The Women of Troy stepped it up on the defensive end of the floor in the second half of Thursday night’s game, clawing their way back from an early double-digit deficit to beat the Washington Huskies 69-65.
“This game was huge. It was a good win going into Washington State,” junior center Kari LaPlante said.
The first half was closely contested, with several lead changes and ties, until the Huskies started pulling away from the Women of Troy to lead 33-22.
But the Women of Troy battled back and went on an 8-0 run to end the first half and cut the deficit to three points.
At the start of the second half, the Huskies extended their lead to nine points, but again the Women of Troy would not quit.
Sophomore guard Briana Gilbreath was active on the defensive end of the floor for the Women of Troy, finishing with five steals and creating all sorts of problems for the Huskies on offense.
LaPlante stepped up on the offensive end, scoring inside and outside of the paint, and converting a three-play midway through the second half that allowed the Women of Troy to cut the lead to two points.
“I just did what my team needed me to do,” LaPlante said.
For the next couple of minutes, both teams were engaged in a defensive battle until sophomore guard Ashley Corral tied the score at 51 with seven and a half minutes left to play.
But Corral wasn’t done.
She drained two more 3-pointers to extend the lead to nine points, with 4:30 to play.
However, the game wasn’t over.
Turnovers and missed free throws down the stretch almost allowed the Huskies to come back but the Women of Troy managed to secure their victory.
“We knew we were going to win the game,” LaPlante said. “We just needed to step it up on defense.”
Corral, who finished with a game-high 19 points, led a balanced offensive attack for the Women of Troy. Gilbreath and LaPlante chipped in 13 points apiece and senior guard/forward Aarika Hughes finished with 10 points.
The next game for the Women of Troy is this Saturday, Jan. 23 at Washington State, the Women of Troy’s second game of their northern road trip.
Tip-off is at 2 p.m.