The Washington women lost 70-69 to Oregon for the same reasons they fell short in their biggest games during the season — the supporting cast didn’t deliver offensively.

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The early exit from the Pac-12 tournament isn’t going to push Mike Neighbors to drastically alter the philosophy that’s been the guiding principle for the Washington women’s basketball team.

The Huskies coach has placed a lot of trust and responsibility in Kelsey Plum and Chantel Osahor and in return they’ve carried the team to a 96-40 record (.706) during their careers, which is tied for the fourth-most wins in UW history during a four-year span.

This season, Washington has won 27 games, one shy of the school record.

The UW stars played their roles magnificently during Friday’s 70-69 loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 quarterfinals.

Osahor collected 27 rebounds, which shattered the previous tournament record of 21, while Plum finished with 34 points — three shy of the tourney record.

Still, the Huskies lost for the same reasons they fell short in their biggest games during the season — the supporting cast didn’t deliver offensively.

Plum and Osahor totaled 46 points, which is one fewer than their combined season scoring averages.

Meanwhile, Washington received 21 points from the other starters — freshman guard Aarion McDonald had 10 — and the bench was held scoreless.

“If we would have gotten this or that from anybody, then you’re right things probably would have been different,” Neighbors said. “But I know this, I’ll take all of those shots that those kids got. We want them taking those shots.”

Neighbors has given the green light to guards Natalie Romeo and McDonald, who combined to convert just 3 of 14 three-pointers.

Romeo, who made 10 three-pointers and scored 32 points on Jan. 27 against California, has struggled at times to find the rim. She’s failed to score in four of the past 10 games.

“Kelsey and Chantel put so much pressure on the defense and it’s our job when we get open to hit shots,” McDonald said. “They’re going to do their jobs. They always do. … When we get other people going, we can beat anybody.”

Against Oregon, Romeo finished with just six points and senior forward Katie Collier added five points and one rebound in 21 minutes.

“We didn’t shoot the ball from three (5 of 24) like we normally do. We didn’t hit as many free throws (6 of 11) like we do,” Neighbors said. “We didn’t get going early enough and Kelsey missed some shots late that she would love to have back. … So this wasn’t on two or three people. You can point to a lot of reasons why we lost this game.”

Neighbors, who used just six players during an Elite Eight win over Stanford last year, normally tightens the rotation in the postseason.

Against Oregon, Plum and Romeo each played 40 minutes, Osahor logged 39 and McDonald 36.

The rotation was hampered due to reserve Heather Corral being limited to four scoreless minutes because of a wrist injury.

“I just did not feel comfortable putting her back in and maybe I should have,” Neighbors said. “I don’t know. I’ll think about that one for a while.”

The Huskies (27-5) will spend this week second-guessing the what-ifs from a game in which they led by nine points in the fourth period.

Neighbors believes UW’s résumé merits at least a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament and is holding out hope for a No. 3 seed.

At any rate, the Huskies are confident they’ll host NCAA tournament opening-round games.

“We just have a one-day difference from what we did last year,” Neighbors said when asked about preparation for the Big Dance. “We had a really solid plan and it worked before and we’ll stick pretty close to that again.

“We’ll take two days’ rest and we’ll come in and knock the rust off. We’ll take a couple more days’ rest and we’ll knock the rust off. We’ll play a scrimmage. We’ll simulate (a game). We’ll put the uniforms on and turn the scoreboard on to get them going. It could be potentially a full two weeks before we lace them up and play again.”

A year ago, the Huskies needed to overcome a heartbreaking 57-55 defeat to Oregon State in the Pac-12 semifinals before winning four NCAA tourney games.

“The biggest thing this week is managing the emotions of a loss,” Neighbors said. “If we can step back and learn from this, then we’ll do what we did last year and carry that momentum in the NCAA tournament. We’ll be fine.”

Note

• Plum and Osahor are among the 15 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award. The winner will be announced April 7.

Need a little help
Washington women’s basketball duo Kelsey Plum and Chantel Osahor combine to average 47.4 points. In the Huskies’ five defeats, they average 46.2 points. However, UW’s other starters and the bench has come up short offensively in the losses. Here’s a look
Date Opponent Plum + Osahor Other starters Bench Outcome
March 3 Oregon 46 21 0 L, 70-69
Feb. 17 UCLA 55 24 0 L, 90-79
Jan. 29 Stanford 53 3 12 L, 72-68
Jan. 1 Oregon St. 44 7 19 L, 73-70
Nov. 20 Notre Dame 33 9 18 L, 71-60
Need a little help
Washington women’s basketball duo Kelsey Plum and Chantel Osahor combine to average 47.4 points. In the Huskies’ five defeats, they average 46.2 points. However, UW’s other starters and the bench have come up short offensively in the losses. Here’s a look.
Date Opponent Plum + Osahor Other starters Bench Outcome
March 3 Oregon 46 21 0 L, 70-69
Feb. 17 UCLA 55 24 0 L, 90-79
Jan. 29 Stanford 53 3 12 L, 72-68
Jan. 1 Oregon St. 44 7 19 L, 73-70
Nov. 20 Notre Dame 33 9 18 L, 71-60