PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State women’s basketball opened Pac-12 Conference play by knocking off No. 24/25 Arizona State University 85-78 in Beasley Coliseum Friday.
Sophomore guard Lia Galdeira led all scorers with 27 points while going 10-of-12 at the free throw line for the Cougars (7-6, 1-0 Pac-12) who recorded their fourth straight win over the Sun Devils (11-2, 0-1 Pac-12) after sweeping all three meetings last season. For the first time since 2001, WSU owns two wins over ranked teams this season (76-72 at No. 10/10 Nebraska).
Washington State overcame a four-point halftime deficit by shooting over 58 percent in the second half. WSU had four players score in double figures and outscored the Sun Devils 49-30 inside the paint. Junior guard Tia Presley tallied 17 points while sophomore forward Mariah Cooks registered 11 points and six rebounds. Senior Sage Romberg scored all 10 of her points in the second half and junior center Shalie Dheensaw finished the game with nine points, eight rebounds and three blocks. For the game, the Cougars shot 50 percent from the field while ASU was held to 31 percent in the second half and 41 percent for the game.
WSU withstood a hot start by Arizona State by using an 18-5 run to erase a double-digit deficit late in the first half. Presley started the run with layup after receiving a backdoor pass from Cooks at the 8:02 mark. Galdeira later brought the Beasley Coliseum to its feet with a three in the left corner before sophomore guard Dawnyelle Awa and Presley capped the run with fastbreak layups for a two-point lead late in the half.
Arizona State closed the half with the final two baskets to own a 38-34 lead at the break.
Minutes into the second half, the Cougars caught fire and exploded on a 10-0 run to build a five-point advantage after a Presley three from the left wing. Galdeira extended the run with a driving layin, finishing with the left hand and senior forward Hana Potter capped WSU’s 14-2 stretch with a layup, giving the Cougars a 54-47 advantage at the 11:48 mark.
The Sun Devils used five straight points and started to hit their free throws to stay within a basket of the Cougars for much of the second half. Arizona State went 28-of-43 from the charity stripe on the night including 23-for-33 in the second half as three Cougars fouled out.
In the final minutes, Washington State received back-to-back buckets from Romberg and Presley that pushed the lead to seven with 2:09 left but ASU made it a one-point game by hitting six straight free throws, the last cutting the WSU advantage to 76-75 with 1:22 remaining. Galdeira came up big when WSU needed her most, hitting six straight free throws while the Cougar defense made some crucial stops in the final 1:02 to hold off the Sun Devils. Romberg sealed things up with three free throws in the final 24 seconds.
Washington State hosts the University of Arizona Sunday at Noon on the Pac-12 Networks.