The Utah Utes women’s basketball team (16-13, 8-10) stunned Washington State (14-15, 5-13) on Saturday afternoon 75-69 in what was a gutsy, second-half comeback win in both teams’ regular season finale. Continue reading
Category Archives: WSU Women’s Basketball
In just six days, the Washington State Cougars women’s basketball team will head across the mountains to Seattle for the annual Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament. Similar to other conference tournaments, the winner of championship game (Sunday, 6:00 PDT on ESPN) will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Other teams look to use this tournament to strengthen their NCAA and NIT Tournament resumes, while the remaining teams will simply call it a season after leaving Seattle in this single-elimination tournament.
The Cougars (14-14-, 5-12) will head to the tournament as a surprisingly young team with a chip on its shoulder after what has been a disappointing regular season. After starting off non-conference play 9-2, the Cougars have trudged through their conference schedule. They have lost four of their conference games by a combined nine points, exposing a problem head coach June Daugherty and her teams have had the last several years: The inability to close out games. The Cougars endured a nine-game losing streak which was snapped last Sunday after a 62-61 win against Arizona down in Tucson. On Thursday night, the Cougars shot over 55% from the floor and defeated the Colorado Buffaloes, so if anything is going Washington State’s way, it’s that they have some momentum heading into next week’s tournament.
The Cougars’ struggle this season is not a surprise when you consider they took a blow offensively by losing leading scorers Tia Presley and Lia Galdeira last summer. While Presley was a senior and graduated from WSU, Galdeira, a junior, opted to sign a professional contract with Haskovo 2012, a women’s team located in Bulgaria. However, as the Cougars lost one star to Bulgaria, they gained another from the same country. Enter freshman guard Borislava Hristova, otherwise known as “Bobi Buckets” to her teammates. Tapping into the international recruiting market like the Cougars have done time and time again, Hristova came to Pullman ranked at the No.1 overall international collegiate recruit, according to NetScouts Basketball International.
The recipient of two Pac-12 Freshman of the Week awards, Hristova leads the Cougars in scoring with 16.1 points per game and a field goal percentage of 45.2, both which land her in the top ten for the entire conference. Success doesn’t usually happen this quickly as it has for Hristova in her situation; usually it takes time for European basketball players to adjust to the higher level of competition in the United States, but Hristova’s production has made her one of the conference’s top scoring threats.
With this production as a freshman, it’s terrifying to think about her potential come her junior and senior seasons.
Washington State still has their regular season finale to play before heading to Seattle for the women’s tournament. They will tip-off against the Utah Utes (15-13, 7-10) on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. on what is Senior Day. Prior to the opening tip, the Cougars will honor their four seniors on the roster: guards Dawnyelle Awa, Taylor Edmondson, Alexas Williamson, and forward Mariah Cooks in what will be their final time taking the hardwood at Beasley Coliseum. The Cougars fell to Utah 73-71 earlier this season in Salt Lake City and a victory over them on Saturday would be a nice ending to the Cougars season.
KUGR Radio will have the live broadcast of Washington State’s games at the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament, which gets underway on March 3 at KeyArena in Seattle.
As of right now, the Cougars are the ninth seed in the tournament meaning they will play the eighth seed in the first game of the tournament on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. This weekend’s women’s basketball game results obviously may change the Cougars current seeding, but they can’t fall any further than the tenth seed and can’t receive a higher seeding than the eighth seed due.
By Nate Hanson
It seemed to be smooth sailing for the Washington State Cougars heading into Sunday afternoon’s road contest against the Oregon Ducks. The Cougs had won five of six, including three straight road wins. Oregon was on a six game losing streak and had won only three games all year. However, their lone PAC-12 win came against the Cougs in Beasley Coliseum, and the Ducks once again nipped the Cougs for a 65-60 win.
It’s hard to tell whether the Cougs (10-15, 6-8) were overconfident heading into the game and their inability to make shots was due to a lack of focus, or whether they were just struggling. WSU was 6 of 35 from the field in the first half (17%), a number that would make Pete Maravich roll over in his grave. Oregon (4-22, 2-12) was able to take advantage of the Cougs’ poor shooting and build a 28-15 halftime lead. Similarly to the first matchup, the Cougs would have to make a second half comeback to defeat the Ducks, and similarly to the first matchup they came up short.
WSU shot 40% from the field in the second half, but the Ducks kept pace with the Cougs. Two points was the closest WSU would get after Taylor Edmondson hit a layup with 15 seconds left to make the game 62-60. Oregon was able to hit a couple of late free throws, and Sage Romberg’s trey came up empty, putting the nail in WSU’s coffin.
Lia Galdeira led the way for the Cougs with 19 points, but she was only 8 of 26 from the field. That’s a lot empty possession that ended up costing the Cougs in the end. Mariah Cooks provided good minutes off the bench with 11 points and 6 rebounds. Romberg added 8 points and 7 rebounds in the Cougs’ valiant comeback attempt.
To pull off an upset, the underdog must have someone step up. For Oregon, sophomore guard Jordan Loera was up to the challenge as she had 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Ducks. Loera came into the game averaging 6 ppg. The team’s leading scorer, Jillian Alleyne, added 15 points and 17 rebounds to boost an already impressive freshman campaign. Ariel Thomas added 10 points for the Ducks as well.
The loss Sunday is an obvious setback for the Cougs. WSU was hoping to get to .500 in PAC-12 play, but that will have to wait for at least two more games. Basketball is always unpredictable. For whatever reason, a team sometimes just has the other’s number. Oregon has the Cougs’ on speed dial.
Next up for the Cougs is a road trip to take on Colorado and Utah. The Cougs will face the #20 Buffaloes (9-5, 20-5) in Boulder Friday night at 6. It will be the first matchup of the season between the two teams. You can listen to the game on Hit Radio 104.3 or Newstalk 1150.
By Nate Hanson
Washington State (10-14, 6-7) looks to get to .500 in PAC-12 play with a win over the last-place Oregon Ducks (3-22, 1-12) in Eugene this afternoon. A win for the Cougs would give them their fourth straight conference road win as well.
Oregon’s only PAC-12 win came against the Cougs in Beasley Coliseum three weeks ago, 70-68. The Cougs trailed 36-24 at halftime before mounting a second half comeback that fell just short as Taylor Edmondson’s game-tying jumper came up empty. The loss for the Cougs marked a low point on the season. The loss dropped WSU to 1-6 in PAC-12 play, tied for last with Oregon and Utah at the time. The loss may have been a wakeup call for the Cougs though. WSU has won five of their last six since that loss and moved from tied for last in the PAC-12 to sixth place. Meanwhile, the Ducks have continued to struggle as they have lost their last six games since the win against Washington State.
The Ducks are led by freshman forward Jillian Alleyne who averages 13.4 ppg and 12.1 rpg. Alleyne had 15 points and 13 rebounds in the win against WSU. She also received a lot of help from her supporting cast. Amanda Delgado (10.1 ppg), a sophomore guard, led the Ducks with 21 points on 7 of 13 shooting in their win against the Cougs. Ariel Thomas (10.9 ppg), a junior guard, added 20 points and 11 rebounds of her own. The Ducks have offensive firepower, but it’s been the defense that has let Oregon down this year.
The Ducks give up 77.4 ppg. This means the Cougs should get plenty of opportunities to score. Tia Presley led the Cougs with 16 points in the first matchup, but she tore her ACL at the end of the game, ending her season prematurely. Lia Galdeira had 13 points in the first game. The Cougs are going to need a better effort from Galdeira if they are going to avenge their earlier loss. Galdeira has carried the torch since Presley’s injury and I expect Galdeira to shine once again in this game. Four Cougs, Sage Romberg, Katie Grad, Mariah Cooks and Hana Potter, had 7 points in the previous game. If WSU can get that kind of balanced contribution from their role players again, then the Cougs have a great shot of getting their sixth win in seven games. I look for Carly Noyes to have a big game today. The Cougs outscored the Ducks 40-15 in the paint in the previous matchup. WSU obviously has the advantage down low, and I look for Noyes to capitalize with a double-double performance.
Besides of taking advantage of a porous Ducks defense, the Cougs need to elevate their defensive intensity from the first matchup. Oregon averages 62.1 ppg, but had 70 in their lone PAC-12 win. Delgado hit seven baskets from the behind the arc. Coach Daugherty applauded her team’s defense from Friday night’s 51-49 win over Oregon State. Look for her team to remain aggressive on the defensive end and rattle the Ducks. If the Cougs can hold Oregon to 30 percent shooting, like they did the Beavers on Friday night, WSU will come out with the victory.
Game time is set for 4 this afternoon. You can watch the game on the PAC-12 Networks.
By Nate Hanson
After a come from behind overtime win in their first matchup against the Beavers, it came down to the end again for the Cougs. Lia Galdeira hit a turnaround jumper with three seconds left to give Washington State (10-14, 6-7) a 51-49 win over Oregon State (9-16, 3-10) in Corvallis. The Cougs have now won five of their last six games, and sit in sixth place in the PAC-12.
The Cougs fell behind early in the first matchup against Oregon State, but this time it was the Beavers who trailed WSU at halftime, 29-16. The Beavers’ 16 points is the least amount of points the Cougs have given up in a first half this year. WSU continued to put the pressure on Oregon State in the second half as the Cougs built a 40-24 lead with 15 minutes left. The Beavers continued to fight, but with two minutes left the Cougs still led by 9 and it looked like the game was over. That was before all hell broke loose. Jamie Weisner hit a trey to cut the deficit to 49-43. Then, the Beavers forced three straight turnovers, which led to three buckets for Oregon State who tied the game up with a Weisner layup with 32 seconds remaining. Fortunately for the Cougs, Galdeira was able to erase the memory of a nightmarish 90 seconds with the game winning shot.
Galdeira led the Cougs with 17 points. She also had five rebounds. She got help on the offensive end as well. Sage Romberg stepped up with 13 points and six rebounds. After forcing 22 turnovers in the first matchup, the Cougs defense was up to the challenge again as they forced 18 Beaver turnovers. WSU outscored the Beavers 20-16 in points off turnovers (remember OSU had 6 points off turnovers in the final 2 minutes). The defense also held Oregon State to 30 percent shooting.
Weisner led the Beavers 11 points. She also had 7 rebounds and 3 assists to add to her stat line, but she had 5 turnovers that led to the Beavers digging themselves into the 16-point hole. Alyssa Martin had 9 points on the Beavers behalf as well.
This is the third straight win for the Cougs in Corvallis. For the first time since the 1990-91 season, WSU has won three straight conference road games. Next up for the Cougs is the Oregon Ducks on Sunday afternoon at 4 in Eugene.
By Nate Hanson
Washington State (9-14, 5-7) returns to the hardwood tonight to take on the Oregon State Beavers (9-15, 3-9) in Corvallis. The Cougs are coming off an 80-65 loss at the hands of #17 UCLA. The loss for WSU snapped their 4 game winning streak, which began with a win against the Beavers nearly three weeks ago in Pullman. The Beavers are in the midst of 6-game losing streak.
The game in Pullman started out all Beavers. The Beavers shot 59 percent from the field in the first, which gave them a 38-24 leading going into the halftime intermission. However, Coach Daugherty’s team rallied back in the second half. The Cougs began the second half on a 17-2 run to give them the lead 41-40. The game went back and forth in the final minutes. Alyssa Martin had a chance to hit a game winning three for the Beavers as time expired, but her shot was air-balled, which gave the Cougs new life in overtime. The Beavers opened up a 6 point lead with two minutes remaining in overtime. Not to be outdone though, the Cougs came back and scored the final 9 points of the game to win 76-73.
A big key in the Cougs’ comeback win was that WSU forced 22 turnovers, which led to the Cougs’ 28-13 advantage in points off turnovers. WSU needs to have the same type of defensive effort in order to sweep the season series from the Beavers. It will be tough for the Cougs because Oregon State can get shots inside with Patricia Bright and on the outside with Alyssa Martin, Ali Gibson and Jamie Weisner. Those four players combined for 51 of the Beavers 73 points in the meeting three weeks ago. WSU will not be able to stop all of Oregon State’s scorers. As a result, the Cougs need to limit the Beavers’ balanced offense, and one way to do that is by forcing turnovers.
The Cougs also need Lia Galdeira, the team’s leading scorer averaging 14.7 ppg, to continue to dominate on the offensive end. Galdeira had 22 points in the win against the Beavers. Galdeira cannot do it alone though. Mariah Cooks had a season-high 16 points off the bench for Coach Daugherty’s team in the win in Pullman. Cooks or another Cougs has to step up to carry the offensive load. The Beavers will hone in on Galdeira, which leave open shots for other players. The Cougs need to be ready and knock down the open looks because they will be available.
Finally, WSU needs to get off to a good start. They cannot fall behind by 14 again at half and expect to make another comeback. It’s tough to make that type of comeback in Beasley, much less in Corvallis. Tonight is a good opportunity for the Cougs to begin another win streak and send the Beavers back to their den on a 7 game losing streak.
Game time is set for 7 tonight.
By Nate Hanson
All good things must come to an end. For the Cougs, their 4-game winning streak was snapped this afternoon at the hands of the #17 UCLA Bruins. WSU catapulted from 11th in the PAC-12 standings to 6th, but the Bruins proved why they are a top-25 team. UCLA (19-4, 10-2) was able to extend a 34-32 halftime lead to defeat Washington State (9-14, 5-7) 80-65 and sweep the season series.
In my preview, I said Washington State needed to limit their turnovers. They had 19, which led to 31 Bruins points in the first matchup between the two teams. Today, the Cougs had 18 turnovers, which UCLA converted into 19 points. However, the Cougs did win the battle of the turnovers as the defense forced 23 Bruins turnovers, which led to 27 WSU points. Despite having 18 turnovers, WSU improved in this department. Still, less Coug turnovers would have given WSU more opportunity to put points on the scoreboard.
Additionally, I said “the Cougs must get a hand in a shooter’s face.” The Cougs failed to stall an explosive UCLA offense that shot 64% percent from the field. The Bruins made 30 shots, while only missing 17. This is the definition of efficiency. The Bruins are a balanced offensive team, and they showed it today. Five Bruins finished the game with 10 or more points. Alyssia Brewer, the team’s leading scorer on the season, finished the game with 14 points. Jasmine Dixon put up 14 along with Mariah Williams, who played 31 minutes off the bench as well. Nirra Fields had 12 points and Atonye Nyingifa , who led the Bruins with 17 points in the first meeting, finished with 10. The Bruins massacred the Cougs down low. UCLA nearly doubled the Cougs by outscoring them 50-28 in the paint. Carly Noyes was a no-factor for the Cogs with 5 points and 2 rebounds.
Finally, I said the Cougs needed to have players continue to step up to take some of the pressure of Lia Galdeira. Galdeira did her part by shooting 8 of 14 from the field and finishing with 19 points. Sage Romberg, one of the players to watch in my preview, was the only other Coug in double figures with 10 points. The next highest point total for any Coug was 5 points. I expected a big game out of Katie Grad, but Grad finished with only 3 points.
In the end, the Bruins have been the better team so far this year. Once again, they proved why they’re only losses in PAC-12 play are to Stanford and Cal, both of which have a realistic shot at winning the national championship. Nevertheless, this afternoon’s game was a good benchmark for Coach Daugherty to show her team that there is still work to do and room to improve.
We’ll see how the Cougs handle their first loss in two weeks as they travel to Corvallis to take on the Beavers, the team WSU defeated to begin their 4-game winning streak. Game time is set for Wednesday night at 7. You can hear the action on Hit Radio 104.3. We’ll see if the Cougs can sweep the season series and possibly start another winning streak.
By Nate Hanson
Two weeks ago I sat in Beasley Coliseum preparing for my play-by-play duties as the Cougs and Beavers warmed up on the court. The Cougs were 1-6 in PAC-12 play and coming off a loss to an Oregon Ducks team that had previously won 2 games the entire season. The Beavers had more than 2 wins in PAC-12 play, much less on the season. Additionally, Tia Presley, the team’s second leading scorer, just suffered a season-ending injury. I was expecting to call a 15 point Beaver win over the Cougs. The game was right on track through the first half as OSU led WSU 38 to 24 at the intermission. The Cougs responded and pulled out a 76-73 overtime win. It was the most entertaining women’s college basketball game I had ever seen.
The Cougs have not looked back since. They’re now in the midst of a 4 game winning streak for the first time since the 1994-95 season. They’ve gone from 11th in the PAC-12 to 6th. Without Presley, other girls have been forced to step up. Whether it was Mariah Cooks against the Beavers, or Dawnyelle Awa versus USC, there has been a teammate to step up game after game.
Now the Cougs look to take the next step. They are 9-13 overall and 5-6 in PAC-12 play. They host #17 UCLA (18-4, 9-2) Sunday afternoon with a chance to extend their winning streak to 5 games and get back to .500 in league play; a thought that would have been immediately dismissed two weeks ago.
If the Cougs are going to pull off the upset Sunday, they must forget about the previous matchup against the Bruins down in Los Angeles. UCLA defeated WSU 78-52, which included a 43-21 2nd half whooping. WSU had 19 turnovers, which led to 31 Bruins points. June Daugherty’s team must cut that number in half if they expect to win.
Next, the Cougs must get a hand in a shooter’s face. UCLA shot 56 percent from the field in the last matchup. They made 36 shots on 25 assists. The Bruins excel at moving the ball around on the offensive end, and the Cougs must be quick and communicate defensively. If they don’t, the Bruins could have similar success.
One of the difficulties with guarding the Bruins is that they have so many different offensive weapons. The team’s leading scorer, Alyssia Brewer, averages 11.5 points per game. Markel Walker and Atonye Nyingifa also average more than 11 points per game. The Bruins had 4 players, including Brewer, Walker and Atonye, in double figures in the matchup a month ago. The Cougs are going to have to play physical defense in order to stymie the lethal Bruins offense.
The Cougs need to continue to get production from one of their role players. Lia Galdeira (14.5 ppg) is the obvious threat on the offensive end. UCLA will hone in on her. The Bruins want anyone but Galdeira to beat them Sunday. Of course, the Cougs’ last 4 opponents have tried the same strategy and none of them have been successful.
Two veterans are going to play a pivotal role in the outcome of the ballgame. The first is Sage Romberg. Romberg led the Cougs with 13 points in WSU’s win over UCLA last March in Beasley. She has past success against the Bruins, and she is coming off a monster defensive performance against the Trojans (3 blocks, 3 steals). She needs to carry that momentum into tomorrow afternoon’s game versus UCLA. Also, look out for senior guard Katie Grad. Grad is coming off a 7 point effort against the Trojans, and she is fantastic when it comes to putting on-ball pressure on the opponent’s guards. A few forced turnovers and a 10 point afternoon from Grad would give the Cougs a much-needed boost offensively.
It’s going to be a tough game for Coach Daugherty’s ladies. UCLA’s only losses in PAC-12 play are to Cal and Stanford who are a combined 41-4 this year. The Cougs have defeated one ranked team in Ohio State. A win against UCLA would show that Coach Daugherty’s team and the WSU women’s basketball program has taken the next step.
Game time is set for noon on Sunday at Beasley Coliseum. You can catch all the action on KUGR.org.
By Nate Hanson
The Cougs continued their mid-league run last night with a 57-54 come from behind home victory over the USC Trojans. The win moves the Cougs to 9-13 overall and 5-6 in league play. The Cougs are also riding a four game winning streak, the program’s longest since the 1994-95 season. The loss drops USC to 8-14 overall and 5-6 in PAC-12 play. The two teams are now tied for 6th place in the PAC-12.
Freshman guard Dawnyelle Awa had a career high 11 points and led the Cougs with 5 assists. She hit all three of WSU’s 3-point field goals. The team’s leading scorer, Lia Galdeira, pitched in with 10 points and 6 rebounds.
The Trojans came out putting the pedal to the medal. They opened the game on an 8-0 run and had a double digit lead midway through the first half. The Cougs bounced back and were able to pull within 2 in the first half, before the Trojans hit a 3-point basket to get their lead back up to 5 at the mid-game break, 28-23.
The Cougs’ offense came to life in the second half. After shooting 32 percent from the field in the first half, the women were 13 for 25 shooting in the final 20 minutes. The Cougs took their first lead 41-39 with 12:21 left in the game. From there, it was a back and forth game between two evenly matched teams. WSU led 55-54 heading into the final 50 seconds. A missed go-ahead jumper, followed by a Sage Romberg block on a second chance put-back attempt gave WSU the defensive stand they needed to seal the win. Galdeira hit two free throws to up the final score to 57-54.
The 2nd half offense was critical in the Cougs win, but WSU would not have been in a position to win without great defense. USC shot 32 percent from the field. The Cougs forced 14 turnovers, which led to 19 points, a third of their total points. Romberg finished the game with only 4 points, but it was her defensive performance worth highlighting. She finished the game with 3 steals and 3 blocks. It’s fitting that Romberg was able to seal the win with a block after USC got an offensive rebound (the Trojans had 20 more rebounds than the Cougs).
After a 1-6 start in PAC-12 play, the women now find themselves battling for seeding in the PAC-12 tournament. They’ll take on #17 UCLA Sunday at noon. You can hear the action live on KUGR.org!