Arizona completes first sweep in Washington
Since the inception of the Pacific 10 Conference in 1979, the UA women's basketball team has traveled to Seattle but never returned home victorious. On Saturday, senior guard Lisa Griffith gave Wildcats 21 reasons to forget about the last 21 years, as she hit seven 3-pointers en route to a 96-85 victory over Washington.
Arizona's victory over the Huskies completed the sweep over the Washington schools after they downed Washington State (3-11, 0-4) 83-68 on Thursday.
"Our main focus on the weekend was to go up and sweep because we've never done it before," Griffith said. "So I am very pleased that we were able to accomplish that."
Griffith's seven 3-pointers matched her own school record and her 26 total points helped guide her to being named Pac-10 player of the week. She credits her teammates with helping her make those shots, though.ŠT
"Washington was trying to double up on our posts, so they gave up the outside shot and since they did that, I was going to make them pay for that," Griffith said. "The posts helped me out in hitting those shots."
Accompanying Griffith in double digits against Washington was senior forward Angela Lackey, who scored 24, and senior guard Felecity Willis who added 15 points.
Though Arizona (14-2 overall, 3-1 Pacific 10) nearly notched 100 points, the team is trying to focus more on defense.
"When you are scoring like we are, 96 points against Washington, you are giving the team more possessions as well, but you still have to keep your focus on the defensive end," associate head coach Denise Dove-Ianello said.
"That's the number one thing that we are trying to work on, because when you are trying to compete in the Pac-10, you always have to be improving defensively."
UA's offensive threat was in sync against the Huskies (5-11, 1-3), Dove-Ianello added.
"During that game, we just were really in an offensive rhythm. We could go inside, outside, we really shared the ball and did a good job looking for shots," Dove-Ianello said. "Also, we did a great job crashing the boards again, our presses were effective, it was an overall good game."
The game on Saturday was a homecoming for senior forward Tatum Brown, who hails from nearby Tacoma, Wash.
"It was really exciting playing in Washington. I think that I had 40-50 people there watching me," Brown said. " I had a lot of friends and family there to cheer me on, so it was great that they were there to see me play back in my home state."
Entering the weekend, head coach Joan Bonvicini said one of the team's main focal points had to be jumping out to a lead and then maintaining that lead.
Griffith said that the team was able to do that by keeping their cool when playing in front a raucous crowd.
"This weekend, we kept our composure pretty good because playing on the road can sometimes be really tough," Griffith said. "It is all in the mentality. We have the athletes to do it, but we just have the mind set to do it."
Brown led Arizona over the Cougars Thursday with 18 points and nine rebounds in a game where Washington State surprised the Wildcats by opening the game with a 17-4 lead.
"Washington State jumped on us early on in the game, and it surprised us," Dove-Ianello said. "We tookover though because we remained poised and knew what we had to do to get ourselves back into the ballgame. I think we really took advantage of their lack of height and size and we pounded the ball inside. We took high percentage shots and did a good job crashing the boards."