Galdeira, Awa fuel fire versus Montana State

THE ANKLE injury Lia Galdeira suffered against Gonzaga did not seem to hobble her one bit against Montana State on Saturday afternoon. The Cougars cruised to an 82-61 victory over the Bobcats behind a 26-point performance from the junior guard. Dawnyelle Awa exploded for a season-high in points to complement Galdeira, who played with Awa in high school in Hawaii.

In a game where Tia Presley struggled to get hot initially, the duo of Galdeira and Awa propelled the women's basketball team that is off to its best start in nearly 20 years. Awa, who is also a junior guard, finished with 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting, which was representative of an accurate team shooting percentage of 44 percent. The Cougars came in with a 39.4 shot percentage. A stretch late in the first half actually featured the Cougars dropping nine of their 10 shots.

Presley eventually totaled 13 points, sinking four of her 15 attempts from the field. The senior scored only five points in the first half. In fact, Presley did not score her first points until 7:26 remaining in the first half. It was Galdeira who paced the Cougars early in the game, storming out of the gate with eight of the team's first 10 points. She entered Saturday as the Cougars' second-leading scorer, averaging 18.8 points per game behind Presley's average of 19.6 points per contest.

Turnovers looked as though they could plague the Cougars at the beginning of the matchup. In approximately the first six minutes, the Cougars committed eight turnovers, but then settled down and finished the first half with a total of 10. At the halfway mark, the Cougars held a 14-point lead, which they maintained and extended in the second half. Washington State's lead swelled to as many as 27 late in the second half.

When the final buzzer sounded, the Cougars had turned the ball over 17 times, compared to Montana State's 25. That discrepancy led to a 28-16 point differential off of turnovers, in favor of the Cougars. Washington State's slow start, during which it could not control the basketball effectively, faded into a distant figment of the past. When all was said and done, Galdeira's stalwart defense paced the Cougars. Her five steals were a significant part of the team's total of 11.

Washington State improved to 8-2 this season. On Monday, the Cougars will play their final game before the beginning of Pac-12 conference play. That game begins at 2 p.m. against Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, Calif.

  • Washington State won the battle on the glass, grabbing 45 rebounds compared to Montana State's 40. Louise Brown led the team in rebounds with six, with Galdeira and Shalie Dheensaw adding five apiece.

  • Saturday was an afternoon of second chances for the Cougars as well. They outscored the Bobcats in second-chance points, 11-4. That difference was aided by a 16-10 Cougar victory in the offensive rebounding category.

  • 942 people were on hand in Beasley Coliseum for the Cougars' final home game before the turn of the calendar.

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