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Washington 66, Oregon State 51

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.