Washington had its moments. The final one being the best of redshirt freshman Talia Walton's young career. Washington, battling back from...
Washington had its moments.
The final one being the best of redshirt freshman Talia Walton’s young career.
Washington, battling back from a 19-point deficit, got a three-pointer from Walton at the top of the key with 10 seconds remaining to beat San Diego State 59-58 at Alaska Airlines Arena on Wednesday. The Aztecs got off a shot in the closing seconds, but senior forward Gabrielle Clark’s short jumper from the right side clanked off the rim.
“Clutch,” UW coach Kevin McGuff said when asked to describe Walton’s play.
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SDSU (4-3) was the bigger, NCAA-tournament experienced team. Yet, the Huskies executed a strong game plan by McGuff, the second-year coach, and displayed pure grit to clinch their fourth consecutive victory. The Huskies (6-1) are off to their best start since 2002.
All an improbable prediction when the season began with just two seniors, one in reserve Jeneva Anderson, who is playing the most minutes of her UW career this season. Only the players don’t act or play young.
When McGuff’s offensive play began to break down in the closing seconds, Walton said she screamed to point guard Jazmine Davis to give her the ball. A finesse player, Walton squared up against the SDSU double-team and let the ball fly, knowing it was going in.
“I wanted to faint,” said Walton of her emotions after the shot.
She finished with a team-high 17 points on 6-for-16 shooting from the field.
“But then I realized that we had like seven seconds left on the clock,” Walton added.
The sideline screamed for the players to get back on defense to protect the lead. Junior guard Mercedes Wetmore remembered those final seconds being exasperating.
“We were more tired yelling after Talia hit that shot than the whole game,” she said.
Washington trailed 31-23 at halftime, its leading scorers Kristi Kingma (0 for 3) and Davis (1 for 4) going colder than the Northwest weather offensively. But the Huskies didn’t wilt.
Aminah Williams, a 6-foot sophomore, lined up at center on offense against SDSU’s Malia Nahinu, who’s 6-6. Williams leapt and muscled her way to help the Huskies shrink the deficit to single digits after the Aztecs used a 17-6 run to open the second half for a 48-29 lead with 12:31 left in the game.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Walton and Davis closed the gap to 52-50 with 2:42 left. SDSU senior guard Chelsea Hopkins made consecutive layins, but UW still found itself within a possession of the lead after Walton converted a three-point play. Hopkins gave the Aztecs a 58-54 lead, but Wetmore’s jumper trimmed it to 58-56 before Walton’s big three.
It’s the Aztecs’ third loss on the road to a Pac-12 team this season.
“It’s hard,” said McGuff of the comeback that’s the largest in school history. “You get down in a deficit like that and you start looking at the scoreboard. We kinda kept playing and kept chipping away. Obviously, it’s just a terrific win.”
UW continues its three-game homestand with a rare back-to-back against UC Santa Barbara (2-5) and Idaho (2-6) on Dec. 15 and 16. McGuff said he intentionally scheduled the games to mimic tournament play.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @JaydaEvans
|SAN DIEGO STATE 58|
Percentages: FG .339, FT .833. Three-point goals: 3-12, (Clark 0-1, Nahinu 0-1, Hopkins 0-2, Clements 3-7, Long 0-1). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 3, (Clark, Nahinu 2). Turnovers: 15, (Clark, Amarikwa 3, Nahinu 3, Hopkins 7, Culberson). Steals: 4, (Amarikwa, Hopkins, Clements, Hunter).
Percentages: FG .356, FT .583. Three-point goals: 10-19, (Walton 3-7, Williams 2-3, Wetmore 1-1, Kingma 1-4, Davis 3-4). Team rebounds: 3. Blocked shots: 2, (Walton, Williams). Turnovers: 12, (Walton 2, Williams, Kingma, Davis 6, Anderson, Fortier). Steals: 8, (Walton, Williams, Wetmore, Kingma 3, Davis, Anderson).
|San Diego State||31||27||—||58|
Attendance: 1,362. Officials: Robert Scofield, Kyle Bacon, Paul Patterson. Technical fouls: San Diego State-None. Washington-None.