Washington’s comeback falls short against Stanford

  • John Sleeper / Herald Writer
  • Saturday, January 19, 2002 9:00pm
  • Sports

By John Sleeper

Herald Writer

SEATTLE – It was not unlike Lucy pulling away the football at the last minute, sending Charlie Brown sprawling on his back yet again.

The cool, poised, fourth-ranked Stanford Cardinal tantalized the Washington Huskies by twice letting big leads plummet to five points. But the Cardinal finally put the Huskies away 75-67 Saturday in a Pacific-10 Conference women’s basketball game with what observers are used to seeing from Stanford teams.

Washington guard Loree Payne sent the 5,672 at Hec Edmundson Pavilion into convulsions with two straight 3-pointers to pull the Huskies to within a 68-63 deficit with 2:10 left in the game. But Stanford’s Lindsey Yamasaki, an elegant, gutsy senior guard, took over in the last two minutes with a jumper in the lane, a fastbreak layup and a pair of free throws to close it out for the Cardinal.

“I think it’s something I need to look to do more,” said Yamasaki, who led the Cardinal (8-0 Pac-10, 18-1 overall) with 19 points. “I was getting a lot of those shots early in the game and I was pulling up a little too soon. I was in traffic, kind of off balance. Down at the end, I knew I needed to get inside, keep penetrating and I knew they’d fall for me.”

Yamasaki scored eight points in the last 2:48, all of which were crucial. Washington had trailed by as many as 17 points in the second half, 16 with five minutes remaining, but the Cardinal showed ample reason why it has sailed through Pac-10 play so far. It wasn’t Stanford’s best game of the season, but it was just good enough.

“We can play better,” Stanford coach Tara VanderVeer ominously said.

On the other hand, Washington fought back from large deficits, mostly by forcing Stanford into 21 turnovers, five above its average, and asserting itself on the boards after a shaky start.

“We knew we couldn’t come out and take out the 17-point lead right away,” Payne said. “We knew we had to work it possession by possession.”

Washington’s second rally in the second half started with the Huskies down 66-50 with five minutes remaining. Payne scored eight points (she finished with a team-high 19) and the Huskies forced four Stanford turnovers in a 2:50 stretch in which Washington went on a 13-2 roll.

“I was really proud of the way we played,” said UW coach June Daugherty, whose team fell to 5-4 in conference play, 10-8 overall. “I thought we came out with enormous character and poise coming out that second half and being down 17. It was a huge test mentally for what our team was going to do.”

But then Yamasaki, sixth in the conference in scoring going into the game at 15.8 points a contest, took over.

Stanford, which took a 40-23 lead at the half, blew the game open with a 16-2 run that gave it a 28-14 advantage with 6:40 left in the first half. In that time, the Cardinal eschewed their vaunted 3-point attack and instead pounded the ball inside.

Chief mischief-maker was Cory Enghusen, a 6-foot-7 reserve center whom the Stanford wings found underneath for easy layups. Enghusen, a senior from Inglemoor High School, even beat the Huskies down the floor on one occasion for a fastbreak layup.

“When they brought their big lineup in, Cori was a big difference-maker,” Daugherty said. “It was very tough for us to extend our zone as far as we wanted on their 3-point shooters with Enghusen on the inside, one-on-one.”

Stanford also pushed the Huskies around for rebounds, taking a 27-12 first-half board advantage. Seven of Stanford’s rebounds came on the offensive end, which, when it didn’t create instant second shots, created second chances for the Cardinal to set up the offense.

In the meantime, the impatient Huskies settled for jump shots and, too often, didn’t bother setting up anything resembling an offensive set. Although Washington forced the Cardinal into nine first-half turnovers, it couldn’t take advantage because of 7 of 29 shooting (24 percent) shooting from the floor.

At one point, the Huskies went without a field goal for 4 1/2minutes.

“I thought we were a little impatient and I just didn’t shoot the ball well today,” said guard Giuliana Mendiola, who finished with 11 points on 3 of 12 shooting from the floor. “We weren’t doing a very good job of looking inside.”

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