Whitcomb's 28 Leads Huskies Past Ducks

Jeremy MeyerCorrespondent IMarch 18, 2009

LOS ANGELES –Sami Whitcomb had 28 points and five rebounds and Laura McLellan scored 15 points and seven rebounds as the Washington Huskies beat the Oregon Ducks 69-43 Thursday night to advance to the quarterfinals of the women's Pac-10 tournament.

Whitcomb, a junior guard, hit 11 of 18 from the floor. Oregon attempted to rally from a 12-point second-half deficit behind 15 points from sophomore forward Ellie Manou and 13 from junior guard Micaela Cocks -- but it was not enough to take on the hungry Washington team.

Ducks junior guard Taylor Lilley went down in the first period with a concussion, ending her playing in Thursday's game.

"That's real unfortunate and I guess it's a bit of a reflection of our season," Oregon head coach Bev Smith said of Lilley. "We battled through injuries all year, and having Taylor in and out of our lineup, she's a pretty important person for us. But I think our team has battled through that before and I think Washington was very opportunistic in taking advantage of that, and that is what good teams do".

Washington took command of the game early and led 32-24 at the half. Whitcomb had 14 points in the first half and was followed by junior forward/center Laura McLellan, with nine.

“I was just excited about this game," Whitcomb said. "We were all really fired up and we wanted to come out here and just send a message from the beginning. We executed on defense and I think that opened a lot for us offensively.”

Oregon's freshman forward Amanda Johnson had nine; Manou scored five.

"For all of our abilities, capabilities and vulnerabilities we didn't end the season as we would have wanted; we probably didn't start the season as we wanted, but in between that I think there was some growth and I think that's what you try to ask for as a coach, as a teacher and mentor," Smith said.

The Oregon Ducks fall to 6-13/10-20. The Washington Huskies 4-15/8-21 will take on the second-seeded California Golden Bears (15-3 24-5) Friday at 5pm at the Galen Center.

“We think it's a pretty solid match-up," Washington coach Tia Jackson said, referring to playing Cal on Friday. "Are they a great team? Absolutely. Are we playing some really good basketball right now? Yes, and it's pretty comparable to how Cal is doing. We're going to enjoy this until midnight tonight. Tomorrow's a new day. It's what March Madness is all about.”

Courtesy of SportsPageMagazine.com
Photo Courtesy of Eric Wade