SEATTLE — Mercedes Wetmore slipped back into her comfort zone.
When the Washington junior guard was nicknamed “One” by her Auburn-Riverside coach because of Wetmore’s jersey number, she turned the team into a state powerhouse as its point guard. Against Oregon on Sunday, Wetmore found herself in the spotlight again due to leading scorer Jazmine Davis (concussion) being out a second consecutive game.
Wetmore rocked her struggling team into a second-half run to defeat the Ducks 66-53 at Alaska Airlines Arena. She finished with a season-high nine assists and zero turnovers in 40 minutes. In an overtime win against Oregon State on Friday, Wetmore had five assists and one turnover in 45 minutes, also scoring 12 points.
“I still can’t get over nine assists, zero turnovers. That’s almost a perfect game to me,” UW redshirt freshman Talia Walton said.
Wetmore did have a blip, going 0 for 8 from the field.
“We didn’t have to do anything out of the ordinary (with Davis out),” Walton said. “No one had to try to come out and windmill dunk to get us going. We do what we did.”
It did take UW time to find its groove. The Huskies used a 13-3 run to open the second half to build a 47-27 lead on a three-pointer by redshirt senior Kristi Kingma with 16:29 remaining. Oregon never drew closer than 12 points thereafter.
Walton was key. She started the game 0-for-8 shooting from the field. Out of the halftime break, she grabbed a defensive rebound and sank a jumper. She followed that with a three-pointer and another jumper.
She finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Kingma led with 20 points and four steals.
“(Wetmore) set me up for a lot of them,” Walton said. “I just shot it, attacked or gave it to Aminah (Williams) a lot. I let it (scoring) come to me versus forcing it.”
Keeping pace with the Ducks was an issue. Oregon (3-17, 1-7 Pac-12) has been plagued with injuries and averages 65.8 points compared to 71.0 last season. But Oregon coach Paul Westhead hasn’t altered his run-and-gun offense.
“I watched last year at Oregon and just seeing them, yeah, they’re fast,” Walton said. “But you don’t actually know how fast until you have to run with them. ... Once (the posts) beat me and Aminah down a couple of times, (coach Kevin) McGuff didn’t hesitate to get after us.”
Seated on the bench, Davis didn’t hesitate either.
“She was like, ‘If you don’t run,’ “ said Walton, a 6-foot-2 forward. “I was like, ‘Jaz, I’m sorry I’m not you. I can’t just speed down the floor.’ But she reminded me just as much as McGuff. It’s nice having her in your ear.”
And nice to have Wetmore run the point in place of Davis.
“I just felt really comfortable out there,” Wetmore said. “(But) Jaz is amazing. We never like to see her go down. I look at this as a great opportunity for her to get her legs back and rejuvenate.”
Washington (14-5, 6-2) remains tied for third in the conference. It will carry its four-game winning streak to the desert to play Arizona (11-8, 3-5) on Friday.
“Overall, we had some people who had some great performances,” McGuff said.