We share five observations from a damaging defeat for the Washington Huskies in Stanford, versus the Cardinal.
It’s been a pleasantly surprising campaign for the most part by the Washington Huskies. No one expected them to be in this position so late into the season.
Regardless, this doesn’t make the recent struggles any easier for fans to deal with. Just when the dream of a place in the NCAA tournament was turning into a reality, they’ve slumped at the wrong time.
It’s going to be tough from here on out, albeit not impossible. For now, let’s get to our five takeaways from a tough 94-78 loss to the Stanford Cardinal:
1) A career night
The Huskies chose the wrong night to allow the most points by an opposing player this season. Even worse it was Reid Travis, who they knew they had to stop to have any chance of winning.
Instead, the Dawgs allowed Travis to score 23 points in the first half, on his way to a career-high 33. He dominated them both physically and mentally, adding nine boards in the process.
2) Never really in the game
We already assumed the Huskies were going to have a tough night in Stanford, after losing the first meeting this season at home. However, the Dawgs didn’t even give themselves a chance.
The Huskies fell behind 15-5 early in the earlier encounter and followed the same script in the rematch. Stanford shot out to a 16-4 lead in the opening six minutes and never looked back.
By halftime, UW were down by 22. They cut the lead to 11 in the second half, but the reality is they were never really in it.
3) At least one bright spot
It wasn’t all bad for the Huskies on Thursday night, as they kept up their tremendous consistency with steals. Entering the contest, they were pacing the Pac-12 with 8.4 steals per contest (nearly two ahead of the next team).
UW added another eight against Stanford, including three by Matisse Thybulle. And while this obviously didn’t help the team win, the junior has set a single-season school record for steals.
4) Foul trouble all night long
You can question the fairness of it all, but the Huskies were in foul trouble all night. As a result, Stanford made 47 trips to the charity strip, compared to just 20 by the visitors.
When it was all said and done, three Huskies fouled out including Noah Dickerson, whose ninth double-double of the season counted for nothing. Hopkins was understandably frustrated by the big discrepancy in free-throws, but refused to use this as an excuse, as reported by Allen:
“They attacked us where we wanted to attack them. They were just more aggressive…That’s how the game went. It happens sometimes, but it just wasn’t our night.”
5) NCAA tournament hopes
Let’s not kid ourselves here – the Huskies’ tournament hopes are in big trouble. Including Thursday night, they’ve lost four of their last five games.
The Huskies fell down to sixth in the Pac-12 standings. Further, they are now a game behind Standford, who have the advantage of having swept the season series.
UW will play two of their final three games at home where they have been fantastic this season, while the one remaining road contest comes against lowly California. Regardless, even if they win all three, they will likely still need an excellent showing in the Pac-12 tournament, to keep their fading March Madness hopes alive.
What was your main takeaway from the loss to Stanford? How hopeful are you at this point, of the Huskies’ chances of qualifying for the NCAA tournament? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.