KENNEWICK, Wash. – Lia Galdeira scored 23 of her team-high 26 points after intermission to lead Washington State to a 77-73 victory over UC Riverside in nonconference women’s basketball at the Toyota Center, Wednesday.
With the victory, the Cougars improved to 6-5 while the loss dropped the Highlanders to 4-6. It also avenged a 71-65 loss to UC Riverside in Southern California last season.
Tia Presley finished with 24 points and a team-high 11 rebounds to record the first double-double by a Cougar this season. It was also the second-straight year Presley posted a double-double against the Highlanders.
Sage Romberg chipped in 14 points and six rebounds. Her two free throws with 20.1 seconds left tied the score 66-66 and sent the game into overtime.
“The key was (Sage) Romberg making the two free throws to get us to overtime,” Cougar Head Coach June Daugherty said. “Once we got to overtime, I thought we were in control from the start of the period.”
After the Highlanders scored the first bucket of the extra session, The Cougars scored five-straight points to take a 71-68 lead. A backdoor layup by Presley after a no-look pass by Galdeira put Washington State on top by three with 2:18 left.
Kiara Harewood, who finished with 12 points and a game-high 14 rebounds for UC Riverside, tied the game on a 3-pointer with 1:57 remaining. Galdeira responded with a layup and a jumper to give the Cougars a 75-71 lead with 55 seconds left and the sophomore added a pair of free throw down the stretch to seal the victory.
Washington State built a 51-39 lead with 13:06 left in regulation before the Highlanders rallied. The Cougars managed just two fields goals in a little over 10 minutes, both by Galdeira, and UC Riverside closed to within 62-61 with 3:03 remaining.
Another field goal by Galdeira stretched the lead to three, but the Highlanders responded with a basket by Simone DeCoud, who finished with 15 points and two of Brittany Crain’s game-high 29 points to grab a 65-64 lead. DeCoud converted the front end of a 1-and-1 with 22.6 seconds left, but Romberg came down with the rebound before being fouled.
The game was tight early with four lead changes in the first six minutes. The Highlanders then went on a 12-3 run to take a 25-16 lead with 10:22 left in the first half. Crain and DeCoud each contributed five points during the spurt.
The Cougars trailed 30-22 before closing the first half on a 9-0 run to take a 31-30 advantage at intermission. Romberg led the way with five points during the stretch including a second chance field goal with 1.4 seconds left in the half to put Washington State on top.
Washington State closes out its nonconference schedule hosting Gonzaga, Saturday at 11:30 a.m.