Bruins’ Pac-10 Hopes May Fall Off the Board
Washington, behind an inspired effort by a hobbled Amber Hall, upset the UCLA’s women basketball team Saturday night and may have served up the Pacific 10 Conference championship to Oregon on a silver platter.
The Huskies’ 96-85 victory dropped UCLA (21-7, 13-3) into second place, a game behind the 14-2 Ducks.
Washington (14-12, 10-7), before a crowd of 4,649 in Hec Edmundson Pavilion, is fighting for an NCAA tournament berth and was playing for the last time for a while in “Hec Ed.” The building soon undergoes a yearlong remodeling job.
Hall was Washington’s leader in the second half, when she limped up and down the court on a ankle she sprained Thursday against USC. In carrying her team to a 65-51 second-half edge over the Bruins, she finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
The 6-foot-1 Hall, entering the game with 57 more rebounds than anyone else in the conference, put an exclamation mark on the night when she hobbled downcourt on a breakaway and carefully put in a layup with 45 seconds left, giving the Huskies a 92-81 lead.
UCLA, which ended a three-game winning streak, , was flat in the stretch, wilting over the last four minutes.
UCLA led by three points at halftime.
Down the stretch, UCLA never challenged the Huskies, who had lost two of their last four and had lost at UCLA, 90-53, on Jan. 28.
This time, Washington rallied around its Canadian star, Hall, and won going away.
Two free throws by LeAnn Sheets with 6:37 left gave the Huskies a 67-65 lead and they never trailed again. In two minutes it was 76-67, after two awkward-looking Megan Franza drives fell in.
UCLA played Washington soft defensively, after starters Janae Hubbard, Erica Gomez and LaCresha Flannigan all had two fouls after the first seven minutes.
Maylana Martin, the conference’s leading scorer at 19.5 points a game, was trapped for the most part by a collapsing defense and finished with 14 points. With eight minutes to play, she had taken only eight shots.
UCLA was snarling at the officials at the finish. The Huskies had 47 free throws, making 29, while UCLA was 19 of 25..
“We didn’t make a lot of smart decisions out there,” UCLA Coach Kathy Olivier said. “Washington was fighting to get in the tournament, the crowd was behind them and this was their last game here.”
Washington, the Pac-10’s leading rebounding team, outrebounded UCLA, 44-40.
Washington State 63, USC 51--Victoria Harrod had 15 points, 11 rebounds and four steals to lead the Cougars (11-15, 5-12) over the Trojans (7-18, 3-13) in Pullman, Wash. Tiffany Washington scored 15 points and had 18 rebounds for USC, which lost its eighth consecutive road game.