The Huskies gave a valiant effort, but were unable to stave off humongous center Teaira McCowan. There was no defending or stopping McCowan in the paint; she wore Chantel Osahor down. By the fourth quarter Osahor had nothing left, and then McCowan went off. McCowan’s size was the difference in the game. It was ridiculous.
The Huskies came out of the gate hot. Plum started the game with a 3pt shot, which was answered immediately. Then McDonald hit two 3pt shots in a row. The Huskies were accurate and MSU was missing shots. UW had a decent lead at the end of the first, 20-13.
At 3:22 Plum made two free throws, and in doing so broke the career record for free throws. The record was 33 years old. I suspect that it will be just as long before it is broke again.
The second quarter was when MSU started to really heat up and making baskets. They brought Victoria Vivians off the bench and she was posting up Plum most of the quarter. Vivians scored 9 points coming off the bench and Plum was unable to stop her. MSU went on a 25-9 run in the second quarter to take the lead 38-29 going into halftime. The Huskies were ineffective in keeping McCowan and Chinwe Okorie off the offensive boards, and the second chance opportunities were devastating.
The Huskies came out of halftime re-energized. They were able to score and rebound effectively. It was looking positive; the Huskies won the third quarter 21-10 and ended with a 50-48 lead going into the fourth quarter. It was like a great boxing match, with both teams going hard at each other. Lots of physical play, and toward the end it was apparent that the Huskies were starting to lose their legs. MSU has 10 starters, and they rotate their players regularly. The Huskies did not have that number of bench players to rotate in. In truth only Heather Corral and Hannah Johnson came off the bench and they played 10 and 11 minutes respectively. This was coming down to who could wear out whom first.
The Huskies lost the battle.
Watching the fourth quarter was like watching Rocky IV when Drago was beating Apollo to death. McCowan beat the Huskies to death. Osahor was exhausted and it appeared that she was the only one slightly capable of stoping the 6-7 behemoth. In the fourth quarter alone McCowan had 20 points, four blocked shots, and seven rebounds.
I will admit to some serious frustration watching this game. The Dawgs gave everything they had, and ran themselves into the ground. I was yelling at the TV for Neighbors to put in Strother. Just to give it a try. Something.
Plum ended the game with 29 points, 3-8 from 3pt and 10-25 from the field. Osahor ended the game with 17 points, 1-5 from 3pt and 7-16 from the field, and had 11 rebounds. Another double-double. Our bench production was zero, whereas the MSU bench scored 23 points.
Not exactly the finish we wished for the Huskies, but it was a great season. So much was accomplished and we learned more about true dedication and will.
This Husky team changed women’s basketball, and gave Seattle the great team it has been desperate for. And although we are losing two of the best players to ever wear the Husky uniform, the future looks bright. I look forward to a new Husky team that continues to bring excellence to Washington Basketball.