4:00 PM ET, February 18, 2006
SEATTLE (AP) -- The Washington Huskies were without leading scorer and leading rebounder junior guard Cameo Hicks, and were fighting the flu bug, but they still won impressively against Oregon State.Maybe it's a sign of things to come.Kristen O'Neill filled in for the absent Hicks in the starting lineup and scored 17 points and Dominique Banks added 14, leading the Huskies to a 66-51 win Saturday and boosting their hopes for a berth into the NCAA tournament."Hopefully, we can get through it, get over it and get rested up," Washington coach June Daugherty said. "It's the strangest, quickest flu I've ever seen happen in all my days and I hope the fans don't get it. It comes on pretty quick."The Huskies (18-7, 11-5 Pac-10) closed out the home part of their regular-season schedule, but they got a battle in the second half from the Beavers (12-12, 6-10), who came back after trailing by 17 at halftime.Kim Butler led the Beavers' comeback with 20 points, 18 in the second half, including 10-for-12 from the free-throw line, after she shot 1-for-11 in the opening half. Mandy Close added 15 for Oregon State. Butler fouled out with 2:04 left with Washington ahead 64-48.Hicks, who is averaging 15 points, missed her first start of the season because of the stomach flu. Daugherty said some of her other players weren't 100 percent, either."I just thought our kids showed a lot of guts," she said. "There were times I was looking at kids like Jill Bell and she was doing everything she could to kind of keep it down. You know what I mean."O'Neill said she found out at the team breakfast Saturday morning that Hicks wouldn't be able to play in the afternoon. Then Daugherty told O'Neill she was going to start."She brings a lot of offense to our team and I knew I had to step up," O'Neill said.Washington will wind up its regular season at Stanford and California next week before playing in the Pac-10 tournament March 3-6 in San Jose, Calif. The Huskies beat Stanford and California in Seattle in December."I think the thing for us right now is to just get rested and truly get healthy, and get ready for the Bay Area trip," Daugherty said. "The Huskies jumped to an 8-0 lead in the first 2:51 that included two baskets by Banks. They built that lead up to 34-17 by halftime. Washington had a 16-point lead at 26-10 after a layup by Breanne Watson, who finished with 10 points, with 4:58 left in the first half.The Beavers committed 15 turnovers and shot only 8-for-32 in the opening half. They had seven turnovers in the second half.Oregon State played much better in the second half, mainly because of the inside work of the 6-foot-1 Butler, to close Washington's lead to nine points twice -- at 52-43 and 54-45, with 5½ minutes to go.Washington's biggest lead -- 20 points -- came early in the second half at 42-22 and 45-25.First-year Oregon State coach LaVonda Wagner, a Duke assistant coach from 2002-05, was proud of the way her team came back in the second half, outscoring the Huskies 34-32."Absolutely," Wagner said, pointing out that the Beavers won only one conference game last season. "Right now, we're 6 and 10 in the Pac-10 and this is a group of women who won one Pac-10 game last year."Asked if she thought she could turn around the Beavers' program, she replied, "I already have."Washington beat Oregon State for the fifth straight time. The Huskies won 70-53 in Corvallis on Jan. 19.Notes: Washington senior tri-captains Nicole Castro, Kayla Burt and O'Neill were honored in a pregame ceremony. Burt retired from basketball in January after her internal heart defibrillator went off during a game. Daugherty said Burt told her she didn't want to come to the game because she was sick, too. "She was having trouble keeping just keeping anything down," she said. Hicks and Burt watched the game together from the stands because the Huskies team doctor said the flu was highly contagious and didn't want them near the other Huskies, Daugherty said.
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