California runs away from Washington to claim share of Pac-12 title
Golden Bears have no problem in posting 78-50 victory over Huskies
Seattle Times staff reporter
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There was an odd dichotomy at the conclusion of Washington's women's basketball game Saturday against No. 6 California.
At one part of the western end of the Alaska Airlines Arena court was a wild huddle with Cal celebrating its first Pac-12 title after beating UW 78-50.
In the corridor behind them were the Huskies, gathering bouquets of flowers in preparation for the celebration of the senior class' final home game.
"Leaving the court, I was just more mad about losing to Cal than thinking about leaving the court for my last time," said senior guard Kristi Kingma.
Washington coach Kevin McGuff signaled sophomore point guard Jazmine Davis to commit a quick foul on the Bears to give Kingma and forward Jeneva Anderson a final exit with 54.4 seconds left in the game. A crowd of 2,248 gave the players a standing ovation.
Anderson was signed by former coach Tia Jackson and didn't garner much playing time in two seasons with Jackson or two with McGuff.
Kingma's career was completely different. She was signed by former coach June Daugherty, but played for Jackson and McGuff. A four-year starter, missing last year due to a torn right ACL, Kingma broke her team record for most three-pointers made in a season with 83 this year, including two in her 10 points Saturday.
Where these two seniors unite is in wanting to change the Washington program. The Huskies suffered four consecutive losing seasons under Jackson. Now, UW is one victory from a second consecutive 20-win season, a first since 2003.
"I've definitely been a part of something that's changed the program from the day I walked through those doors," said Anderson, who's getting married in August and taking a break before entering law school with a psychology degree. "It's definitely different."
Saturday, Washington brought back Davis and redshirt freshmen Talia Walton and Deborah Meeks to the squad after a one-game suspension for violating team rules.
Still, UW's energy was low and further run down by Cal senior center Talia Caldwell. Her layin with 10:31 left in the first half started a 20-8 run to put the Bears up 35-17.
The Huskies closed to seven points early in the second half, but then Caldwell scored nine points in a 12-2 Cal run to put the game out of reach. She led the Bears with 22 points and 13 rebounds.
"Cal, they punched us in the mouth right from the beginning and we didn't react very well to it," McGuff said. "I was hoping we'd get a little spark out of it (the return of the suspended players), get back to full strength and we'd come out and be better, but we weren't."
Washington (19-10, 11-7 Pac-12) finished fifth in the conference and will play Oregon in the opening round of the Pac-12 tournament at KeyArena on Thursday. UW swept the Ducks this season.
Despite sharing the conference title with No. 4 Stanford, Cal (27-2, 17-1) is the second seed in the tournament due to overall winning percentage. Cal gets a first-round bye.
"You'd think our confidence is not that high, but it is," said Davis, whose team is on a four-game losing streak. "We always seem to find the positive in things."
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or email@example.com.
Attendance: 2,248. Officials: Melissa Barlow, Clark Stevens, Mary Whatford.