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Updated Monday, February 11, 2013 at 03:33 PM

UW women survive late challenge from USC

By Jayda Evans
Seattle Times staff reporter

The plan was to foul.

"I'm kind of glad she didn't," Washington coach Kevin McGuff said of point guard Jazmine Davis.

The sophomore was defending USC guard Ariya Crook in the closing seconds of Sunday's Pac-12 women's basketball game at Alaska Airlines Arena with Davis' Huskies up by three. Crook got space against Davis for an NBA-range three-pointer, but it clanked off the rim with four seconds left.

Crook later had a steal against UW redshirt freshman Talia Walton, but ran out of time before getting off another shot. Washington won 61-58.

"It really scared me," Davis said of Crook's three-point attempt. "You can't really lay back (defensively) with Ariya ... when she threw it up, I was like, 'Oh no!' She can make buckets like that. We wanted to get out there and contest it, been just a little bit (closer)."

If Davis had fouled her, it might have nullified a weekend where UW showed it also had some defensive moxie to counter its continuous offensive droughts. Against USC, UW's offense was so dry in the second half a torrential rainstorm seemingly couldn't replenish it.

Davis scored a rainbow three-pointer with 13:44 remaining to give Washington a 49-42 lead. Then her team proceeded to shoot 3 of 12 from the field as the Trojans went on a 14-4 run over 8 ½ minutes to take a 56-53 lead.

After two free throws by Davis, every made shot seemed to become the greatest highlight ever for Washington because baskets were scarce. But junior guard Mercedes Wetmore's bounce pass inside to sophomore forward Aminah Williams was converted with 3:45 left had the crowd of 2,441 inspired.

"Prior, down the stretch, I had just missed a wide-open layup," said Williams, who had eight points and 11 rebounds. "It was a really big play that she made that pass. She could have shot it and got blocked. Her IQ is really good, especially with time and score situations."

Davis added a layin and two free throws to complete the scoring. She finished with a game-high 24 points, 13 less than her career-high 37 when the teams met in January in Los Angeles. But Washington lost that game 81-72.

"I don't like that at all," Davis said of scoring big numbers but losing. "It's something that's really frustrating to me. I would rather get maybe two points and a win. I want to win."

UW (17-6, 9-3) received votes in national polls last week and responded well to the honor despite not getting a signature win against No. 17 UCLA on Friday. The Bruins won 65-61, taking advantage of the Huskies' offensive problems.

Washington hasn't been ranked nationally since 2003 when it was 25th.

"After a tough loss on Friday, we showed up and were ready to go from the tip," said McGuff, whose team led by 10 at halftime. "That was going to be important in this game that we didn't have the 'UCLA hangover.' "

UW split games with USC (8-15, 5-7) this season and is fourth in the Pac-12 standings. Washington plays its next four games on the road, beginning at Oregon (3-21, 1-11) on Friday.

"We had a good weekend when you critique (it) with our standards," Davis said. "Even though we came up with a loss, UCLA had to take that from us. We didn't just give it away. This USC game, I'm glad we bounced back. It shows how tough we are mentally and physically."

USC 58
min fgm-a ftm-a or-t a pf pts
Marinacci 27 1-6 0-2 1-8 3 3 2
Harberts 40 6-17 3-5 4-8 3 4 16
Vaioletama 15 1-1 0-0 1-2 1 0 2
Barrett 19 0-2 0-0 0-2 2 0 0
Alofaituli 23 2-5 0-0 3-3 1 1 4
Calhoun 12 4-6 0-0 1-1 0 3 8
Bradley 29 4-7 0-0 0-3 1 2 11
Crook 35 5-15 2-4 0-6 6 1 15
200 23-59 5-11 10-38 17 14 58
Percentages: FG .390, FT .455. Three-point goals: 7-19 (Harberts 1-4, Barrett 0-1, Bradley 3-6, Crook 3-8). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 4 (Vaioletama, Alofaituli 2, Bradley). Turnovers: 15 (Marinacci 2, Harberts 2, Barrett 3, Alofaituli 3, Calhoun, Bradley, Crook 3). Steals: 3 (Barrett, Bradley, Crook).
WASHINGTON 61
min fgm-a ftm-a or-t a pf pts
Walton 35 6-13 0-0 1-9 1 3 13
Williams 38 3-7 2-2 4-11 0 2 8
Wetmore 33 2-5 2-2 1-6 5 2 6
Kingma 38 3-14 1-2 1-1 3 0 8
Davis 37 8-17 6-6 0-2 2 0 24
Gilling 4 0-0 2-2 0-1 0 0 2
Corral 12 0-4 0-0 0-0 0 2 0
Anderson 3 0-1 0-0 1-3 0 0 0
200 22-61 13-14 10-37 11 9 61
Percentages: FG .361, FT .929. 3-point goals: 4-25 (Walton 1-7, Williams 0-1, Kingma 1-8, Davis 2-6, Corral 0-3). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 3 (Walton 2, Williams). Turnovers: 11 (Walton 2, Wetmore, Kingma 2, Davis 6). Steals: 8 (Walton 2, Williams 3, Wetmore 3).
USC 28 30 58
Washington 38 23 61

Attendance: 2,441. Officials: Charles Gonzalez, Penny Davis, Eric Larson.

Pac-12 women
Conf. Overall
W L W L
Stanford 11 1 22 2
California 11 1 21 2
UCLA 10 2 19 4
Washington 9 3 17 6


BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES
UWs Aminah Williams pulls a rebound away from USC's Cassie Harberts. The Huskies wore pink uniforms in honor of the "Play 4 Kay" initiative to raise breast cancer awareness.




BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES
USC's Ariya Crook passes under pressure from Washington's Aminah Williams, left, and Heather Corral, right, in the second half of Sunday's Pac-12 game.




BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Aminah Williams gives a shout to teammate Talia Walton as the Huskies celebrate their 61-58 victory.




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