The long wait to play another home game ended Friday night for the Washington women’s basketball team.
The Huskies’ long stretch without a win continued despite their best efforts against an Oregon team coming off a 13-point win over the national-power Connecticut Huskies.
The Huskies from Montlake, playing at home for the first time since Dec. 21, gave the Ducks a better game than the more celebrated East Coast Huskies, but Oregon prevailed 68-61 at Alaska Airlines Arena.
The game was in the balance with a couple of minutes remaining, but Oregon capitalized on a flurry of late turnovers to pull away at the end.
“It was amazing to be back with our fans,” Washington coach Tina Langley said. “You could feel the energy in the building. “
The Huskies gave the fans reason to be excited, staying right with the Ducks until the end.
“I thought it was a great challenge and both teams battled,” Langley said.
The game turned after a Husky timeout with 2:22 remaining and Oregon ahead 57-56. The Ducks stole the inbounds pass and converted it into a layup and a three-point lead.
“That inbounds play was on me,” Langley said. “I felt that I could have called a better play.”
The Huskies closed to 59-57 with a free throw, but it was all the Ducks after that, with a pair of UW turnovers leading to four more points.
Washington (5-6, 0-3 Pac-12) lost its third straight game after a COVID-19 outbreak interrupted its season.
The Huskies ended the nonconference slate on a three-game winning streak, then had its first four Pac-12 games postponed because of COVID protocols. UW finally returned to action last weekend after a 3 1/2-week break, losing at USC and UCLA.
Oregon (11-5, 3-1) came into the game on a three-game winning streak, including a win against then-No. 7 Arizona before the victory vs. No. 9 Connecticut.
The Ducks didn’t have a letdown from those victories, but the win wasn’t easy against a spirited Washington team that played with great energy.
The Huskies fell behind by six points early in the third quarter, but with an enthusiastic crowd helping bring energy, the Huskies rallied to tie the score at 43 with 3:28 left in the period.
Oregon didn’t waver, coming back to take a 51-47 heading to the fourth quarter.
Washington took a 53-52 lead early in fourth quarter and had several more chanced to lead again but could not convert.
The first half was tight from the start. The biggest lead in the first 20 minutes for both teams was five points. But Oregon finished the second quarter on a 9-0 run — after UW had gone on an 8-0 run — to take a 34-30 lead at halftime.
Oregon guard Endyia Rogers scored 14 first-half points, shooting 5 of 8 from the field. The rest of the Ducks were 8 of 24.
Missy Peterson had 13 first-half points for UW and Lauren Schwartz had 10 points and was 4 of 5 from the field.
Rogers finished with 23 points to lead Oregon.
UW was led by Schwartz, who had 18 points, five rebounds and four assists.
“I am pretty proud of us because of our growth,” said Schwartz, the transfer from Rice who tied her season-high in points.
Center Nancy Mulkey had 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, five rebounds, three blocked shots and three assists for UW. Peterson had 15 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Both Langley and Schwartz said the Huskies can take positives from the game.
“Today, you saw more flow, and on the defensive end especially,” Langley said.
Washington returns to action Sunday for a noon game against Oregon State at Alaska Airlines.
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