The Huskies (3-1) scored the game's first eight points but later trailed by 12 in the second half before succumbing 73-64 to visiting Cal Baptist on Thursday.
"We don't want to get behind like that," Washington coach Mike Hopkins said. "We had our chances but just couldn't get over the hump."
The winner of the game between the Huskies and Fresno State (1-3) will meet either Vanderbilt or Saint Mary's in Thursday night's title game. The losers will battle in the consolation game.
The Huskies had Keion Brooks Jr. back on the floor versus Cal Baptist after a two-game absence due to a leg injury. The Kentucky transfer scored 20 points in his Washington debut in the season-opening win over Weber State, but had 11 on 4-of-12 shooting against Cal Baptist.
"He forced it a little bit but he played his heart out," Hopkins said.
Brooks' 15.5 point per game scoring average is second on the squad behind freshman Keyon Menifield, who is averaging 15.8. Menifield had eight points on 4-of-14 shooting against the Lancers after averaging 23.5 points over the previous two games.
Fresno State has lost three straight contests, including Saturday's 61-52 road loss against North Texas.
Jordan Campbell scored 14 points to pace the Bulldogs. Jemarl Baker Jr. added 12 and Isaih Moore contributed 11 points and seven rebounds.
Moore, a transfer from Southern Miss, leads Fresno State with averages of 12.8 points and 6.8 rebounds. Moore also played for College of Charleston and St. John's during his college career.
"He's a smart young man, very talented," Bulldogs coach Justin Hutson said. "I love how he's becoming a leader."
Fresno State recently received a blow when it learned that four-star freshman guard JoJo Hunter will miss the entire season due to a thumb injury.
The Bulldogs lead the series 3-2 and have won the last three matchups. However, the schools haven't played since Fresno State recorded a 67-65 home win on Dec. 7, 1993.
--Field Level Media
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