Friday, July 19

W. hoops fall to Washington State


W. hoops fall to Washington State

Despite Hughes’ 23 points, UCLA overcome by WSU, 85-80

By Hye Kwon

The UCLA women’s basketball team had a relatively successful
night of shooting from the floor against Washington State on
Thursday night. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they simply could not
extinguish the sizzling shooting performance by the Cougars in the
85-80 loss at Friel Court in Pullman, Wash.

Going into the game, UCLA (6-6 overall, 1-2 in the Pac-10) had
allowed just one of its opponents to shoot over 50 percent from the
floor this season. That was against North Carolina Charlotte, a
game in which the Bruins suffered a 60-50 loss. A similar plot
played out on Thursday night, as the Cougars (8-4, 1-2) shot 51.6
percent from the floor (33 for 64), and a stellar 45 percent (9 for
20) from outside the three-point arc.

Prior to Thursday night, the last time the Cougars beat the
Bruins was in the 1991-92 season. The Cougars snapped a seven-game
losing streak to the Bruins.

"Obviously, we’re happy to have the win," Washington State head
coach Harole Rhodes said. "It gets the monkey off our backs so we
don’t have to answer the questions about last year."

The Cougars were led by Kelli Kronberger, who came off the bench
to score a team high 16 points. She made four three-pointers in
route to netting 10 of 17 shots from the floor. Kristin Erickson
also sparked the team off the bench, scoring 15 points in 13
minutes.

As for UCLA, it was center Kisa Hughes who again led the team in
scoring and rebounding. She scored 23 points and pulled down 12
boards.

However, UCLA head coach Kathy Olivier had to rely heavily on
her starters. They combined to play 162 of possible 200 minutes,
and the Bruins might have been too fatigued to put together a final
run against the Cougars late in the second half. Forward Allison
Arredondo, UCLA’s best shooter from outside the arc, did not play a
single minute, which might explain why the Bruins went two for
seven in three point shots as a team.

* * *

The Pac-10 race is just heating up for the Bruins as they travel
to Seattle tomorrow afternoon to play Washington in a crucial
conference matchup. The Huskies (12-4 overall, 2-1 in the Pac-10)
defeated USC 67-53 Thursday night and are poised to move right
behind Stanford in the conference standings.

The scenario is similar to last week for the Bruins, when they
suffered a disappointing loss to Oregon and then came back to beat
the more highly regarded Oregon State team. The only question is
whether the Bruins can pull a similar feat against the 15th- ranked
Washington Huskies.

"Their intensity level is extremely high," Olivier said.
"They’ll also have close to six, seven thousand people there."

The focal point of the Husky attack is inside the paint. Their
go-to player is Rhonda Smith, whose 17.6 points per game and 7.6
rebounds per game averages are tops on the team. She gets support
from forwards Cynthia Lewis and Gena Pelz, who combine for 12
points and 10 rebounds per outing.

Furthermore, add forwards Melissa Wuschnig and Laura Gonsalves
to the mix, and what you have is a frontcourt that is as good as
any in the Pac-10 conference.

The Bruins also have a special player inside the paint as well.
Hughes is one of the most feared players in the conference, and
justifiably. She is averaging better than 17 points and 11 rebounds
per game.

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