Cougars put the Huskies in the Pound

From staff reports

A big second-half push propelled the Washington State women’s basketball team to a much-needed win on the road against their rivals, the University of Washington, 83-72. The Cougars had four players score in the double digits to help keep their post-season tournament hopes alive.

Junior guard Lia Galdeira led the team with 23 points and had eight assists, eight rebounds and two steals. Senior guard Tia Presley had her best game in recent memory as she scored 17 and had four assists. Junior forward Mariah Cooks had another nice game with 16 points and eight rebounds. Another big performer was junior guard Dawnyelle Awa who scored 11 points and was three for four from three-point range.

Freshman forward Louise Brown led the team with 10 rebounds and also had seven points and two steals.

Veteran players have stepped up over the past few games and are keeping the Cougars’ NCAA tournament hopes alive. After a five-game losing streak, WSU has played with a sense of urgency in their last two games as their regular season comes to its end.

Big scoring nights from some of the Huskies most talented players was not enough to keep them in the game in the second half. Senior guard Jazmine Davis scored 23 points, had eight rebounds and six assists. Sophomore guard Kelsey Plum had 18 points and four rebounds, and junior forward Talia Walton had 14 points and four rebounds.

Plum, who leads the Pac-12 in scoring, was five for 18 from the field, good for 27.7 percent. Even though she scored in double digits, she still had an off night and was never able to get into a rhythm. WSU showed defensive toughness by slowing down such a talented player, who is among the finalists for the John R. Wooden Award list, one of the most prestigious college basketball awards.

Unfortunately for UW, they could not match the offensive output of the Cougars, who were 46.5 percent from the field and went eight for 12 from the free throw line. The Huskies performed admirably, going 24 for 57 from the field and 18 for 21 from three-point range, but struggled from the free throw line going six for 20. WSU out-rebounded their rivals 40 to 34, which made a big difference in the second half.

Davis and the Huskies did a nice job in the first half and went into the break with a 38-33 lead, but collapsed defensively in the second period. The Cougars came out of the break and put together a strong offensive run, outscoring UW 50-34.

Now, coming off two nice conference wins, WSU is in good position to enter the Pac-12 tournament with a high seed and is currently in seventh place in the conference.

The Huskies will return to Pullman with the Cougars for their next match-up in Beasley. The game will tip off at 1 p.m. on Sunday, and can be seen on the Pac-12 networks.

Reporting by Steffen Stroup