The Washington women's basketball team fell for the first time this season, but the Huskies didn't go down easy in losing to 10th-ranked Louisville 61-53 on Saturday afternoon at Alaska Airlines Arena.
Trailing by 16 after three quarters, Tina Langley's team rallied to come within 54-51 in the final period before the Cardinals (3-1) regrouped and pulled away for good.
"I knew we had it in us," said Langley, the first-year coach from Rice. "One thing, I think our team is still learning to show their strengths sometimes. We're a team that has the ability to do some things we haven't done yet because we're so unselfish."
Haley Van Dyke, a 6-foot-1 junior forward, led all scorers with 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting, and has now topped the UW (2-1) in each of its three outings. Coming off the bench, forward Alexis Whitfield added 10 points by hitting 5 of 9 shot attempts.
The Huskies led 15-13 after the first quarter, but their Kentucky opponents gave them a lot of problems with a full-court press. The Cardinals finished with a 20-9 edge in forcing turnovers.
The UW's size bothered the visitors some with 6-foot-9 Nancy Mulkey, the Rice transfer, blocking 7 shots to go with 6 points and 8 rebounds.
Louisville was led by by Kianna Smith and Liz Dixon, who each had 13 points, and Hailey Van Lith, the Wenatchee, Washington, product, who chipped in 11 points.
The Huskies next on Thanksgiving Day against Virginia Commonwealth in the Bahamas.
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