The chassis began to rust out weeks ago. Saturday night, the transmission dropped and the windshield shattered as the Washington State women’s basketball team was thoroughly driven off Friel Court by the University of Washington 65-45.
The final score was much closer than what the 674 spectators witnessed for most of the game. The Cougars only scored five baskets in the first half and trailed 35-12 at halftime. However, the biggest grunt wasn’t sounded because of the poor first-half shooting (5 of 22), but rather because of yet another Washington State injury.
With 17:06 left in the first half, starting forward Laura Wilder fell to the floor under the UW basket and let out a yelp heard far into the stands. The early prognosis is that Wilder, a redshirt sophomore who missed her freshman season because of knee surgery, tore her anterior cruciate ligament and also suffered cartilage damage to her right knee.
“We’re dropping like flies,” said WSU forward Amy Saneholtz. “It’s really frustrating. I don’t know what to say.”
Wilder, who averages 7.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, joined the wounded list that already includes Jennifer Kerns (wrist), Kristin Erickson (knee), Niki Castle (hip) and Cathy McNeely (appendectomy). The Cougars finished the game with eight players.
“Injuries are all part of the game,” said WSU coach Harold Rhodes, whose team dropped to 2-10 in the Pac-10 Conference and 8-13 overall. “We don’t have control over injured players, so we can’t focus on things like that.”
But even with a loaded roster, who’s to say if the Cougars could have pulled off the upset? Earlier this year at Seattle, the Huskies jumped to a quick lead and coasted to a 78-56 victory. The second meeting was much the same as UW played at an uptempo pace and found itself leading by nine points at the midway mark of the first half 16-7.
UW, which probably needs to win five of its last six games to earn an NCAA Tournament berth, improved to 12-9, 6-6.
Washington State’s best play came from point guard Jade Hyett. The 5-foot-4 sophomore scored 12 points, matching her season high. She also had six assists and six steals and is one assist short of tying the WSU single-season record (166) set by Penny Bowden in 1987-88.
Hyett also held UW’s talented guard Jamie Redd to 4-of-11 shooting for 11 points in 30 minutes of play. Redd’s 21.3 points per game ranks her third in the Pac-10. Hyett’s aggressive play resulted in her fouling out with 3:12 left in the game. While walking past the UW bench, first-year Husky coach June Daugherty gave Hyett a warm handshake.
“I respect her,” Daugherty said. “She’s a great player who always gives everything she’s got.”
On Saturday, the Huskies’ team effort was too much for the Cougs, shooting 44 percent (28 of 63) to Washington State’s 32 percent (17 of 53). WSU was outrebounded 48-31.
“We wanted to make sure that Saneholtz and (Yvonne) Kuntz didn’t come up big with 40-some points, 50-some points,” Daugherty said. “We mixed up the defenses and tried to keep the ball out of their hands and move them out of their comfort zone down low.”
Kuntz finished with 12 points and Saneholtz scored only five.
Washington 65, WSU 45
Washington (12-9) - Hall 7-11 0-2 14, Pelz 4-5 0-0 8, Rogers 2-3 0-0 4, Savasta 5-17 0-0 11, Redd 4-11 3-3 11, Kerr 0-0 0-1 0, Doxsee 0-0 0-0 0, Teel 0-2 0-0 0, Hills 0-0 0-1 0, Niemela 2-7 2-2 7, Lynch 2-4 0-0 4, Williams 0-1 0-0 0, Tuiaea 2-2 2-2 6. Totals 28-63 7-11 65.
Washington St. (8-13) - Wilder 0-0 0-0 0, Saneholtz 2-8 1-4 5, Kunze 5-12 2-3 12, Hyett 4-9 4-5 12, Smith 3-11 0-0 9, Ross 1-2 0-0 2, Evans 0-3 0-0 0, Ludwicki 1-4 1-3 3, Rubio 1-4 0-1 2. Totals 17-53 8-16 45.
Halftime-Washington 35, Washington St. 12. 3-Point goals- Washington 2-7 (Savasta 1-2, Redd 0-1, Niemela 1-4), Washington St. 3-13 (Hyett 0-2, Smith 3-9, Ludwicki 0-2). Fouled out-Hyett. Rebounds-Washington 48 (Pelz 12), Washington St. 31 (Saneholtz 9). Assists-Washington 14 (Savasta, Redd 6), Washington St. 9 (Hyett 6). Total fouls-Washington 19, Washington St. 10. A-674.
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