“I thought in the second half, we were maybe as good as we’ve been all year,” Neighbors said. “Focused offensively and defensively.”

Plum carried her share of the load, matching her league-leading scoring average of 23.0 by pouring in 16 points in the final half. Plum finished 7-for-15 from the floor and 7-for-8 at the free-throw line. Davis was 10-for-21 from the field and 9-for-10 at the line.

An estimated 2,000 spectators turned out to watch the Huskies improve to 23-8 with their fourth consecutive win. The Huskies face the fourth-seeded California (21-8) in the quarterfinals Friday night. The Pac-12 Network televises the game at 8:30.

Washington has never won two games in a Pac-12 tournament. The Huskies split two games with California in league play.

The Utes, who also were 1-1 against Washington in the regular season, finished 9-21 with four losses in a row. Burly freshman center Joeseta Fatuesi tied her season high of 16 points, and Tanaeya Boclair added 14. Standout senior forward Taryn Wicijowski, guarded closely, went scoreless in the first half but finished with seven points and 11 rebounds.

Washington State 66, Oregon 64

Behind Lia Galdeira’s brilliant 34-point performance, Washington State opened the tournament by winning a thriller against Oregon.

Friday’s quarterfinals begin at 11:30 a.m., when Washington State takes on ninth-ranked Arizona State. In their only meeting this season, the Sun Devils beat WSU 78-64 Jan. 5 in Tempe.

“With Arizona State, you’ve got to handle their pressure defense … we’ve really got to move the basketball,” WSU coach June Daugherty said. “Move the cutters. Don’t just let the ball stay on one side.”

Galdeira’s 34 points, 14 field goals (in 24 attempts) and six 3-pointers (in 10 attempts) were career highs that threatened tournament records.

“Lia put on her Superwoman kick,” Daugherty joked.

In spite of Galdeira’s heroics, a hard-fought contest was not decided until Oregon’s Lexie Petersen launched a 3-point shot a split second after the final horn. The ball banked in off the glass, but it didn’t count.

Tia Presley and Mariah Cooks scored 10 points apiece in support of Galdeira, a junior guard from Hawaii.

“Lia Galdeira, that’s definitely a player I look up to,” Oregon freshman guard Lexi Bando said. “She played an amazing game.”

The Ducks finished 13-17 in their first season under former Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves. Jillian Alleyne totaled 18 points and 18 rebounds for her nation-leading 28th double-double, but she had four of Oregon’s 17 turnovers (11 in the first half) and went 1-for-6 at the free-throw line.

Graves praised his players for their effort all season, including Thursday. However, he said, “Down the stretch especially, they (the Cougars) appeared to want it maybe a little bit more.”

UCLA 80, Arizona 62

The team from sunny Southern California was powered by Canada. Montreal native Nirra Fields scored 17 of her 21 points in the second half, and freshman point guard Jordin Canada contributed 10 points, nine assists and four steals.

Candice Warthen led Arizona (10-20) with 12 points, but she went 4-for-15 from the floor. The Wildcats made 21 turnovers and shot 34.5 percent in their ninth loss in 11 games.

Colorado 75, USC 63

Sophomore swingman Haley Smith, who played at Skyline High School in Sammamish, led the Buffaloes with 16 points. Jamee Swan added 15.

Colorado shot 53.2 percent from the field and held the Trojans to a season-low 29.3 percent in a physical contest. All-conference forward Alexy Vaioletema, a senior for USC, went 0-for-13 from the field and scored four points.  She missed the previous two games with a concussion.

Brianna Barrett topped USC (15-15) with 18 points.

PAC-12 CONFERENCE WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT

At KeyArena, Seattle

All games televised on Pac-12 Network except title game on ESPN

THURSDAY RESULTS

First round (with seeding)

No. 7 Washington State 66, No. 10 Oregon 64

No. 6 UCLA 80, No. 6 Arizona 62

No. 9 Colorado 75, No. 8 USC 63

No. 5 Washington 75,  No. 12 Utah 64

FRIDAY’S GAMES

Quarterfinals

11:30 a.m. – Washington State (17-13) vs. No. 2 Arizona State (26-4)

2 p.m. – UCLA (13-17) vs. No. 3 Stanford (21-9)

6 p.m. – Colorado (14-16) vs. No. 1 Oregon State (26-3)

8:30 p.m. – Washington (22-8)  vs. No. 4 California (21-8)

SATURDAY

Semifinals

6 p.m. – Washington State-Arizona State winner vs. UCLA-Stanford winner

8:30 p.m. – Colorado-Oregon State winner vs. Washington-California winner.

SUNDAY

Championship

6 p.m. – Saturday winners


YourThoughts

  • RadioGuy

    Utah hung with Washington quite a while, but Davis and Plum just took over in the second half while Williams got some key rebounds. Nice win against a team the Huskies SHOULD beat. It gets a lot tougher tonight.

    Howie says there was a gathering of about 2,000 for this one (“crowd” would be too charitable), but it didn’t even look like even that many were on hand. The PAC 12 website boxscore lists the attendance at 3,654 but that must be for the entire four games. Too bad more people aren’t showing up, but not surprising. Maybe if Washington reaches the final on Saturday there really WILL be 3,654 people in the stands at the same time. The Gobrecht Era seems so long, long ago.