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Loss to Cougars not forgotten by Washington

After Washington State upset Washington in Pullman in January, Cougars fans stormed the court to celebrate the victory over their rival.

The Huskies returned to their locker room to find another jab waiting for them along with their postgame meal: A Pullman sandwich shop had placed messages in the players' boxed meals.

"May memories of the fun you share bring you gentle comfort. So sorry for your loss," the prank note said.

The Huskies didn't appreciate the gestures. And the Huskies do remember, especially Isaiah Thomas.

"Right after that game I just watched how they did that," Thomas said. "They felt it was the right thing to do I guess. ... Beating any team in the regular season, unless it's the No. 1 team in the country, I don't feel like you should storm the court."

The teams meet again on Sunday night in Seattle. Since their victory over Washington, the Cougars have fallen apart, winning just two of their last seven and falling to cellar-dwelling Arizona State last weekend.

The loss has all but ended the Cougars' chances to make the NCAA tournament field. Outside of winning the Pac-10 tournament in two weeks, Washington State would probably have to win its remaining three regular season games and make it to the Pac-10 title game to have any shot of making the field as an at-large selection.

The loss to Washington State began a three-game skid for the Huskies that dropped them out of the conference lead.

Washington has since responded by winning four of its last five games, with an 87-86 loss at conference-leading Arizona the only blemish.

The Huskies' chances at the Pac-10 regular season title realistically ended with the loss on Saturday, but Arizona's loss to USC on Thursday night kept the door open slightly.

The Wildcats would need to lose two of their last three games to give Washington a chance of claiming their second regular season crown in three seasons.

"A lot has to happen for that to take place," coach Lorenzo Romar said. "We can't lose sight of Sunday. We have a week and a half of conference play and we have to take advantage of it and not get sidetracked by other issues."

The Huskies turned the ball over 24 times and made just 11 of 31 three-pointers in the loss to Washington State, something Romar stressed can't happen again if the Huskies are to win this time around.

"From my standpoint, I'm more concerned that we turned the ball over 24 times and didn't guard like we should have guarded. That bothers me," Romar said. "We turned the ball over far too many times by trying to force the issue the last time we played them. We needed to be a little more patient against them."