SEATTLE — Washington is adamant its matchup with Seattle University isn’t a rivalry. And given that the Redhawks haven’t won a game against the Huskies since the 1980s, how could it be?
After UW’s 77-75 overtime win on Wednesday at KeyArena, a mere crosstown matchup it’ll remain.
But SU showed some fight.
“They almost got us,” Washington point guard Jazmine Davis said.
The teams hung within two buckets of each other in extra play until Danish freshman Mathilde Gilling made a big block on SU sophomore Ashley Ward’s drive to the hoop with 43 seconds left. Davis, a sophomore, then nailed a layup and foul-shot free throw to make the score 77-73 with 16.5 seconds remaining.
Ward, a junior forward, was later fouled on a three-pointer, making two of the three free throws. But with seven seconds ticking off the clock and her team needing one more three-pointer to win, she froze outside the arc and flung a desperation attempt that landed in a thud well short of the hoop.
It was a familiar ending for the teams that each had their opening two games decided by a basket.
Seattle U (0-2) has lost both of its games by a combined three points. Wednesday’s game was coach Joan Bonvicini’s 1,000th career matchup.
“This was a little dramatic,” said Bonvicini, who began coaching at Long Beach State in 1979. “It just came down to decision making at the end and some missed shots. ... Us as coaches have to do a better job at end-of-game situations to get a better shot off.”
Washington coach Kevin McGuff was equally irritated at the finish. Once again the Huskies (2-0) were out-rebounded, this time by a whopping 59-36. SU collected 24 offensive boards, but only managed 19 points in second-chance shots.
“It makes me want to pull my hair out,” said McGuff of three SU players posting double digits in rebounding. “It’s not like Seattle U’s got 6-feet-6 and 6-6 (players), they were just playing harder and rebounding hard. That’s it. End of story.
“We played hard. I thought our defense was fine. Really all of our other aspects were fine.”
In regulation time, SU grabbed four offensive rebounds and sophomore guard Sylvia Shephard made a three-pointer at the top of the key to close to 65-64 with 20 seconds left. The Redhawks fouled UW twice after a timeout, finally putting UW sophomore Mercedes Wetmore on the free throw line with 18.6 seconds remaining. She missed the free throws.
SU senior Daidra Brown was later fouled, making one of two free throws to force overtime with the score tied at 65.
UW redshirt senior Kristi Kingma led four teammates that finished in double figures with 22 points. Wetmore, a 5-8 guard, led the Huskies in rebounds with seven.
The Redhawks committed 25 turnovers — including 17 in the first half.
SU forward Kacie Sowell finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Redhawks.
“There were probably about 10 times I thought it was over,” Kingma said. “They kept fighting until the end.”
• Washington inked one of its best recruiting classes on Wednesday. Top-100 prospects Kelsey Plum (La Jolla, Calif.), a left-handed point guard, forward Chantel Osahor (Phoenix) and point guard Brianna Ruiz (Roseville, Calif.) signed letters of intent with the Huskies to play for the 2013-14 season.
UW is also expected to welcome back All-American post Katie Collier from a season-ending knee injury.