MORAGA, Calif. – Half good, half bad for openers.
The Washington women’s basketball team led by nine points at halftime of its season opener at St. Mary’s, but the Gaels came storming back for a 91-81 victory, propelled by 57 percent second-half shooting.
The rally by St. Mary’s spoiled the head-coaching debut for UW’s Mike Neighbors.
Washington freshman Kelsey Plum had a fantastic start to her career. The 5-foot-9 guard scored her team’s first eight points in the first 74 seconds, and her second three-pointer in that span gave the Huskies an 8-2 lead.
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The Huskies never trailed in the first half and finished the first 20 minutes with a 7-2 run in the final 92 seconds to take a 47-38 halftime lead.
The Gaels took their first lead of the game with 12:15 remaining on a Danielle Mauldin layup. Washington responded with an 8-0 run to take a 65-58 lead. Heather Corral finished the Washington run with her fifth three-pointer of the game.
The Huskies extended their lead to 73-63 with 8:01 remaining, but it was all St. Mary’s after that as the Gaels finished on a 28-8 run.
Washington missed its top returning player during part of St. Mary’s game-deciding run as junior guard Jazmine Davis was knocked out of the game with a blow to the head.
Jackie Nared of St. Mary’s finished with 37 points on 14-of-19 shooting, and played all 40 minutes.
Plum had 23 points and four assists, but she cooled quickly after the fast start and was 7 of 21 from the field, including 3 of 10 from three-point range. Davis also had 23 points on 8-of-18 shooting, and Corral had 15.
Mercedes Wetmore had a well-rounded game for the Huskies, with eight points, six assists and five rebounds.
From team reports