6:00 PM ET, November 26, 2006
SEATTLE (AP) -- Breanne Watson figured it was about time to get aggressive.Her weekend decision paid off, as she was named tournament MVP after she scored 14 points in Washington's 81-63 win over Northern Iowa in Sunday's championship game of the Basketball Travelers Classic.Watson, a 6-foot-1 senior forward, was 6-of-9 and had three of Washington's 11 steals."I don't necessarily look at myself to take on that role or whatever, but I guess I went out there and played hard, and I was able to get some easy layups and to get to the line," said Watson, who averaged 15 points in the two games.The Huskies (3-2), who have won three in a row, won their 13th title in the 20-year history of the tournament. It's the NCAA Tournament, however, that Northern Iowa coach Tony DiCecco thinks Washington should look forward to."You look at size, you look at experience, you look at depth, you look at the ability to defend, you look at the ability to control the glass and plus, shoot it, and you tell me one of those statistics that Washington can't do," DiCecco said in discussing Washington's talent level.Washington also did it without junior guard Dominique Banks, who had surgery in September to correct stress fractures in both of her legs and is expected back for the Pac-10 season."We made a big maturity step in the tournament," Washington coach June Daugherty said.Andrea Plouffe, who had 23 points in 22 minutes in a 96-69 win over Saint Louis on Saturday, was scoreless and missed all seven of her shots against Northern Iowa. She has been battling tendinitis in both knees.Cameo Hicks, who had 21 points Saturday in becoming the 20th player in school history to amass 1,000 points, was 1-of-9 with eight points. Hicks, named to the all-tournament team, has been hampered with a bone bruise on her right knee."We don't have the time or luxury of resting them right now," Daugherty said.What Daugherty did get was a superb effort off the bench from all-tournament-team member Jill Bell, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds."My numbers were down last year, and I realized I needed to get back on the boards, and I just tried to crash the board every time the ball is put up," the senior said.Megan Keefe had 12 points for Northern Iowa (1-4), which never led. Tara King, who had nine points for the Panthers, also was named to the all-tournament team.The Panthers closed the first half with an 8-0 run after trailing 33-20. But Watson scored the first four points of the second half and Northern Iowa never got closer."They really, really dominated us," DiCecco said about the first 10 possessions of the second half.The Huskies outrebounded Northern Iowa 46-32 and converted their 21 offensive rebounds into 22 points."I think that because our shot selection was better and we could go inside-out, we did a lot better job with the rebounding," Daugherty said.After forcing Saint Louis into 27 turnovers, Washington forced 20 turnovers Sunday. And for the second straight game, it had 11 steals.Washington, which was only 11-of-19 from the foul line, shot 47 percent while Northern Iowa shot 39 percent.
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