UW women’s basketball has to focus on task at hand as it plays during NFC title game
UW women’s basketball hosts No. 21 Colorado, a team on a three-game losing streak.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Colorado @ Washington, 4 p.m., Pac-12 Networks
Jazmine Davis will wear the hometown Washington Huskies uniform Sunday, but underneath she has other rooting interests.
As Seattle goes crazy for the Seahawks’ NFC Championship Game against San Francisco, Davis is fine with not being able to catch the matchup due to UW hosting No. 21 Colorado at Alaska Airlines Arena at 4 p.m.
“I know who’s going to win,” Davis, a Bay Area native, scoffed. She’s talking about the 49ers. “I’ll be going into the Colorado game like, ‘I’m not worried about a thing.’ ”
Davis, a junior guard, said she keeps her rabid fandom internal. Meantime, teammate Brianna Ruiz, a Sacramento native who suffered a season-ending knee injury and will not dress for the Colorado game, has been more outward in her support of the 49ers.
“Brianna is borderline obnoxious with her flaunting of her pride,” Washington coach Mike Neighbors said. “She will be the one where I’ll have to make sure she doesn’t have a phone on the bench or an earpiece in (for updates on the game).”
Of course, the Huskies game was scheduled before the Seahawks’ playoff run. But there is a concern about attendance. UW is averaging 1,762 fans this season.
Washington (9-7, 2-3 Pac-12) hosted rival Washington State during the Hawks’ divisional semifinal game last week. The Huskies drew 1,744 fans.
There were frequent score updates and game operations displayed touchdown highlights on the Alaska Airlines Arena video screen.
“The loudest cheer of the night was when they showed the Seahawks,” Neighbors said of the atmosphere for the WSU game, which UW lost, 85-76.
“You know what, bring it on,” he said of the head-to-head scheduling Sunday. “It’s unfortunate but we have a very loyal 750 to 1,000 people who I think will DVR it and try to stay away from it and be here. But you have to acknowledge it’s going on. I’m a Hawks fan, too, a big Pete Carroll guy.”
Washington has to acknowledge the serious implications of its game, too. The Huskies are trying to retain their hopes of a postseason berth. They defeated Utah 53-52 in overtime Friday to end a three-game losing streak.
Colorado (11-5, 1-4) is a different challenge than Utah with its balanced offense and defensive focus. Three Buffs players have a double-figure scoring average and the team is second in the conference in scoring defense (60.1 points).
But CU is on a three-game losing streak. The Buffs lost to No. 4 Stanford, No. 15 California and WSU by an average of 7.3 points.
“You can’t underestimate them just because they’re on a losing streak,” UW junior forward Aminah Williams said. “They’re not ranked for nothing. They have three guards that are really quick and we really have to be hooked up. We can’t let the Seahawks game get too much in our heads because we have a game here.”
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Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @JaydaEvans.