Big wins becoming habit for CouGals

PULLMAN — The historic season continued for the Washington State women's basketball after they overcame a subpar performance from the free-throw line to knock off their third ranked opponent of the season. Guards Lia Galdeira and Tia Presley combined for 34 points Friday night to lead the Cougars to a 70-60 win over No. 21 Colorado in Pac-12 play.

After 10 days away from home, WSU coach June Daugherty was excited to be back in Pullman.

"It's good to be back in Beasley with our Zzu Cru and everybody back, the crowd was amazing tonight," said Daugherty, whose team is 5-0 in conference play for the first time since the 1977-78 season. "It was an exciting game, the energy they give us is why we play so hard. Hats off to the crowd, keep coming back."

The Buffaloes (11-5, 1-4) entered the contest leading the Pac-12 in rebounding margin (plus-7.7) but it was Daugherty's unit who took command of the boards in the upset victory. The Cougars (11-6, 5-0) outrebounded Colorado 42-36, led by Shalie Dheensaw who had a team-high seven boards. Mariah Cooks, Presley and Galdeira each chipped in six rebounds.

"The key for us was to make sure we won the rebounding war because they're so good on the glass and getting second shots," Daugherty said. "Our kids really played tough and they took care of the glass tonight so it's a really exciting win for us and it's great to get another ranked opponent."

In atypical fashion, the Cougars shot just 18-for-31 (58.1 percent) from the foul line -- they entered the contest leading the conference in free throw percentage (72.4). But it was down the stretch where the foul shots began to drop, primarily from Galdeira, who was confident from the line despite her shooting woes from the field.

Galdeira shot just 4-of-14 from the field, 2-of-7 from three-point range.

"She got to the line, she went 7-for-8, I thought she came up with some big steals and big rebounds," Daugherty said. "She's playing hard and no doubt in my mind she's always going to be there to hit the big buckets."

ALONG WITH SCORING efforts of Presley and Galdeira, it was Taylor Edmondson who made a difference, knocking down back-to-back three's midway through the second half and at a point where scoring opportunities were scarce for both teams.

"When I got my open shots we moved the ball really well," Edmondson said. "They made good passes for me to get shots."

Daugherty said due to a concussion, Edmondson hadn't practiced for more than a month but she couldn't have stepped in a bigger way than with her two key long-distance jumpers.

Scoring came from nearly everyone regardless of the fact that WSU only had two players in double figures. All five starters had at least six points in the win. Dawnyelle Awa and Sage Romberg finished the game with eight and six points, respectively.

"It's always great to see everybody contributing, in the beginning we weren't getting much of that," Presley said. "We found a way to start working together, you see everyone is starting to score a bunch, everyone is getting good open shots. We're such a hard team to play against when we have such balanced scoring."

Next up for Daugherty's group is the finale of their two-game home stand, a 12 p.m. Sunday contest against Utah, (7-9, 0-5).

"We have to continue to get better, that's what this group has been about all year ever since the summer when we went on the foreign trip," Daugherty said. "You can't be complacent, it's going to come down to the last week, who gets the title this year and every game is so critical.

Presley, who was heard celebrating from the hallway after the victory, understands the importance of each conference win.

"I'm going to continue to celebrate every time we get a win in Pac-12 because every win is so meaningful," she said. "We might be more excited than most teams but we're doing something really special over here."

  • Following her double-double performances against Washington, Dheensaw was everywhere on the stat sheet tonight with eight points to go along with her seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one steal.

  • The Cougars defeated three ranked teams in one season for the first time since the 1994-95 season.

  • Attendance for the game was 1,423.

  • Defensively, WSU held Colorado to 23-58 shooting from the field (39.7 percent).

  • Presley shot just 30 percent from the line (3-10) but was 7-of-10 from the field and had a game-high four steals.

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