SEATTLE — It wasn’t as though Washington was clueless of what it was up against Tuesday night.
Pepperdine is a veteran squad, one that returned all five starters from last year and had 10 letter-winners. The Huskies knew the Waves have a WNBA-caliber player in 5-foot-7 senior guard Daphanie Kennedy. And they knew that Pepperdine made short work of UCLA, 91-79 a week ago.
Still, the Huskies didn’t expect a 74-56 blowout at the hands of the Waves at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
“Did we expect the game to be as big a deficit? Absolutely not,” UW coach Tia Jackson said. “We had some defensive breakdowns, which continue to be a problem for us.”
Kennedy pounced on every UW defensive lapse. She finished with a game-high 33 points, hitting 13 of her 23 shots and was 5-for-11 from the 3-point line. No Husky could guard her, although most of the roster tried.
“She came out and pretty much did everything,” said UW forward Katelan Redmon, who scored a team-high 17 points and was 8-for-15 shooting. “She hit threes, pull-up jumpers, she drove all the way to the rim. She had a very nice game.”
Kennedy hit from everywhere, especially in the short time when the game was in doubt, shortly after the Star Spangled Banner. In the first half, she drilled three of seven 3-pointers and drove by hapless UW defenders for easy layups. Nineteen of her points came in the first half, when she was 8-for-13 from the floor. Too much of the time, Kennedy got open looks at the basket.
“After about the second three I hit, I was pretty surprised that I didn’t get too many hands in my face,” Kennedy said. “But it was an advantage to me, so hey …”
The Waves completely outplayed Washington, especially in the first half. They scored the game’s first seven points and quickly tore it up to a 19-9 lead on Katie Menton’s 3-pointer.
Pepperdine powered to a 39-26 advantage thanks to an 11-4 run late in the first half. The Waves, shooting 54 percent from the floor, led 44-31 at intermission. They extended the lead to as many as 29 points, 73-44, with 5:33 to play in the game.
The Waves (4-2) shot over Washington’s zone and had little difficulty piercing the Huskies’ person-to-person defense. Posts Miranda Ayim (11 points, 14 rebounds) and Teiosha George (12 points on 6-for-8 shooting) benefited from effective entry passes from Pepperdine’s guards and converted layups.
Most of all, the Waves were quicker, more athletic and played with more confidence than the young Huskies (4-5), who saw a three-game win streak end. Washington shot just 34 percent from the floor. Redmon was the only Husky to score in double figures.
“I think our athleticism did play a big part in this,” Waves coach Julie Rousseau said. “We were quick to the ball.”
The Huskies play at Boise State Friday before coming home to face Ohio State Dec. 16.