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Sacramento State Steals the Show At Husky Classic With Milestone Victory Over Washington

Generally, pairing the host of a non-conference tournament against an undersized team with a 300+ RPI in the final game guarantees that the home fans will get to leave the tournament on a high note, especially as the team prepares to leave for seven consecutive road games.

Unfortunately, that’s not what happened for the University of Washington Huskies who were upset 74-71 in their final home game of 2010 by Sacramento State University in the Husky Classic finale.

Late Rally For Women's Hoops Falls Short Against Sacramento State - University of Washington Official Athletics Site
Sara Mosiman missed a game-tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation and the Washington women's basketball team fell to Sacramento State, 74-71, in the Husky Classic finale. With seconds evaporating off the clock, Kristi Kingma clanged a 3-pointer off the arc, but Sami Whitcomb crashed from the weak-side to pick up the offensive rebound. She whipped the ball to Mosiman, whose desperation heave bounced off the back of the rim.

It’s the first win against a Pac-10 opponent for Sacramento State in school history after going 0-9 in previous attempts. The win caps off an impressive 2-1 trip to Seattle -- which included two games in the Husky Classic and a Wednesday victory about three miles away at Seattle University -- to lift their record to 2-4.

Not a bad way for a 29-year-old first year head coach Jamie Craighead to give her young career a jolt.

Twenty minutes after her Sacramento State team stormed the floor to celebrate the victory, coach Jamie Craighead was still catching her breath as she let both the excitement and the magnitude set in.

"It’s big for us – we’re a program that’s trying to change some things and it’s not always easy," said Craighead. "It’s hard sometimes to get your kids to learn when they’re losing -- it’s always easier to teach ‘em when they’re winning. So a couple wins like this will help us go back and watch some film and get better and maybe have some confidence for the next game."

While Sacramento State made program history, Washington head coach Tia Jackson is now 2-3 against Big Sky schools after UW won 19 in a row prior to her tenure as head coach. Even without the historical context, it was a disappointing loss for UW after coming into the tournament intent on reclaiming their identity.

HeraldNet: UW women fall to Sac State, 74-71
Much like the prospects of head coach Tia Jackson’s coaching tenure, the Huskies were playing from behind Sunday afternoon.

It wasn’t a recipe for success.

Playing against a Big Sky Conference school that had won just one game this season, UW trailed for almost the entire game and eventually fell short, 74-71, to Sacramento State on Sunday. The Huskies dropped to 2-3 on the season as they embark on a seven-game road trip, and the Jackson era hit yet another low point.

Although the focus of most of the articles about the game has focused on the three point shooting, a major factor in the game was that the undersized Sacramento State clearly set the tone for the game early, shooting quick threes on offense, but also playing a full-court trapping press on defense. It was all part of Craighead’s plan to put up 75 to 85 shots a night this season as she tries to turn the program around.

"One of the number one keys going into this game was to play with poise," said Jackson. "They want to make us play their pace – they want to make us play on a 12 second shot clock. We didn’t want to do that – we want to play our pace…and that’s what presses do: they press you into situations that you’re not usually known for. And we started to play that 12 second shot clock too and it was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa – that’s not us.’ Hold on, make them play defense a little bit more."

It wasn’t so much that the UW was caught off guard as kept off balance, unable to establish consistent offense against the frenzied pace of Sacramento State.

Despite three early baskets in the post from 6’3" center Regina Rogers, the Huskies quickly found themselves down 13-6 with 17:11 on the clock, struggling to even inbound the ball against the press, which resulted in turnovers and easy transition points for the Hornets.

Although the Huskies would ultimately win the turnover battle, they turned over the ball on 33% of their possessions and found themselves down three at halftime despite shooting 48.5% to the Hornets’ 39.5%. Conversely, in the second half, they cut down on the turnovers, but took 40 shots on 30% shooting. Caught up in the Hornet’s pace, the Huskies shot 3-14 from the three-point line and had only 4 assists on 12 made field goals in the second half.

With the high paced three-point shooting, the biggest casualty might have been the post-play -- Rogers saw the ball a lot less with less ball movement – she had only two points on 1-4 shooting after scoring 11 points on 5-6 shooting in the first half. After scoring those 11 points in the first 9 minutes of the game against the Hornets’ overmatched Erika Edwards – who is really a forward and gives up three inches to Rogers – she was essentially forgotten.

Meanwhile, Sacramento State played to their strengths, relying heavily on their seniors to take a 10 point second half lead. 

Women's Basketball Release - Hornet Sports
Trailing 55-54 with 11:38 remaining, the Hornets out scored the Huskies 17-6 over the next 8:08 to take their largest lead of the game at 71-61. During the run, the Hornets got a pair of three-pointers from Edwards, a three-pointer from Garcia, six points from Hunt, and a layup from junior Jasmine Cannady (Sacramento, Calif.).

Forward Charday Hunt led the Hornets with 19 points on 6-14 shooting, along with five rebounds and 2 steals. Edwards finished with 17 points on 6-9 shooting along with seven rebounds while Garcia with a career-high 11 points on 4-6 shooting. For a team that likes to push the tempo, the performance of guards Cannady and Garcia as well as starting point guard Tika Koshiyama-Diaz who had three steals is obviously important.

"If their guards aren’t running for them on the wings then I anticipate that they’ll be beating them down the floor on the dribble," said Craighead. "They gotta keep up the tempo make sure that we get up lots of shots. And obviously on the defensive end, they gotta be face-guard and make people really work."

It is perhaps a strange coincidence that Craighead's style is so similar to the style often called "Paul Ball" after current University of Oregon coach Paul Westhead, not only because the Hornets' previous head coach Dan Muscatell left last May to assist Westhead, but also because Craighead played at Oregon herself and enjoys beating the Huskies. However, she simultaneously had hopeful words for the Huskies.

"I just love beating the Huskies," said Craighead, who went 3-1 in Bank of America Arena as a player. "I played here and it’s fun to be home -- I’m from the Northwest. It’s just fun to be here and I think they’ll end up having a good year. They have got some young kids and I think they’ll battle through some things and they’ll give some people a run for their money in the Pac-10."

Transition Points:
  • As a player, Craighead went 7-1 overall against the Huskies, only losing her final game against the Huskies in Bank of America Arena as a senior in 2002.
  • University of Washington men's basketball coach Lorenzo Romar had an interesting variation of Craighead's comment that it's easier to teach the team when they're winning. After coming back from being down 10 points to narrowly defeat the University of Montana 63-59 last night, avoiding a second UW loss to a Big Sky opponent on the day, Romar commented that it's good to experience coming from behind and winning because they team learns what it takes to win -- if they had just won by 15 points on hot shooting, they would not have learned that lesson. More than anything, it speaks to the value of early season wins against non-conference to teams with high expectations vs. teams with uncertain expectations like Sacramento State.

Related Links:

Sacramento State’s Craighead Gets First Career Win in Three Point Shoot Out Against Seattle University Story-edit


Late Rally For Women's Hoops Falls Short Against Sacramento State