Cougar women no longer unbeaten


WSU forward Sage Romberg competes with a Utah defender during a home game against the Utes, Sunday, Jan. 19. The Cougars fell to the Utes by a final score of 59-57.

Robin Dich Evergreen Women's basketball reporter

When the final buzzer sounded and the teams left the court, WSU women’s basketball Head Coach June Daugherty had to do something she hadn’t done all year: address her squad after a conference loss.  

The Cougars suffered their first defeat in Pac-12 play against the Utah Utes on Sunday, falling by a final score of 59-57.

The lady Cougars (11-7, 5-1) played without their star sophomore guard, Lia Galdeira. Daugherty said it was a coach’s decision and there was no specific injury, Galdeira was just “banged up.”

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With nine seconds left in regulation, the game was tied at 57-57. WSU junior Tia Presley put up a jumper as the shot clock expired and Sage Romberg corralled the offensive rebound; however, after going to the monitors, the officials ruled that the ball did not touch the rim. This gave the Utes (8-9, 1-5) the ball with a chance to win the game.  

On the inbound play, Utah elected to go with the hot hand and found senior forward Michelle Plouffe in the post. As she was being triple-teamed, she got the tough shot up to get the basket. Plouffe ended the game with 17 points and six rebounds.

“Late in the game we had a couple of miscues defensively and allowed their front line to get going, obviously their front line is very talented,” Daugherty said.

With three seconds left, the Cougars had one shot left to either tie it or grab the win. Presley caught the inbound pass around half court, took a couple of steps and launched a 3-pointer but was not able to get the basket.

Presley was 5-of-14 from the field and finished with 13 points. Romberg (12 points) and Taylor Edmondson (eight points) made some big shots down the stretch to keep WSU in the game.

“This loss definitely stings, but I think we should have a lot of confidence in the next few games because we started out really well. We don’t want this to be continuous losses; we want to turn it around,” Romberg said.

Junior center Shalie Dheensaw, who’s played well in conference games this season, battled with foul trouble and was only able to see playing time for 18 minutes.

“Personally it was frustrating, but at the same time I trust Hana (Potter) for coming in 100 percent, and I don’t doubt that she did exactly what she was supposed to do and she did it great,” Dheensaw said. “Personally it’s frustrating because obviously I want to be out there.”

The Cougars look to bounce back on their road trip against Oregon and Oregon State this weekend.