BY SPNW Staff 01:19PM 03/27/2016

Huskies historic: Top Stanford, reach Final Four

After a wire-to-wire win over Stanford Sunday in Lexington, the University of Washington’s women’s team is in the Final Four for the first time.

Third-year Huskies coach Mike Neighbors helped make history Sunday. / Pac-12 Conference


A longshot to even reach the Sweet 16 after finishing fifth in the Pac-12 Conference, the University of Washington women’s basketball team instead finds itself in historic territory. The seventh-seeded Huskies made the Final Four Sunday for the first time in program annals with a wire-to-wire, 85-76 win over No. 4 seed Stanford as Chantel Osahor dominated the Cardinal with 24 points and 18 rebounds. All-America selection Kelsey Plum contributed 26 points, eight assists and five rebounds (box).

“I could not be more proud of what this team has accomplished,” UW coach Mike Neighbors said after the Huskies (26-10) toppled their conference rival at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY. “I would have been proud even if we had lost. We faced a Stanford team that was never going to quit, and we didn’t quit, either. And now we’re going to Indy!”

The lowest-seeded women’s team to reach the Final Four since Minnesota also made it as a No. 7 in 2004, Washington will play Syracuse, which routed Tennessee 89-67 Sunday in a national semifinal at 12:30 p.m. Sunday in Indianapolis.

The Huskies and Syracuse met Nov. 27 at the South Point Shootout in Las Vegas. The No. 23-ranked Orange won 66-62 after trailing by 21 points in the first half. The loss was Washington’s first of the season.

Essential moment

Osahor, Washington’s 6-foot-2 center, knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in the first minute as the Huskies stormed to a 12-0 lead. The Cardinal played nearly the remainder of the contest burdened with a double-digit deficit.

Stanford closed to 78-73 with 1:03 remaining when Lili Thompson nailed a 3-pointer. But Plum made four free throws in the final 30 seconds.


“I’m almost at a loss for words. No one picked us to do this, but everyone in our locker room believed, and that’s all that matters. I just want to say we didn’t take no for an answer. You can do whatever you want when you put your heart to it. Chantel (Osahor) was the MVP of this game. She got the rebounds, hit the big shots and controlled the tempo.”–  Plum

“This is what happens when you play together as a team. Everybody doubted this team, but we never worried about doubters. It didn’t matter what anybody said. We played as one. That’s exactly what we were — one. Honestly, this is so rewarding” –  UW forward Talia Walton


The Cardinal could not defend Osahor, who went 8-for-11 from 2-point range and 3-for-5 on 3-pointers. Sixteen of her 18 rebounds were defensive . . . Walton added 12 points and Alexus Atchley 11 . . . The Huskies shot 49.2 percent from 2-point range and 42.1 from 3-point range while holding the Cardinal 34.3 and 42.2 . . . Stanford hit 14 3-pointers . . . Washington improved to 6-8 against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, recording wins over No. 17 UCLA, No. 25 USC, No. 11 Stanford, No. 5 Maryland, No. 12 Kentucky and No. 13 Stanford, which finished 27-8 . . . Washington reached the Final Four by defeating No. 10 seed Penn (65-53), No. 2 seed Maryland (74-65), No. 3 seed Kentucky (85-72) and No. 4 seed Stanford (85-76) . . . Sunday’s game marked the first in women’s tournament history featuring a No. 4 vs. a No. 7 seed in a regional final . . . Thompson led the Cardinal with 19 points, including a trio of 3-pointers. Erica McCall added 19 and 15 rebounds, and Karlie Samuelson 12, all 3-pointers before fouling out.


  • Jamo57


  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    What happens in Vegas …stays in Vegas! That will make the Vegas revenge factor even more sweet! Go underdawgs! Or should we say underdawgs no more!

  • Rj Smith

    Unfortunately…… if they beat Syracuse, they have UConn & a 25 point Championship Game loss awaiting them next. Also unfortunately, the men’s program can’t even MAKE the tourney on the regular. So sad…… just GET IN & you never know, look at Syracuse, a 10 seed & in the Final Four.

    • Estip

      If they face UConn, it wouldn’t be unfortunate, it would be fantastic. Even if they were to lose. No one expected them to advance this far, and for them to make it to the championship would be a great accomplishment.

      • art thiel

        Yes, it is already fantastic, no matter what happens in Indy.

        • Rj Smith

          Let’s roll out those participation trophies now. It IS a great story, I’m very happy for them, but I doubt this will improve the recruiting & result in the building of a legit contender. They will be absolutely smoked & run out of the gym by UConn. Do you REALLY want to see that? Did you see what they did to Mississippi St? It was 80-20 when I tuned in. I don’t want to watch the Huskies get embarrassed like that. That’s what I called UNFORTUNATE.

          • art thiel

            Weak answer, RJ. You’re wrapped around the axle of a game that may not happen, fearing the worst, instead of first offering appreciation for the deeds to date. That’s one of the worst aspects of unthinking fandom.

          • Rj Smith

            Don’t we root for our teams to WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS? So they played decently, got lucky because it’s watered down women’s basketball where basically all the REAL talent goes to 3 or 4 schools every year & now we’re supposed to celebrate? IF they actually beat Syracuse, which is in doubt, they will be absolutely slaughtered by UConn. Like I said, let’s get those participation trophies ready.

          • art thiel

            If you tie your sports enjoyment exclusively to winning championships, you will be a miserable person in any market, any time, any sport.

          • Bruce Buls

            I’m very excited by this team, with its vivid cast of characters. Should they beat Syracuse, which is easily imagined, then we would probably have a Huskies vs. Huskies final. How cool would that be? And great exposure for our hometown team. Go Dawgs!

          • Rj Smith

            So Seahawks football was enjoyable when they ran out QB’s like Jeff don’t call me Shawn Kemp, Kelly Stouffer the pizza man, Dan definitely not the man or even Mark McGwire, or Rick Mirer-d in mediocrity? No I think it’s better when they go to & WIN SUPERBOWLS! Watching a 116 win baseball team fall flat in the postseason & they have an at least 15 year drought is not as enjoyable as winning the World Series. The point is, they got lucky, they’re an OK little team, but they will get CRUSHED if they make it that far. So why get caught up in false hype/hope? I want my teams to win championships, not collect participation trophies.

          • disqus_0fotImVld4

            Yippee! The Husky women have performed a miracle and everyone should celebrate! However, since I’m worried about being wrong and attached to a loser, let’s get dour and mope around and worry about UConn! Oh, crap, now everything looks dark and worrisome! Oh, well….

          • Tian Biao

            You don’t know for sure that UConn will win. That is merely an assumption. That’s why they actually play the games. Sports is unpredictable. Let’s wait and see what happens.

        • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

          Fantastic = an unranked team going into the tournament now has a 1 in 4 chance of winning the National Championship. There is no other word for it.

    • art thiel

      How is it that you could start a tweet about the one of the best local sports moments in some time with the word “unfortunately?” Think about it, RJ. Sometimes you have to turn off the acid faucet.

      • 1coolguy

        Exactly – good reply Art.

      • Jeff Shope

        yes but it’s true. If they win they will likely play Uconn on short days rest with the smallest bench use I have ever seen. But thats a seattle trait now they love participation ribbons. You go to the final four to win the championship not to just be glad to be in final four. Hope the girls are going there to win not just to participate.

        • Pixdawg13

          You obviously do not know anything about these WOMEN. They don’t ever play ‘just to participate’.

          • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

            The Lady Dawgs are just gamers. Their will to win is just fantastic.
            Both our squad and Oregon State have unfinished business. David had his day once against Goliath. If either of these teams fall short it will not be for lack of effort but at this moment it is fun to imagine tears streaming from Kelsie Plum as they cut down the nets. Undefeated teams do occasionally lose in the final 4…lets hope 2016 is one of them.

        • art thiel

          The point isn’t that UConn is great. The point is that in the first 24 hrs, it’s OK to celebrate.

  • jafabian

    Great win over a long time rival. Chris Gobrecht had to be loving that! Just by making the Final Four makes them a legit contender. This has been an amazing run!

  • 1coolguy

    We lost be only 4 to Syracuse – 66-62 – in November and the Dawgs are a completely different team, much improved. I like our chances on this one.
    Great game ladies! Go Dawgs!

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  • Pixdawg13

    In the “Noteworthy” section this: ” Thompson led the Wildcats with 19 points” — weren’t any Wildcats playing in Rupp Arena yesterday. (nor, I think, anywhere in the women’s E8)

    • art thiel

      Fixed. Thanks.

  • 1coolguy

    “Washington’s energy level can be credited to a relaxed routine started in January, head coach Mike Neighbors said. The Huskies practiced one day a week. They extended the practice protocol to the NCAA Tournament. On Saturday, they practiced for no more than 40 minutes, Neighbors said, and spent the rest of the time absorbing the surroundings of Rupp Arena.” Quoted from the San Francisco Chronicle.
    1 practice a WEEK? I haven’t read or heard about this until now. That is truly amazing and I’d like to see an interview with Neighbors and the players about this routine, which of course is far from the ordinary. It gives them time to recover and build strength AND time to study and go to class. Very interesting.

  • MrPrimeMinister

    The group has a very eclectic nature–makes them very unique. You’ve got the tomboy, the overweight girl, the one who beat cancer, the barbie doll type. Maybe a few others–i might have missed some.