10:00 PM ET, February 16, 2006
SEATTLE (AP) -- Jill Bell has had so many knee operations she's not sure of the total.Still, she put aside her physical problems Thursday night to contribute a career-high 18 points and 10 rebounds, leading Washington to a 61-55 comeback victory over Oregon to improve the Huskies' NCAA tournament hopes.The Huskies (17-7, 10-5 Pac-10) trailed by 15 points with 5½ minutes gone in the second half, but rallied behind the 6-foot Bell, a junior forward who had 12 points and eight rebounds in the second half."She's just one of those kids who doesn't have good knees, but tonight they were real good for her," Washington coach June Daugherty said.The athletic Bell had her most recent knee surgery in September. She played 22 minutes against Oregon, but had to come out of the game late because she was winded."I think I've had about three or four surgeries," she said.Andrea Plouffe added 13 points and Cameo Hicks 10 for the Huskies, who trailed by nine points at halftime.Gabrielle Richards, a 6-foot-3 sophomore center from Australia, had 20 points and 11 rebounds for Oregon (14-11, 5-10). The Ducks lost a golden opportunity for their first Pac-10 road win of the season.The Huskies got back into the game with a 13-0 run that included four consecutive baskets by Bell, including a 3-pointer and a one-handed eight-footer with 8:22 to go that cut Oregon's lead to 47-44."She was the difference tonight," Daugherty said of Bell."I was just trying to do what I could to bring us back," said Bell, who has been coming off the bench this season primarily because her knees don't allow her to stay in top condition. She started 22 games as a sophomore."I haven't been very consistent," she said. "I can't practice as long."Washington tied the score at 51 on a 3-pointer by Plouffe with 4:03 left on the clock.Oregon's biggest lead of the game was 15 points at 42-27 after a 3-pointer by Carolyn Ganes with 14:30 left.The Ducks led 31-22 at halftime.It was another disappointing road loss for the Ducks and their coach, Bev Smith."That seems to be the story of our season so far," Richards said. "It's really frustrating. In the second half when Washington stepped it up, we didn't respond."Smith agreed."It hurts, it really hurts," she said. "Our girls played really hard tonight. They were fired up about getting a road win."In the first half, the Ducks went on a 16-0 run after Bell picked up a loose ball on a scramble and sank a 15-footer to put the Huskies ahead 13-11.Dominating Washington with their inside size, the Ducks scored on a short hook by 6-foot-6 Jessie Shetters, a layup by Shetters, a layup by 6-2 Kristen Forristall, an offensive rebound putback by the 6-3 Ganes, an offensive rebound putback by Richards, a five-foot bank shot by 6-1 Eleanor Haring and, finally, a 3-pointer by Tamika Nurse for a 27-13 lead by Oregon with 3:59 to go.The Huskies didn't score for nearly eight minutes until Hicks sank two free throws with 3:49 on the clock.Oregon beat Washington 81-73 on Jan. 21 in Eugene. The Ducks also knocked the Huskies out of last season's Pac-10 tournament.
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