WSU bounced from Pac-12 Tournament by No. 10 Stanford


Alexys Swedlund, who scored a game-high 23 points in Thursday’s 79-78 win over Colorado, attempts a jumpshot in a game against Utah on Feb. 23 at Beasley Coliseum.

No. 10 Stanford halted the WSU women’s basketball team’s attempt at a deep Pac-12 Tournament run with stiffling defense.

WSU began the first round in the Pac-12 Tournament on Mar. 2 with a thrilling win against the Colorado Buffaloes, a team they defeated five days earlier in their final regular season game.

The Cougars started out slow against Colorado, trailing by a score of 23-9 with three minutes left in the first quarter. However, sophomore guard Alexys Swedlund scored 10 straight points, flipping the script and fueling a 17-0 run for a Cougar lead.

“This kid to my right [Swedlund] decided to do a highlight reel all in one quarter,” WSU Head Coach June Daugherty said.

The Cougars’ defense also ramped things up in the framer, shutting out Colorado in the first seven minutes of the quarter. WSU outscored Colorado 24-8 and took a four-point lead into the break.

WSU never lost the lead in the second half, but Colorado kept things close, shooting 8-13 from deep in the second half. WSU junior guard Caila Hailey nailed two clutch free-throws to ice the Cougars’ win with 17 seconds left in the game, thwarting a late Buffaloes rally. Hailey secured the rebound from a Colorado off-the-mark final shot and made the last score for a 79-78 Cougar win.

“Caila’s a great passer, so she was seeing me,” Swedlund said. “I think everyone saw Caila, too. She moves so well off the ball.”

Swedlund led the Cougars in scoring with a career-high 23 points on 9-14 shooting, and Hailey added a career-high 17 points. Freshman forward Kayla Washington nearly recorded a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds.

WSU had to regroup the next night for a matchup against Stanford, the No. 2 seed in the tournament. Things could not have gotten off to a worse start for the Cougars against the Cardinal, as the team missed its first 11 shots of the game, falling behind 21-0.

The Cougars cut into the deficit in the second quarter, reducing the lead to 12 points before the Cardinal scored 10 of the final 12 points of the frame to increase their lead to 20 points going into the second half.

Stanford proved to be too talented of a team to overcome for a Cougars squad that suited up just nine players in the game, gradually building its lead to 30 points and coasting to a 66-36 win.

After enjoying their best shooting game in Pac-12 Tournament history against Colorado, the Cougars shot a season-low 24.6 percent from the court on 16-65 shooting and failed to hit a 3-point basket. Senior forward Ivana Kmetovska, with 10 points, was the lone Cougar in double-digit scoring.

WSU awaits a potential Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) bid after finishing seventh in the Pac-12 conference standings. The Pac-12 awards its automatic bid to the first team that did not make the NCAA Tournament regardless of overall record. The Pac-12 projected to have six teams receive bids for the NCAA Tournament.

Following the selection of the NCAA Tournament field on Mar. 13, the WNIT selection committee will announce its 64-team field. The first round of the single elimination tournament begins on Mar. 15 and the tournament championship is slated for Apr. 1.