University of Washington

Dawgs' tourney hopes still afloat

SEATTLE - Breanne Watson directed a spirited second half rally in helping the Washington Huskies keep their hopes of reaching the NCAA Tournament alive Thursday with a 70-59 victory over Oregon State on Thursday night.

Watson scored 10 of her 13 points in the second half as the Huskies (17-11, 10-7 Pac-10) broke out with a 32-11 run to open the second half. Watson scored a crucial 3-pointer with 12:20 left to give the Huskies a 50-38 lead. Her free throw with 8:22 finished off the Huskies' biggest lead at 58-39.

Senior guard Cameo Hicks also had 13 points - her 26th double-figure scoring game - as 10 players scored for the Huskies. The Beavers (8-18, 3-14), who have lost eight straight and 10 of their last 11, were led by freshman forward Judie Lomax and senior guard Casey Nash, each with 13 points.

However, Nash, the Pac-10's leading scorer at 20.0 points per game, left with 2:23 left in the first half after getting hit in the nose during in a loose-ball scramble. She returned at 15:52 in the second half, but missed all eight of her second-half field-goal attempts.

Washington, which had lost seven of its previous 11 games, entered the week in fifth place in the Pac-10. The Huskies' strength of schedule is ranked 21st and they are 30th in the RPI rankings, according to Sagarin.

Oregon 51, Washington St. 34

At Pullman, Cicely Oaks scored 12 points and Eleanor Haring added 11 to lead the Ducks to a win over Washington State for the Cougars' 16th consecutive Pac-10 loss.

Marisa Stotler had eight points for the Cougars.

Both the Cougars (5-22, 1-16) and Ducks (16-11, 8-9) were sloppy early as Washington State converted 4-of-26 shots and Oregon made 8-of-26 attempts in the first half. The teams combined for 18 first-half turnovers.

But the Ducks, who won their 51st game in 61 tries against the Cougars, held an eight-point lead at halftime, when the Cougars managed only 11 points in the opening half.

Washington State got within eight points twice after halftime, but trailed by double digits for most of the second half.

The Cougars got to within 38-30 with less than seven minutes left after Heather Molzen made a putback shot. But Washington State then entered a scoreless stretch lasting about five minutes while Oregon had a 13-2 run to close out the game.

No. 8 Stanford 65, UCLA 54

At Stanford, Calif., Jayne Appel scored 24 points to help Stanford overcome the absence of leading scorer Candice Wiggins and clinch at least a share of its seventh straight Pac-10 title with a victory over UCLA.

Stanford (24-4, 16-1 Pac-10) is already assured the top seed in next week's Pac-10 tournament because it swept second-place Arizona State. The Cardinal can win the title outright with a Sun Devils loss at Arizona on Saturday or their own win Sunday against Southern California.

California 86, USC 79 (OT)

At Berkeley, Calif., Ashley Walker scored a career-high 32 points, including two crucial free throws at the end of regulation, to spark California to an overtime win over USC.

Devanei Hampton added 25 points and eight rebounds for California (21-7, 10-6), and Natasha Vital had a double-double with 14 points and 10 assists. Walker also had 11 rebounds for her 10th double-double of the year, and made 14 of 16 free throws.

Eshaya Murphy scored 19 points for the Trojans (16-11, 10-7) and Jamie Hagiya had a career-high 16, but it was not enough for USC to pull off a win it desperately needed to assure a spot in the NCAA tournament.

The Trojans, who now have 11 losses, must play No. 8 Stanford on Saturday. Though teams have gotten at-large bids with 12 or 13 losses, they usually have some big wins, and USC's best victory is against unranked Notre Dame.

Cal, on the other hand, had lost two of its last four, and dropped out of the top 25 this week, but the comeback win all but guaranteed the Bears' berth in the NCAA tournament.

The Golden Bears trailed by eight with 4:42 left in regulation, but Walker had six points in the last 1:03, including two free throws with five seconds remaining, to force overtime.

Walker and Hampton also helped Cal dominate the boards. The Bears outrebounded USC 45-31 and had 16 second-chance points to just six for the Trojans.

Hagiya, a non-scorer in her first three years at USC, got the team off to a good start by extending her streak of double-figure-scoring games to 13 in the first 3:50, as she hit three 3-pointers and a jumper to help the Trojans to a 15-7 lead. Hagiya came into the season averaging 5.6 points per game, but has almost doubled that to 10.3 points per game this year.

Hagiya finished with four 3-pointers, and Allison Jaskowiak, an 18 percent shooter from beyond the arc, was two for two from 3-point distance. The Trojans were six of nine from long range at one point in the first half (they finished nine of 23), but led just 36-35 at intermission.

USC also hurt its chances by committing 27 fouls and sending Cal to the line 37 times. The Trojans, on the other hand, only attempted 15 free throws.