UW women can't hold on to 13-point first-half lead, lose to Arizona
Wildcats use 40-13 run that began late in first half to take control.
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TUCSON, Ariz. — All was well. The Washington women's basketball team was up by 13 points late in the first half and dominating the interior against Arizona on Saturday, seemingly one decent half away from its first Pac-10 road victory.
Then it all fell apart.
The Wildcats began a 40-13 run in the final three minutes of the first half, taking control in what became a 72-62 victory in front of 1,765 at McKale Center that doomed the Huskies to a last-place finish in the Pac-10 for the first time in the program's 35-year history.
The Huskies (6-21, 2-15) need wins in the Pac-10 tournament just to tie their previous season low in victories, set when the 1999-2000 team finished 8-22.
"We've yet to be able to put a complete two halves together," said Washington coach Tia Jackson.
"We're going to learn at a young age — like right now, because we are living it — we are going to learn how to step on people's throats when we have control of the game. So if we can get up 10, we ought be to able to get up 20."
Jackson's loud postgame talk to her players could easily be heard in the hallway outside the Huskies' locker room.
"Coaches are coaches. They'll yell," said 6-foot-3 freshman forward/center Mackenzie Argens, who had a career-high 12 points and tied a career high with six rebounds. "I don't mind it. Sometimes we need it. We feel frustrated and stuff. It makes us more motivated to come out the next game."
Argens and 6-2 junior forward/center Laura McLellan got the Huskies off to a quick start, combining for 17 points in the first 16 minutes to help Washington to a 33-19 lead.
But Arizona, playing without star forward Ify Ibekwe, scored 18 of the next 21 points to take its first lead since the opening minutes. The Wildcats (11-16, 4-12) used a later 13-2 run to take charge.
McLellan led the Huskies with 16 points, and Sami Whitcomb had 11. Christina Rozier tied for game-high honors with eight rebounds.
"This is a win we thought was in the bag," McLellan said. "Well, you can't say any win is in the bag. But when you are up by 14 points, you don't see any way you are going to lose.
"We know we're better than a 10th-place team, but the players and coaches might be the only ones who believe that. We still have [Washington State] and the Pac-10 tournament."
Freshman guard Courtney Clements had 22 points for Arizona, but the difference in the game came when the Wildcats inserted 6-5 freshman Malia Nahinu to clog the middle.
Nahinu had 13 points and six rebounds in 16 minutes. She had played three minutes in Arizona's previous 26 games, with two points and no rebounds.
Washington committed 14 of its 17 turnovers in the second half, when it gave up 11 offensive rebounds and was outscored, 44-28.
Attendance: 1,765. Officials: Melissa Barlow, Randy Campbell, Michelle Russi.
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 10:18 PM
Washington State's Klay Thompson will play Thursday against Huskies
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