No. 24 Washington had led by 17 points in the third quarter. The Huskies squandered that in a fourth-quarter collapse that ended in a 75-63 loss before an announced crowd of 1,974 at Alaska Airlines Arena, as well as any realistic shot at the Pac-12 regular-season title.
Oregon’s players ran and skipped and danced off the court, their celebratory screams and whoops echoing in an otherwise silent arena.
The Huskies walked slowly, quietly to their usual postgame gathering at midcourt, heads down as they huddled around coach Mike Neighbors, looking dazed and damned in the wake of a stunning 75-63 loss to the Ducks.
No. 24 Washington had led by 17 points in the third quarter. The Huskies squandered that in a fourth-quarter collapse Sunday afternoon before an announced crowd of 1,974 at Alaska Airlines Arena, as well as any realistic shot of a run at the Pac-12 women’s basketball regular-season title.
After a 6-2 start in conference play, the Huskies (16-7, 7-5 Pac-12) have lost three of four, and Oregon’s comeback completed the first time UW has been swept at home during Neighbors’ three years as coach. On Friday night, the Huskies gave No. 9 Oregon State a decent fight in a 61-53 loss. There was little to like about Sunday’s loss to the Ducks, UW’s most disheartening game of the season.
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How do you explain such a setback?
“Can’t,” Neighbors said, then pausing for several beats. “I can’t.”
The lost weekend precedes UW’s most daunting stretch of the season, with four consecutive road games on the horizon, including games at No. 15 UCLA and No. 8 Arizona State. Neighbors called his team together for a brief team meeting in the locker room after Sunday’s loss, and said he has “zero” concern the loss would linger.
“We’ve got to stay together,” UW junior post Chantel Osahor said. “We’re in a good place in the conference. … It’s a tough loss, but there’s a lot of tough losses. We’ll be fine.”
The Huskies opened Sunday’s game on a 16-3 run in the game’s first six minutes, and by that point Oregon star forward Jillian Alleyne was already saddled on the bench with two fouls. Alleyne, the Pac-12’s all-time rebounding leader, was held scoreless in 10 first-half minutes as the Huskies built a 33-19 halftime lead.
Coming off a 25-point, 14-rebound performance in Oregon’s victory at Washington State on Friday, Alleyne picked up two more fouls in the first 88 seconds of the third quarter, and soon after Osahor’s three-pointer pushed the Huskies’ lead to 36-19.
Without Alleyne, the Ducks flooded the floor with shooters. And they didn’t miss much in the second half, going 10 for 15 from three-point range, shooting 58 percent overall in the second half and outscoring UW 56-30 in the third and fourth quarters.
With the score tied at 51, the turning point came at the 6:40 mark of the second quarter when officials called UW’s Alexus Atchley for a flagrant foul after elbowing Oregon’s Lexi Bando in the face. Bando, pressing Atchley near midcourt, was initially called for a reach-in foul on the play, but after a video review officials changed their call and awarded Bando two free throws and gave Oregon possession.
“(Officials) said it was obviously not a basketball play. They thought (Atchley) was intentionally trying to make a flagrant foul,” Neighbors said. “I’ve known ‘Lex’ for four years and there’s not a flagrant bone in that kid’s body.”
Things unraveled in a hurry for the Huskies after that. Bando hit the first of two free throws to give Oregon its first lead at 52-51, and she added a three-pointer a minute later as part of a 20-4 run for the Ducks.
Tensions were high, as both Neighbors and Chantel were hit with technical fouls in the fourth quarter, helping Oregon pad its lead.
“We obviously reached a level of frustration a little bit, and it all kind of snowballed into that,” Neighbors said.
Alleyne, who came into the game averaging 19.5 points and 18 rebounds in her career against the Huskies, was held to nine points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes. But the Huskies’ attempts to defend Oregon’s perimeter shooters were mostly ineffective.
“Credit them for sticking in there and making adjustments without their best player — maybe one of the best to ever play in our league,” Neighbors said. “So a lot of credit to them. They’re a good team. In the beginning of the year, I told y’all Oregon is (an NCAA) tournament team.”
|Kelsey Plum needs less than 200 points to become UW’s career scoring leader.|
|Sunday’s resultsUtah 76, Colorado 68Oregon St. 54, Washington St. 45Oregon 75, Washington 63UCLA 73, Arizona 39Arizona St. 69, USC 68|