UW women rally to beat Oregon

SEATTLE — A normal player looks at a 22-point deficit and doubt creeps in, wondering if the game can be won. But Washington point guard Jazmine Davis isn’t a normal player.

Teammate Kristi Kingma continued to tell her team they were OK despite last-placed Oregon shooting three-pointers to build an early lead in their Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament opener on Thursday.

Davis believed her, taking over the second half to help UW win 69-62.

Fifth-seeded Washington (20-10) advanced to play No. 19 Colorado today at 8:30 p.m. at KeyArena. The Huskies lost to the Buffaloes, 68-61, in Boulder earlier this season.

“This victory is because we stayed together and tried to pull through together,” Davis said.

The 22-point first-half deficit is the largest comeback in Washington program history. The Huskies rallied from 19 down to defeat San Diego State by one point in December.

Leading by one with two minutes remaining in the game, Davis made a determined drive to the basket to give Washington a 65-62 lead. On the defensive end, sophomore forward Aminah Williams grabbed a key defensive rebound that eventually set up a three-pointer by redshirt freshman Talia Walton to finish off the win.

Davis scored 19 of her game-high 28 points in the second half.

Williams had 11 points and 17 rebounds.

Walton shook her shooting slump to finish with 19 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.

Oregon (4-27) served a little payback in the opening half. The Huskies made a conference-record 18 three-pointers in a 97-71 win in Eugene in February. The onslaught was so bad, fans at Matthew Knight Arena just joined in the fun of watching the shots.

Thursday they were able to cheer for their own team as Oregon made nine three-pointers to build a 35-13 lead midway through the opening half. Oregon dictated the fast pace, too, forcing UW coach Kevin McGuff to his bench early.

“When you get down like that, the most important thing is to make sure they understand there is no 20-point play,” McGuff said. “When we got down a little bit, you saw us rushing shots on offense and trying to get it all back at once. When we settled in, we got them believing possession-by-possession, playing great defense and play aggressively on the offensive end, then we got ourselves going.”

Washington trailed 39-28 at the break, shooting 23.8 percent from the field. It shot better after in the second half and used a 13-3 run to get its first lead of the game off a pair of free throws by Kingma with 8:26 remaining.

“In the first half we started off just a little slow, just a little bit,” Davis joked. “Everything that we lacked, Oregon had in the first half. Late we gained it back and in the second half we didn’t turn it off.

“We were on fire.”

Washington was supported by the hometown crowd. The announced total attendance for Day 1 of the tournament was 4,665. The Pac-12 tournament hasn’t totaled that amount in Day 1 since the four-day event’s inception in 2002. It hasn’t had 4,000 overall since 2008.

“It (the hometown crowd) was a big part of us gaining that momentum in the first half,” said McGuff, who recorded his second straight 20-win season.