Dominique Banks woke up to an early phone call yesterday morning and refused to go back to sleep. Music pumped out of her laptop speakers. Feet paced across the floor. Sounds blared from the...
Dominique Banks woke up to an early phone call yesterday morning and refused to go back to sleep.
Music pumped out of her laptop speakers. Feet paced across the floor. Sounds blared from the television across the hall. Later, in the locker room, teammates were telling Banks to sit down. To calm down.
She didn’t know what to make of it, but last night felt like her breakthrough night. And by the end of it, after Colorado escaped Edmundson Pavilion with a sigh-of-relief win, 76-74 in overtime in front of 2,935, Banks looked no worse for the missing Z’s.
“She has a spunky personality,” UW forward Jill Bell said. “She was a little spunkier today.”
By the end of the game, after Colorado blew a seven-point lead with just over a minute remaining in regulation, then fell behind in overtime, then won the game on a layup with 1.9 seconds left, it was the Huskies who could use a few Z’s of their own.
What a nonconference schedule they played. Trips to Michigan, Utah, Denver and No. 7 Notre Dame. Home dates with No. 14 Minnesota, Alabama and No. 6 Baylor, among others.
A nonconference schedule coach June Daugherty boasted was “more competitive than anybody’s in the Pac-10” when it concluded. But where does that leaves these Huskies as they head into Pac-10 play against two Arizona schools that have spent time in the Top 25?
It leaves them at 4-6, losers of five of their past six games, the first losing nonconference record for UW since the 1999-2000 team. It finished 8-22.
“It’s the end of the preseason,” Bell said. “We have a second season left to play.”
The Huskies haven’t exactly thrived in the second half this season. Again, they took a lead into the break. Again, that lead dissipated behind missed shots and more missed shots.
In an attempt to awaken the offense from its slumber, Daugherty shook her lineup up last night. Gone were usual starting forwards Bell and Breanne Watson. In were point guard Emily Florence, shifting Kristen O’Neill to power forward, and forward Maggie O’Hara.
The moves changed the Huskies’ look, but they didn’t change their offense. Oh, no, these Huskies could still clank shots in bulk. They missed four of their first 17 shots from the floor, which would be an alarming stat if it didn’t happen with alarming regularity.
Yet they still led at the break 33-28, still outrebounded the taller Buffaloes 25-19. Colorado coach Ceal Barry said she felt her team could score at will inside in the second half. It nearly did.
Buoyed by the inside presence of Jackie McFarland and Kara Richards and the driving slashes of Veronica Johns-Richardson, the Buffaloes took a 66-59 lead with 1:11 left. They missed five of six free throws, though, while Banks nailed a jumper, Kayla Burt drained a three-pointer, Watson made a free throw and Bell knocked down the tying jump shot with 2.4 seconds left.
“Clearly, we had a chance to win the game in regulation,” Barry said, eyes rolling. “We should have sealed it off free throws alone. Inside, it was like, ‘Could we hit a free throw?’ “
While Colorado struggled at the foul line, the Huskies struggled making any shots, hitting 33.7 percent overall and 15.4 percent from long range. They took the lead early in overtime, 69-67, but lost when McFarland scored on a driving layin near the buzzer and Banks’ desperation half-court shot clanged off the front iron.
“Ah,” Banks lamented afterward, “a little short.”
This still served as her breakthrough game, though, as Banks notched career highs in points (19), rebounds (six) and assists (four). She didn’t move into the starting lineup this game, but with the Huskies starting their fifth different lineup this season, she could be next in line.
Provided she gets up early, of course.
“She’s fearless,” Daugherty said. “It’s nice to see her have a game like this. I’m sorry we weren’t able to get the win.”
Attendance: 2,935. Officials: Clarke Stevens, Mazetta Garrett, Michael Price.Technical fouls: Colorado-None. Washington-None.
Greg Bishop: 206-464-3191 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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