Seconds moved like minutes.
But Washington didn’t flinch against No. 3 Stanford in its work to cement an eventual 87-82 upset — the biggest one by the UW women’s basketball program in nearly 25 years.
There certainly were nervous moments Sunday afternoon as UW forwards Talia Walton and Aminah Williams missed two free throws each and Chantel Osahor was called for a five-second violation as she tried to inbound the ball. An 85-73 Washington lead with 50 seconds left in the game was cut to 85-82 with eight seconds left after All-American forward Chiney Ogwumike made the second of two free throws.
“That’s the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life,” said Washington freshman Kelsey Plum, who fouled out of the game with 1:39 left after scoring a game-high 23 points.
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“I was grabbing people’s knees and elbows and biting towels,” Plum continued of the final minute. “But we had a type of silent confidence that we earned that game and we were not going to give it away in the last minute.”
Knowing Stanford was scrambling to get the ball back with eight seconds left and that Williams had the quickest foot speed and best free throw shooting percentage of the players on the court, UW senior Mercedes Wetmore called an audible.
Wetmore inbounded her pass long, Williams chasing it down court. Ogwumike ripped at Williams’ jersey, getting called for the Flagrant 1 foul.
Williams stepped to the line with 4.6 seconds left to make a pair of free throws that closed out a long-awaited win. It was the highest-ranked opponent the Huskies (13-10, 6-6 Pac-12) had beaten since winning against No. 2 Stanford in 1990. It was also the first time Washington had beaten the Cardinal since 2005, a span of 14 meetings.
Stanford hadn’t lost a road game against a Pac-12 opponent in a string of 62 matchups.
The only thing missing was Washington’s season-high crowd of 2,797 fans didn’t storm the Alaska Airlines Arena court to celebrate with the players.
“They aren’t age-eligible,” said Plum, alluding to the women’s crowds being more a mix of families and retired workers than rowdy UW students.
“I don’t think they could storm the court if they wanted to,” added Walton. “That’s OK. We love them to death and they killed us with hugs. We’ll take that over them risking themselves.”
Many in the crowd were around when the Stanford matchup was actually a rivalry in the 1990s. As UW’s program faltered, Stanford became a conference bully, and the Cardinal was winning Pac-12 games this season by an average of 19.3 points.
Washington’s 87 points was its most this season, topping the 85 it had in a loss to Oregon two weeks ago. And Stanford allowed its most points of the season, the previous high coming in an 87-77 win over Colorado in January.
The Cardinal (22-2, 11-1) allowed five Huskies to score in double digits, Williams finishing with 16 points and 11 rebounds. The last team to pull that feat against the Cardinal was Baylor in an 81-65 Bears win on Nov. 16, 2008.
Ogwumike led Stanford with 23 points and 14 rebounds while junior Mikaela Ruef had career-highs in points (14) and rebounds (22).
“We didn’t defend worth a lick,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “We were just outplayed.”
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @JaydaEvans.