Sophomore guard Lia Galdeira led all scorers with 29 points and junior guard Tia Presley added 17 for the Cougars (5-5) who shot 38 percent from the floor. Galdeira also made five steals. Dayton, who has appeared in four straight NCAA Tournaments, improved to 3-4 after shooting 47 percent, including eight threes, and owning a 54-31 rebounding advantage.
Dayton opened the game on fire from the outside, hitting four threes in first seven minutes and quickly built a double-digit lead. The Cougars eventually settled in and put together a 12-4 run as Galdeira capped the streak with five straight points, hitting a layup and then knocked a long three from straight away that cut the Flyers lead to nine.
Dayton took a 41-26 lead at the break after shooting 50 percent from the floor while the Cougars were held to 25 percent.
Washington State settled in during the opening minutes of the second half and used threes from sophomore guard Dawnyelle Awa and Galdeira to again make it a nine-point game. The Cougars traded baskets with the Flyers before senior guard Brandi Thomas got her baseline floater to fall and Presley scored the next five points, using a pair of steals to score a couple easy layups and Galdeira followed with a layup to make it a six-point game with 11:24 remaining.
The Flyers answered with six straight points to end the Cougars run. Galdeira later hit three free throws to again make it a nine-point game, 68-59 at the 6:44 mark. Minutes later, Galdeira knocked down a three from the left wing to keep Dayton’s lead at nine. But again, the Flyers answered, this time with a three and they went on to hit nine of their final 10 free throws to post the victory.
The Cougars will host UC Riverside in Kennewick, Wash. Wednesday at 4 p.m.