4:00 PM ET, February 5, 2006
SEATTLE (AP) -- The Washington Huskies didn't have any trouble focusing on the Washington State Cougars on Super Bowl Sunday.They even drew their largest crowd of the season -- 3,541 -- to their campus Bank of America Arena."It's a great statement for the city with everything that's going on," Washington coach June Daugherty said after watching the Huskies jump to a 17-1 lead to open the game and beat Washington State 83-57 on Sunday.The Pac-10 game ended about 30 minutes before the Seattle Seahawks took on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Detroit in the Super Bowl."I just say my hat's off to our fans," Daugherty said. "But I did see a lot of them leaving early."The fans could have left a lot earlier than late in the second half, though. The Huskies had the game won by halftime, when they led 50-26."It was a great win," Daugherty said. "I thought the team came out with tremendous energy today."Andrea Plouffe scored 16 points as the Huskies beat Washington State for the 22nd straight time.To keep the score close after Washington led by 24 at halftime, Daugherty used 13 players, with 11 scoring.Washington's Cheri Craddock came off the bench to get 12, Cameo Hicks and Dominique Banks each scored 11, and Jill Bell added 10. Hicks, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, played 20 minutes.The Huskies (15-6, 8-4) came back strongly after a seven-day layoff and a home loss to No. 18 Arizona State."We were hungry after the loss to ASU," Washington senior Kristen O'Neill said. "We knew we could play better.""We're back," Daugherty said of the Pac-10 race. "But I don't think we were ever out of it."Stanford leads the conference with an 11-2 record followed by Arizona State at 9-4.Washington is at USC and UCLA this week in Los Angeles."We know we can do it," Daugherty said. "We've won on the road."The Cougars (7-14, 1-11) played Washington close Jan. 7 in Pullman, losing only 73-70.But the return game in Seattle was a different matter.Fourth-year Washington State coach Sherri Murrell called it "the most discouraging loss" since she took over a downtrodden Cougars program that won two games and was winless in the Pac-10 in 2002."It's the first time I've seen our spirit die," she said. "We lost our spirit today and I have no idea why. Washington's a good team and we didn't have any fight in us today."In the first half, Washington led 19-2 after O'Neill scored on a driving layup for the Huskies with 7:19 gone. At that point, Washington State hadn't made a basket and had committed 10 of its 16 first-half turnovers.The Cougars scored the game's first point -- on a free throw by Kate Benz -- with 59 seconds gone. Then it was all Washington, which reeled of a 17-0 run that featured two baskets each by Hicks and Bell in the next 5½ minutes.Washington's biggest lead in the first half was 33 points at 47-14 with 2:14 to go after a 3-pointer by Craddock. Their biggest lead in the game was 39 at 75-36 with 6:59 to play.Freshman guard Amanda DuRocher, sister of Huskies quarterback Johnny DuRocher, led Washington State with 20 points.<Notes: Washington senior Kayla Burt was present with her V Foundation Comeback Award by CEO Nick Valvano in a pregame ceremony. Burt was applauded warmly by the crowd and then received a round of hugs from her teammates. Burt was named the 2005 recipient of the award last March -- as the fifth recipient of the award -- after her comeback to basketball following a cardiac arrest on New Year's Eve 2002. She announced her retirement from basketball on Jan. 16, four days after her internal heart defibrillator went off during a game. The award is presented to a college men's or women's basketball player or team that has accomplished a personal win over adversity in the memory of late coach Jim Valvano. Nick Valvano is Jim's older brother.
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