No one expected the Washington women’s basketball team to be in the Pac-12 quarterfinals entering the tournament on Thursday. When the Dawgs upset sixth-seeded Utah yesterday, they knew they still had to take on a team that beat them by 47 points earlier this season.
Friday night, the Huskies (11-20, 2-15 Pac-12) became just the second 11-seed ever to advance to the Pac-12 semifinals when they upset No. 11 Oregon State 68-67.
The game’s defining moment came from sophomore Missy Peterson, who sank a three pointer to put the Dawgs ahead by three with 2.3 seconds left. The ball was originally meant to go to Amber Melgoza, but when the Beavers threw a zone at the UW, they had to change plans.
“We assumed they were going to the rim,” Oregon State head coach Scott Rueck said.
Instead, Peterson saw a wide-open Mai-Loni Henson, who threw it right back to Peterson to drain the three pointer for the win.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Peterson said.
The drama mounted when the Huskies were pegged with a technical foul after the bench celebrated on the court before the game was officially over.
“We got a little too happy on the sidelines,” Wynn said. “The officials made the right call.”
The Beavers knocked down two free throws, but a last-second heave from Aleah Goodman came up short of the rim and the Dawgs secured the upset, living to fight yet another day.
Washington was led in scoring by Amber Melgoza, who scored 21 points, but also received double-digit contributions from Peterson (19), Darcy Rees (16), and Hannah Johnson (11).
Rees added 10 rebounds to her point total, grabbing her first career double-double.
“We never quit on each other, we never gave up on each other despite our record,” Peterson said. “Even when things got hard, we kept our heads up. We see behind closed doors how good this team is and how bright our future is. We weren’t ready for our season to be over.”
Tonight’s win marks the first Washington victory over Oregon State for the first time in seven tries — since February 2015. The only other 11-seed to ever make it to the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament was Washington State in 2012, who won five conference games heading into the tourney.
The Huskies won just two during the regular conference season. No 11-seed has ever made it to a Pac-12 tournament championship, and the Huskies have never played in the championship game.
“Coming here to Washington, everyone said that all the stars had graduated and all the players you inherited might have never had the opportunity to ever play division I basketball,” Wynn said. “A couple of walk-ons who are now on scholarship played tonight. It takes time to build a program, but when you have incredible women that have high character… it’s pretty awesome to see them be able to achieve the reward of the scoreboard for all their hard work.”
They’ll look to change that tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. against No. 7 Stanford.
Reach Assistant Sports Editor Alec Dietz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @AlecDietz