Cougs get rocked in Boulder

From staff reports

Another poor shooting night led to yet another loss for the Washington State women’s basketball team, continuing its free fall out of postseason contention. The Cougars have now lost five-straight games.

WSU dropped the first of its three road games 72-51 in Boulder, Colorado on Friday night. Colorado started with a different lineup than usual and spread the ball around to many different players to give the Cougars some unfamiliar looks.

The Cougars have been in a shooting slump for the last few weeks, and the trend continued against the Buffaloes. Even without their two forwards, junior Jamee Swan and senior Jen Reese, in the starting lineup, the Buffaloes were strong on defense and contested most of WSU’s shots.

Throughout the first half, WSU succeeded in taking away Colorado’s first look. But the home team passed the ball well and won the rebounding battle to help create second-chance shots. At the end of the first 20 minutes, Colorado led 41-20.

The opening of the second period saw the Cougars stiffen up on defense, and the Buffs shot 4-10 from the field over the first ten minutes. Unfortunately WSU could not capitalize on this defensive stretch, and only cut Colorado’s lead to 13.

The Cougars went cold after that, shooting 7-18 in the final 10 minutes of the game, allowing Colorado to finish with a 21-point lead. Colorado’s strong defense fueled its offense to go 9-15 and keep its double-digit lead intact.

Both teams scored 31 points in the second half, but it was the Buffaloes’ strong performance early that propelled them to victory. They ended the game shooting 41.9 percent, led by senior forward Jen Reese with 14 points and nine rebounds. Their second leading scorer was senior guard Lexi Kresl with 12 points.

Head Coach June Daugherty continued her recent trend of giving young players chances to see time on the court. Freshman center Bianca Blanaru had three rebounds, freshman guard Caila Hailey had four points, and Pinelopi Pavlopoulu, another freshman guard, added two points and a rebound. All of them played limited minutes.

One freshman that has seen a lot of time on the court lately is forward Louise Brown. She was active all night and had a team-high 11 rebounds while scoring four points. Unfortunately, those young players all were quiet offensively, going 5-14 as a group from the field.

Another factor that hurt the Cougars was that senior guard Tia Presley and junior guard Lia Galdeira both struggled to score. Presley finished with 12 points on 5-14 shooting, and Galdeira shot 23.8 percent from the field for 13 points.

They were a combined 2-16 from three, and as a team, WSU shot 3-24 from beyond the arc. The real surprise was Galdeira, who averages 40 percent from the field. Without any player really stepping up and scoring big, WSU could not keep up.

Poor field goal shooting has become a common problem for WSU over the last few games. The team has managed to stay in games with strong defense and free throws, shooting 74.4 percent on average at the line. But on Friday. the Cougars were 4-7 from the line.

Colorado out-hustled and out-positioned the Cougars for rebounds all night, adding to the Cougars’ downfall.

Their next game is on Sunday against Utah in Salt Lake City. Tipoff is set for 11 a.m. and will be airing on the Pac-12 Networks.

Reporting by Steffen Stroup