The Huskies (19-9 overall) are 10-7 in the Pac-12 entering Saturday’s regular-season finale against last-place Colorado. The Pac-12 tournament then returns to KeyArena next week.

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The Huskies, coach Mike Neighbors believed, entered the final week of the regular season comfortably in the NCAA women’s tournament field. He would know: For the past 15 years, the Washington coach has done meticulous research and kept detailed records on teams throughout the country, and said he usually projects most, if not all, of the NCAA field correctly.

His projection for his own team continues to look impressively prescient.

After a sluggish start Thursday night at home, Washington surged past Utah, 73-60, to further boost its NCAA tournament portfolio.

According to Neighbors’ research, it was the Huskies’ 11th win over a team ranked in the top 100 of the RPI this season; only three other teams in the nation have that many top-100 wins.

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The Huskies (19-9 overall) are 10-7 in the Pac-12 entering Saturday’s regular-season finale against last-place Colorado. The Pac-12 tournament then returns to KeyArena next week.

“I think 10 wins in the toughest conference in the (nation) this year, that speaks volumes to the quality of our league and how well we’ve played in it,” Neighbors said.

Thursday’s win did come with an uncomfortable scare late when junior star Kelsey Plum — just moments after breaking her own school record for points in a season — squatted underneath the basket in the final minute after absorbing a hard foul. The announced crowd of 1,733 at Alaska Airlines Arena went silent as teammates huddled around Plum, who after a few moments accepted some help to her feet and then sank her 10th and 11th free throws (on 12 attempts) of the night.

She finished with 26 points to give her 750 points overall this season, eclipsing the 746 she scored last year. Afterward, when told of the record, she acted genuinely unaware of (and unaffected by) it. She shrugged it off, then mumbled, “Time to break it next year, too.”

In good time, perhaps.

For as well as Plum played in the second half, the Huskies overcame their slow start largely because of the presence of senior Talia Walton at the top of UW’s 2-3 zone defense.

UW trailed 17-9 late in the first quarter before Walton scored 11 points and stole three passes as part of a 17-2 run.

“She saved us right there,” Neighbors said.

In the penultimate game of her UW career, Walton finished with 20 points, six rebounds and those three steals. She deflected several other passes as part of the Huskies’ improved defensive effort, holding Utah to 33.8 percent shooting overall (23 of 68).

“We just came out flat,” Walton said. “And being a senior, they really put a lot of pressure on me for those types of things, to make sure I can lead by example. … We wanted to make sure we were playing harder, and defense was how we were going to get it done.”

Just as impressive, UW post players Chantel Osahor (18 points, 14 rebounds) and Katie Collier (nine rebounds) more than held their own inside against Utah’s 6-foot-6 Emily Potter, who dominated in the Utes’ victory over UW in Salt Lake City in early January.

It’s that type of balanced performance that has Neighbors — and his players — excited about the possibilities as the postseason approaches.

“There’s something about this time of the year, stuff we’ve talked about (since) October and November that we want to accomplish,” Walton said. “Now it’s finally here. It doesn’t stress us out any. It really fuels the fire.”