LOS ANGELES – Washington State dropped a Pac-12 Conference road contest 79-72 to UCLA at Pauley Pavilion Sunday.
Sophomore guard Lia Galdeira led the Cougars (12-10, 6-4 Pac-12) with 15 points and four steals. Senior forward Sage Romberg added 12 points and six rebounds and junior guard Tia Presley finished 11 points. Junior center Shalie Dheensaw added eight points while sophomores Alexas Williamson, Talyor Edmondson and Mariah Cooks each scored seven points.
Washington State was held to 38 percent shooting while UCLA (11-12, 5-6 Pac-12) shot over 43 percent from the floor, owned a 47-35 rebounding advantage and went 27-of-36 at the free throw line. The Bruins used a 16-3 run late in the second half and converted at the free throw line in the final minutes to hold off the Cougars.
The Cougars opened the game with a pair of threes from Galdeira and Romberg and later used a 12-4 run to take a two-point lead midway through the first half. Dheensaw and Romberg got things started with rebound putbacks and Presley and Romberg both converted old fashioned three-point plays before Awa capped the run with a driving layup high off the glass for a 31-29 advantage at the 3:41 mark.
The Bruins countered with an 8-2 run before Presley knocked down two free throws just before the half, cutting the UCLA lead to 37-35. Washington State shot over 41 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes while UCLA shot over 46 percent and scored 16 points off of 11 WSU turnovers.
UCLA opened the second half with seven straight points and later took a double-digit lead following an 11-3 run. Washington State countered with a 12-run to tie game at 53 at the 10:33 mark. Galdeira sparked the run with a three, Romberg added a three before Galdeira capped the steak with a rebound putback.
The Bruins answered back with a decisive 16-3 run as the Cougars struggled to get anything to fall during that stretcch, allowing UCLA to build a double-digit lead with 2:35 remaining. WSU made one final run as Edmondson hit a three, Presley followed with a steal and runner before Cooks went coast-to-coast with a steal and layup to cut the UCLA lead to three with 44 seconds remaining.
Washington State was forced to foul and the Bruins knocked down their free throws in the final minute to pick up the win.
The Cougars host Stanford University Friday at 6 p.m. and the University of California Sunday at 2 p.m. Both games will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.