PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State used seven 3-pointers in the second half to post a 68-59 nonconference victory over Cal State Northridge in Beasley Coliseum Wednesday.
Junior guard Tia Presley led the Cougars (5-4) with 21 points, her fourth 20-point game of the season, and senior forward Sage Romberg recorded 12 points and eight rebounds. Washington State outscored the Matadors 44-29 in the second half after shooting over 43 percent and limiting Cal State Northridge (2-6) to 34 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes. The Cougars tallied 22 second chance points after posting 49-38 rebounding advantage including 21-13 on the offensive boards. Sophomore forward Mariah Cooks grabbed a season-high nine rebounds and junior center Shalie Dheensaw recorded eight boards.
Sophomore guard Lia Galdeira added nine points while fellow sophomore guard Dawnyelle Awa added eight points and a career-high seven assists. Presley also had three assists, two steals and two blocks. Cal State Northridge was led by guard Cinnamon Lister with 21 points.
The Cougars saw a number shots roll off the rim in the opening minutes and Cal State Northridge shot over 40 percent in the first half to build an early lead. The Matadors used an 11-0 run late in the half to own a double-digit advantage but WSU answered with an 8-0 run with Presley scoring six straight points and Romberg capping the run with a layup.
CSUN scored the final bucket of the half to take a 30-24 lead into the break. The Cougars were held to 25.7 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes including 1-for-10 from behind the arc.
Washington State opened the second half with 13 straight points as Awa hit a three before making a steal and going coast-to-coast for a layup. WSU continued to cause havoc on the defensive end and also convert on the offensive end as Romberg knocked a three, Presley added a jumper and Galdeira brought the crowd to its feet with a long three from the right wing, giving the Cougars a 37-30 lead.
The Matadors kept things close with five straight points but sophomore guard Taylor Edmondson hit a three in front of the WSU bench and Awa turned another steal into a bucket, dishing to Presley on a fastbreak for an easy layin and a 10-point lead at the 11:41 mark. Northridge didn’t go away and rattled off seven straight points and later used a 5-0 spurt to cut the Cougar lead to three, 58-55 with 3:10 remaining.
Down the stretch, Washington State turned to its veterans for a couple baskets and that’s what they got with Romberg hitting a long two from straight away and Presley finishing off a drive with a runner in the lane to push the lead back up to seven. Romberg sealed things up for WSU by hitting two free throws and Awa followed with a couple more, as the Cougars went on to post the 68-58 victory.
Washington State will take 11 days off to focus on finals before heading to the Midwest to face the University of Dayton Dec. 15 in Dayton, Ohio.