SEATTLE – Four players scored in double figures for Washington State who posted an 85-76 victory over Washington in Alaska Airlines Arena Saturday.
The Cougars improved to 10-6 overall and start conference play 4-0 for the first time since the 1977-78 team opened Northwest Women’s Basketball League play 5-0. WSU also posted its first win over the Huskies (8-7, 1-3 Pac-12) in Seattle since 1993 after dropping the last 20 meetings and also records a regular-season sweep of UW for the first time since 1975.
Junior guard Tia Presley led the Cougars with 29 points, 23 coming in the first half, while junior center Shalie Dheensaw picked up her second straight double-double with a career-high 20 points along with 13 rebounds and two blocks. Sophomore guard Lia Galdeira finished with 14 points, recording 12 in the second half after being hit with two fouls early in the first half. Sophomore forward Mariah Cooks led a spirited Cougar bench with 11 points and eight rebounds.
The Cougars shot over 47 percent for the game and committed a season low seven turnovers while holding Washington to 37 percent shooting in the second half and owned a 17-2 advantage in bench points. The teams traded leads 12 times throughout the game. Senior forward Sage Romberg’s three with 2:19 left broke a tie and the Cougars came up with some big defensive stops in the final minute to pick up their second straight win over Washington after posting an 82-80 win in Pullman Tuesday.
The Cougars used an 11-0 run behind two 3-pointers from Presley and one from sophomore guard Alexas Williamson to take an early double-digit lead. Washington countered with a 12-2 run before a 9-2 WSU stretch was capped by sophomore forward Mariah Cooks’ left hook, giving the Coguars a 25-21 lead at the 7:34 mark.
The Huskies owned a three-point lead late in half before Presley caught fire, scoring six straight for the Cougars to send WSU into the break up 42-40 after scoring 23 in the first 20 minutes.
In the first half, Washington State shot over 48 percent from the floor and hit five threes while the Huskies shot 40 percent from the field.
The Cougars pushed their lead to 57-49 with an 11-3 run in the opening minutes of the second half. Dheensaw scored six points during that stretch and Cooks came alive with a rebound putback at the end of the run before later hitting a jumper from the right elbow for a five-point WSU advantage at the 11:52 mark.
Washington fought back with a 9-2 run and eventually took a 67-65 lead with 6:31 remaining but Galdeira came up with a big shot, hitting a three from straight away with a defender in her face. Galdeira then connected on a baseline juper and Dheensaw added another bucket as both teams traded baskets.
Minutes later Romberg put the Cougars up for good with a three in the right corner with 2:19 remaining. Galdeira then answered a Huskie bucket with two free throws and again answered a UW basket with a driving layup for a five-point lead with 58 seconds left. Dheensaw capped her career night with two free throws with 37 seconds left and the Cougars came up with two defensive stops before Galdeira corralled a loose ball and went coast-to-coast for game’s final points.
Washington State hosts the University of Colorado Friday at 7 p.m. and the University of Utah next Sunday at Noon. Sunday’s game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.