Cougars fall to No. 15 Stanford after overtime rally falls short

Senior guard Tia Presley looks towards the basket against the California Bears on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014 in Beasley Coliseum.

Senior guard Tia Presley looks towards the basket against the California Bears on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014 in Beasley Coliseum.

From staff reports

The Cougars were not easily intimidated by Stanford’s ranking. They made the Cardinal fight for every point they made and forced the game into overtime.

The Cougars (11-5, 1-3 in Pac-12) played scrappy on defense and snagged the ball from Stanford (12-4, 4-0) early on, but the history books were closed when Washington State lost to No. 15 Stanford 86-76 in overtime. With the loss, the Cougars have now fallen in 58 straight games against the Cardinal, the longest current losing streak for the team against a single opponent.

The Cougars opened the game by doing what they do best: forcing turnovers and capitalizing on their opportunities offensively. The team forced the Cardinal into committing eight first half turnovers, which the Cougars turned into nine points.

The two teams traded shots to begin the game at a rapid pace, before the Cougars caught fire with a 9-0 run midway through the first half to build a 20-14 lead.

The Cardinal went on a 5-0 run of their own before WSU freshman Louise Brown capped off the first half with a three pointer in the final seconds to send the Cougars into the half with a 33-28 lead.

The Cougars opened the second half on fire, led by the team’s leading scorer senior Tia Presley. Presley opened the second half with three consecutive three pointers, and propelled the Cougars to a 44-35 lead after the break.

After a Stanford timeout, the Cougars continued their hot shooting with a 6-0 run as senior Shalie Dheensaw, junior Lia Galdeira, and Presley exchanged baskets to expand the Cougars’ lead to 52-41 with 13:24 left in regulation.

Stanford then scored nine consecutive points to draw within three, but WSU freshman Pinelopi Pavlopoulou answered with a key three pointer to extend the lead to six.

The teams went back and forth for the next few minutes, until an 8-0 run by Stanford resulted in a 66-65 lead for the Cardinal with just over two minutes remaining.

After the teams traded free throws for the next minute and a half, Stanford senior Bonnie Samuelson drained a three pointer to give the Cardinal a 71-69 lead with 11 seconds remaining. The Cougars responded with a quick layup from Galdeira as time expired, sending the game into overtime.

In overtime, the Cougars would lose arguably one of their best post players when junior Mariah Cooks fouled out on a loose ball foul to open the period. The Cardinal then opened the game up with a 9-2 run, and made key free throws late to secure an 86-76 victory.

Presley finished the game with a team-leading 23 points, and Galdeira followed with 18. Galdeira also led the team with seven rebounds, six assists and three steals.

The Cougars had trouble stopping the Cardinal on the boards, and were out-rebounded 44-39 in total and 33-25 defensively.

The game had six lead changes and nine ties between the two teams. However, the Cougars led for 29:30, while the Cardinal led for only 11:10.

With the loss, the Cougars extended their current losing streak to three games, all three of which were against Pac-12 opponents. The Cougars will head back on the road to face the Oregon State Beavers Thursday night at 6 p.m. in Corvallis and can be seen on the Pac-12 Networks.

Reporting by Curtis Calhoun