UW women face big test with road games in Arizona
Washington begins second half of Pac-10 women's basketball play at Arizona State.
Seattle Times staff reporter
UW women @ Arizona State, 5:30 p.m., FSN and 1150 AM
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Until now, the Washington Huskies have been pretty calm.
Sure, the players were excited after their three-game winning streak. And they were hyped for last week's overtime win against Washington State in basketball's version of the Apple Cup.
But headed south to play the Arizona schools, the Huskies say it's a huge week.
"We have a great opportunity ahead of us to make a statement," sophomore guard Kristi Kingma said. "Any time you can get road wins it's huge — especially in this conference, where there's not much separating the first- and last-place teams."
The Huskies (9-10, 4-5) begin the second-half of Pac-10 play against Arizona State (13-7, 5-4) on Thursday. ASU is tied with California for fourth in the conference. And only three games separate sixth-place Washington from third.
The Sun Devils have won five of their past six after losing their first three conference games, including a 62-56 setback at Edmundson Pavilion.
Senior guard Danielle Orsillo has been the key player during a four-game ASU win streak, averaging 18 points. Her baseline jumper with 0.5 seconds remaining beat California, 63-61.
The Sun Devils, who lost six players from last season's Elite Eight team, were wounded when they faced the Huskies in January. Orsillo was limited to four points on 2-of-8 shooting, but dished out four assists while her team shot 39 percent in the second half.
"Orsillo is really playing well and kind of taking the team on her shoulders," Washington coach Tia Jackson said. "She doesn't try to do too much, but when it's crunch time, she takes over the game.
"They've also got tremendous post play. They got the kinks out and are playing great basketball."
The Huskies have learned how to win despite the kinks, defeating rival WSU without their second-leading scorer, Kingma, who was out with a concussion. Kingma is expected to start against ASU.
Kingma's late three-pointer was key to the January win over Arizona State, which snapped a 10-game UW losing streak to the Sun Devils behind Sami Whitcomb's 26 points.
"This is a really big weekend for us," said Whitcomb, whose team hasn't won at ASU since 2001. "ASU is really starting to play like the typical ASU teams we're more familiar with, so this will be a really good test for us."
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or email@example.com