March 7, 2012
LOS ANGELES - Sophomore guard Brandi Thomas scored 17 points as No. 11 seed Washington State University upset No. 6 seed Oregon State University 65-56 in the opening round of the Pacific Life Pac-12 Tournament Wednesday evening.
The Cougars (12-19) notched their first win at the conference tournament in program history after holding Oregon State (18-12) to 38.3 percent shooting and scoring 20 points off of 16 OSU turnovers.
"We've really challenged ourselves, came out of the preseason with the seventh toughest schedule in the country and went right into the Pac-12 (season) by sweeping the Oregon schools and then unfortunately the injury bug kept coming," said Washington State coach June Daugherty. "These kids kept believing, playing hard and our seniors were phenomenal leaders. It's so exciting to be rewarded with a victory like this."
The Cougars were hot early on as Noyes opened the game with a baseline jumper and then put together a 15-0 run to build a 17-2 advantage. Thomas led the charge, scoring seven straight points on a pair of jumpers and a three. Senior forward Rosie Tarnowski added a free throw before Thomas struck again with a long two from the top of the key. Freshman guard Jordan Kelley came off the bench to hit a three from the right wing and sophomore forward Sage Romberg capped the run with a turnaround jumper from the left elbow.
Oregon State settled in and used an 8-0 run to cut the WSU lead to five, 22-17 with 6:01 remaining. The Cougars countered with a 6-0 spurt as Perkins made a couple steals that led to a pair of fast break layups and a 28-17 Washington State advantage with 3:25 left.
The Beavers again countered with a run, closing the half with a 6-0 stretch of their own to trim the WSU lead to 32-27 at the break.
Thomas led the Cougs with nine points as WSU shot 41.4 percent and registered 12 points off of eight Oregon State turnovers.
Washington State expanded its lead to 10 in the early minutes of the second half after a layin from Noyes, a coast-to-coast layup by Adzasu and a layup by Romberg.
Oregon State answered with a 13-4 run that made it a one point game, 45-44 with 8:52 remaining. The Cougars turned to its seniors over the next couple minutes as Adzasu added a driving layin, Tarnowski knocked down two free throws and Perkins hit a long two with the shot clock winding down. Perkins jumper opened up a 51-44 lead with 5:06 to go.
The Beavers followed with an old-fashioned three-point play to make it a four-point game but Thomas came up big once again, grabbing a rebound and quickly going back up for a layup while getting fouled. She hit the free throw and Noyes followed with another layin to put the Cougs up for good, owning a nine-point lead with 3:35 remaining.
Washington State went on to hit its free throws and seal the game with a late layup by Perkins.
The Cougars advance to Thursday's quarterfinal round against No. 3 seed USC. Tipoff is slated for 7:15 p.m. at the Galen Center.
GAME NOTES The Cougars notch their first win ever in the Pac-12 Conference tournament, having lost its previous 10 matchups...the 12 wins are the most by a WSU team since the 1997-98 team also won 12 games.