SEATTLE (AP) — Shaina Pellington scored 10 points, Sam Thomas hit a game-breaking 3-pointer with a minute left, and No. 8 Arizona beat Washington 51-42 on Friday night.
The Wildcats (19-4, 9-4 Pac-12) held the Huskies (5-14, 0-11) scoreless for more than 10 minutes in the middle of the game to retire in a game marred by offensive struggles and reversals. It was Washington’s 11th straight loss, all in conference.
“I think from now on we just want to focus on the wins and do whatever it takes to win them,” Thomas said. “It won’t always be pretty, but I’m very glad we got this one. You don’t want to lose a team that’s never won a (conference) game before.
Arizona struggled mightily on offense, setting a season low by scoring on 19 of 51 shots. The previous low came in a 55-53 win over Oregon State in January. Despite their offensive struggles, the Wildcats built an uncomfortable lead that held off the Huskies with a stifling defense late in the first half.
Arizona held Washington scoreless for the final 9:27 minutes before halftime, with the Huskies going 0-for-9 and turning the ball over seven times during the period. The Wildcats had 10 interceptions in the game, paced by Helena Pueyo’s four, and forced 22 turnovers. Gisela Sanchez added eight points for Arizona.
Washington trailed 16-7 at halftime, setting a new team record for fewest points in a half. The previous low of eight came against Arizona State in 2009.
“My philosophy is if you don’t score, don’t let the other team score,” said Arizona coach Adia Barnes, who spent 14 years in Seattle as a WNBA Storm member and coach. of high school.
UW’s Nancy Mulkey scored 52 seconds into the second half to end the scoreless drought and cut the lead to 16-9, but Arizona responded with an 8-0 run and held the Huskies scoreless for another 3:13 on the way to a 24-9 lead.
Arizona couldn’t pull away, however. Barnes said the Huskies “punched us in the face” late. Mulkey hit a 3 and scored five straight on an 8-0 run to cut it to 41-37 with 1:24 to go.
“They got confident, but it’s our fault because we allowed them to,” Barnes said.
Thomas closed it with his 3 from the top of the key with 1:03 to go. Mulkey scored 13 for UW and Missy Peterson added seven.
“They shot like we shot, and I think they’re two great defensive teams that are really fighting today,” UW coach Tina Langley said. “The second quarter, you could feel our frustration the most offensively, I thought. … But I’m proud of the way we defend.
Arizona: As ugly as it may have been, victory will be key for the Wildcats heading into the playoffs. Arizona started the weekend a half game behind second-ranked Oregon in the conference standings, and the Wildcats will face Washington State, the team directly behind them in the standings, on Sunday in Pullman.
Washington: The Huskies played a winning defense in the game, but their offensive struggles continue to mar Langley’s first season.
Arizona: Goes to Washington State on Sunday.
Washington: Hosts Arizona State on Sunday.
More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP—High25
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.