CougGals can't hang on vs. No. 9 Beavers

THE WSU women's basketball team built a commanding early lead Friday at No. 9-ranked Oregon Sate that carried into the second half, but late shooting woes and a resurgent Beavers attack left the Cougars with their fourth-straight loss, a 73-70 nail biter. In addition, WSU standout center Shalie Dheensaw (pictured above) looked to be injured badly on the game's last play.

The Beavers (15-1, 5-0) turned the ball over 15 times in the first half alone as the Cougars went ahead 39-30 after the first 20 minutes. It seemed as though Washington State (10-6, 1-4), who entered the contest first in the Pac-12 in turnover margin, was going to topple the Beavers by forcing mistakes and capitalizing on the other end. The Cougars ended up forcing 23 Oregon State turnovers, and outscored the Beavers 30-7 in points off of turnovers.

Yet, the Beavers remained poised, and they waited for the Cougars to make mistakes of their own. Although the Cougars took care of the basketball fairly well (nine turnovers in the game), they faltered midway through the second half when the Beavers mounted a 13-2 run that sunk the Cougar lead down to 2 with less than 10 minutes to play.

The basket was not kind to the Cougars in the second half (32.4 shot percentage compared to 44.7 percent in the first half), and they seemingly could not do anything during the Beavers' run to coax the ball in the hoop. In fact, the Beavers seemingly built a dam in front of the basket as there was a point in the second period when the Cougars shot 2 for 15 from the field. With the lead decimated, the game turned into a see-saw battle down the stretch.

The Beavers were able to tie the game at 58-58 with under seven minutes to go, and from there, the lead changed six times until about 3 and a half minutes remained in the contest. As the game got down to the wire, the Cougars were in a position where they needed scoring, but they also might have to play the foul game to manipulate the score enough to win. Unfortunately for them, their two leading scorers, Lia Galdeira (pictured above) and Tia Presley, were in foul trouble, making it increasingly difficult to keep them on the floor and also use them to foul the Beavers. Both finished with four fouls apiece.

The Cougars managed to be in a position to send the game to overtime, aided by what helped them succeed early in the game: turnovers. With 35 seconds to play, Oregon State turned the ball over, and Galdeira was fouled on the ensuing possession with the Cougar deficit at two. She made only one of the two free throws, leaving the Beavers ahead, and when the Beavers went up by three after a turn at the foul line, Galdeira missed a trio of three-pointers to try to tie the game and send it to overtime.

Galdeira still led the Cougars with 21 points, and Tia Presley contributed 17. Dheensaw also had a strong game with 14 points and 10 rebounds to record a double-double, but she went down on the game's final play with what appeared to be a right knee injury and was writhing in pain. The game marked her 50th-straight start for the Cougars.

All the scoring and defense went for naught, though, as the Cougars finished the game 0 for 4 from the field, while the Beavers finished a perfect 5 of 5.

NEXT UP: The Cougars play Sunday at Oregon at 1 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks).

  • Oregon State dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Cougars 46-32 on Friday.

  • The Beavers narrowly edged the Cougars in second-chance points, 8-7.

  • Nine blocks helped the Beavers keep the Cougars away from the scoring column at times. By comparison, Washington State only recorded one block in the game.

  • The turnovers definitely helped the Cougars in the fastbreak category as the team outscored the Beavers 16-0 on the fastbreak.

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