Washington shoots Trojans' lights out, advance to face Oregon

Posted: Monday, March 18, 2002

SEATTLE -- Giuliana Mendiola is sure the Washington Huskies will shoot just as brilliantly in three days as they did Sunday against Southern California.

She's sure they will have no choice.

Oregon comes to town for the quarterfinals of the women's NIT only 18 days after embarrassing Washington in the Pac-10 tournament.

Mendiola had 18 points and five assists, and the Huskies shot 10-of-19 from 3-point range, in Sunday's 97-87 victory over Southern Cal in the second round of the women's NIT.

The Huskies will host Oregon at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The Ducks beat Oregon State in the final seconds 50-48 on Sunday.

Mendiola remembers too well the last time Washington played Oregon. It was one of the Huskies' worst games of the season. They shot 31 percent, making just 22 of 70 field goals in a 78-64 loss in the Pac-10 tournament.

''I'm excited to play them,'' she said. ''I was disappointed they knocked us off in their house. We definitely remember what happened last time and we'll be ready this time. We couldn't hit a rock in the ocean.''

Loree Payne also scored 18 points Sunday for Washington (19-11), which was playing Southern Cal for the third time this season. The Huskies won the two previous games by a total of seven points.

The win was the 100th for head coach June Daugherty at Washington, and it came against the school's former coach, Chris Gobrecht.

''We're in the elite eight of the NIT,'' Daugherty said. ''Our team is playing very well right now. How fun was that? It was exciting to see us share the ball.''

Aisha Hollans scored a career-high 34 points on 14-of-21 shooting and had five assists and four rebounds for Southern Cal. Ebony Hoffman added 25 points, seven assists and eight rebounds for the Women of Troy, who ended their season 16-14. Both players were named to the Pac-10's first team.

These teams are accustomed to playing close games, but it didn't happen this time. Washington's 3-point shooting was too good and the Huskies' swarming defense in the paint made it difficult for USC's post players much of the game.

''They were just really, really good,'' Hollans said. ''They're always good."

every time we play them, but I think they were just a little more focused and they wanted this game really bad.''

The last three meetings between the teams in Seattle had gone to overtime, including Washington's 80-79 win Jan. 6. The Huskies won the second meeting 69-63 on Feb. 1 in Los Angeles.

On Sunday, Payne was 4-of-6 from 3-point range for Washington, which has won nine of 12. Sarah Keeler matched her career-high with 12 points, Andrea Lalum had 12 points and six rebounds and Emily Autrey added 11 points for Washington.

''I thought they shot the lights out and we were tired,'' Gobrecht said. ''That's a tough combination. When they shoot like that it's tough for anybody to beat them.''

The Huskies forced 21 turnovers, including 13 in the first half. Gobrecht noted that Washington has a huge advantage in not having to travel for the tournament.

''You can't look at something like this and give it a whole lot of validity. You've got teams like ourselves going back and forth in airplanes doing craziness like that. Then you have other teams just parked at home playing over and over again.''

Mendiola, held out the first half of Washington's first-round win over North Texas on Thursday for violating a team policy, shot 7-for-13 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the free throw line.

The Huskies used an 11-2 run midway through the opening half to break the game open. The spurt featured a play in which Mendiola and her sister, Gioconda, executed consecutive behind-the-back passes that led to a basket by Lalum.

Payne's 3-pointer 5:38 before halftime made it 32-17 and the Huskies kept the momentum for a 47-34 halftime lead.

USC's Jessica Cheeks was whistled for a technical foul with 1:35 left in the half for spiking the ball downcourt after fouling Washington's Kayla Burt. Cheeks scored seven points before fouling out with 7:01 left.

The teams combined to shoot 2 of 11 with five turnovers in the first four minutes. But Washington went on to shoot 54.8 percent in the first half to Southern Cal's 45.2.

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