The team who played harder and best took care of the "little things" was always going to win this one. And winning those first two minutes of the second half certainly qualified in both respects.
WSU forced two quick turnovers to erase a 32-26 deficit on buckets by Brandi Thomas, Tia Presley and Carly Noyes. Just like that, the first half Gonzaga scoring runs of 11-0 and 9-0 were gone and forgotten.
For Washington State (4-7), the 57-51 win on Saturday was a big deal. Gonzaga entered the game 10-3 and was receiving votes in the polls. And much of the luster of the Cougs' upset victory over No. 19 Ohio State had faded by the time the Cougs pulled into Spokane on Saturday with a 3-7 mark.
But Washington State took the lead for good on a Sage Romberg trey at the 14:00 mark. It was still anyone's game until the final seconds, with Gonzaga never trailing by more than five points until Lia Galdeira buried a 3-pointer with 40 seconds left to push the lead to 55-48.
But WSU found something in those first possessions of the second half. And they played like it the rest of the way.
Presley led WSU with 15 points, freshman forward Mariah Cooks added 12 off the bench and Galdeira chipped in 11. Cooks came through big on the line over the final four minutes, hitting 6-of-8 free throws.