SEATTLE — As rivalries go, Tuesday’s matchup between Washington and Washington State had as much excitement as sitting in traffic.
The Huskies sprinted to an early double-digit lead and slogged through the rest of the game in a 60-53 win at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Despite its lackluster performance, UW increased its win streak against its rival to 35 games.
“The third game here on a tough stretch, it’s not atypical both teams would miss shots,” Washington coach Kevin McGuff said of the teams playing Friday and Sunday on the road in Los Angeles, then Tuesday in Seattle. “But both teams played really hard defensively.”
WSU, down 36-21 at halftime, challenged in the second half, pulling within 43-39 with 8:58 remaining after two short jumpers by senior center Carly Noyes and a layin by freshman guard Lia Galderia.
Jazmine Davis, who led the Huskies with 21 points, made 3 of 4 free throws to make the score 54-44 with 3:48 remaining.
But with neither team able to consistently score from the field, the Huskies made 6 of 10 free throws in the final 70 seconds to salt it away.
Washington won despite hitting just 4 of 23 field-goal attempts in the second half.
“It was tough, the shots we took in the second half,” said Davis, whose 21 points came on 5-for-15 shooting. “Thankfully Wazzu’s shots weren’t falling, too, that much in the second half. We got a little lucky there.”
The Huskies opened the game on a 12-2 run to take quick control.
Davis, who averaged 28 points last weekend, accounted for seven of those 12 and finished the half with 13 along with teammate Talia Walton.
“Going into the locker room a couple of our teammates said, ‘Hey, you guys are settling,” said Davis of observations from reserves Deborah Meeks and Kassia Fortier. “We did feel too comfortable with that lead.”
McGuff liked the way the team executed his staple defense, however. WSU was limited to 29 percent shooting in the game, despite outscoring UW 32-24 in the second half.
The Cougars’ leading scorer Tia Presley, a sophomore point guard, was 1 for 9 from the field for four points.
Galdeira committed six turnovers but led the team with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Washington State (5-11, 1-4) will host Washington (11-5, 3-2 Pac-12) on Sunday to complete the rivalry series.
The odd turnaround was made to accommodate Pac-12 Networks television and the conference tournament in March.
“It’s kind of nice,” WSU redshirt senior guard Katie Grad said of the scheduling quirk. “We get another chance just a few days away.”