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Washington women’s basketball team wins season opener and finds some scoring options

Hannah Johnson’s 16 points were one shy of her career high as UW beat visiting Cal State Fullerton, 83-74.

The Washington Huskies’ search for a scorer to complement star guard Amber Melgoza uncovered a few intriguing options in Thursday’s season opener.

Not surprisingly, Melgoza, the Pac-12’s second-leading scorer last season, led the way with 18 points as UW outdistanced Cal State Fullerton in the fourth quarter for a 83-74 non-conference win at Alaska Airlines Arena.

There’s no undervaluing the importance of winning for a team that endured the most defeats and fewest wins in school history last season when they posted a 7-23 record.

And yet, snapping their 11-game losing streak seemed secondary to rebuilding an offense that ranked last in the conference in scoring and potentially discovering alternate scoring options to go along with Melgoza.

To that end, Hannah Johnson’s 16 points — one shy of her career high — were a welcome sight for the Huskies. The fifth-year senior forward went 0 for-4 on three-pointers, but she had success inside scoring.

Washington also received a significant offensive contribution from freshman guard Haley Van Dyke, who finished with 12 points on 6-for-9 shooting in her collegiate debut.

Junior guard Mai-Loni Henson added 10 points for the Huskies (1-0).

Washington led 42-39 at halftime and fell behind 52-49 midway in the third quarter. The Huskies finished the period with a 17-8 run and led 66-60 at the start of the fourth.

Cal State Fullerton (1-1), which received a game-high 22 points from Daeja Smith and 20 from Raina Perez, never pulled closer than four points in the final period.

Washington hosts Northern Arizona at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

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