Cougars Finish Strong but come up Short Against Beavers

The WSU (17-16, 11-9) women’s basketball team rallied late, but Oregon State (23-9, 15-5) was able to hold on to win the Pac-12 semifinal 70-60 on Saturday night.

Things got scary for the Cougars early on when sophomore guard Lia Galdeira hit the floor hard and landed on her left wrist four minutes into the game.

Galdeira returned a few minutes later with her wrist taped, and she ended up scoring 16 points on the night, which pushed her past Stanford’s Nnemkadi Ogwumike’s single Pac-12 Tournament scoring record with 64 points.

However, the story of the game was Oregon State’s ability to beat WSU on the perimeter and down low.

Ruth Hamblin, OSU’s 6-foot-6 sophomore center, took over the game defensively and made it difficult for the Cougars to score points in the lane. The Cougars made only 26 of their 80 shots from the field.

Hamblin, who set the conference record for blocks in a season this year, swatted away seven of the Cougars shots in the game.

“There is a reason our field goal defense is 1-thousandth of a point behind Stanford’s for second in the conference,” Oregon State Head Coach Scott Rueck said. “And having the Pac-12’s top shot blocker in (Hamblin) back there certainly doesn’t hurt that.”

OSU freshman guard Sydney Wiese led all scorers with 20 points and knocked down a game-high four 3-pointers. The Beavers made 10-of-22 shots from beyond the arc.

The play on both sides of the floor earned OSU a 55-33 lead with 8:08 left in the game.

However, the emergence of Galdeira and junior guard Tia Presley in the late stages of the game helped the Cougars finish on a 27-15 run.

The duo, which had 8 points at halftime, finished the game with 34. Presley led all WSU scorers with 18 points, and she also had nine rebounds and three assists.

With the win, the Beavers move on to play Southern California in the Pac-12 Championships at 6 p.m. tomorrow.