Feb. 13, 2003
PULLMAN, Wash. - The streak is over.
The win snapped the Cougars' school record 45-game losing streak, which was the second longest in NCAA Division I history. It marked the first victory for the program since Nov. 29, 2001 when WSU defeated Gonzaga 80-72 at Pullman. It also halted a 34-game Pac-10 losing skid as the Cougars registered their first conference win since Feb. 24, 2001, a 74-59 triumph over, coincidentally, Cal in Pullman.
WSU improved to 1-21 overall and 1-13 in the Pacific-10 Conference. California dropped to 8-14 overall and 4-9 in the conference.
"When you get punched in the head 21 times it's fun to get that one blow back," said WSU coach Sherri Murrell, who recorded her first career coaching victory as a Cougar. "It's been two years for our players. It's been a long time coming and I am so proud of them.
"We've been way too close all season long and it is great for this program," added Murrell.
After concluding the opening 20 minutes with a 29-25 lead, WSU quickly opened up a 38-29 advantage at the 17:11 mark of the second half.
Cal scored 11 of the next 16 points to pull within 43-40 at the 12:56 mark. WSU extended its lead back to seven at 49-42 but a 9-2 Cal run brought the Bears back to 51-49 with 6:20 left.
On three occasions Cal pulled to within one and finally took the lead at 58-57 courtesy of a Leigh Gregory bucket with 2:04 left.
But McCall immediately responded with a three-pointer that gave the Cougars a 60-58 lead.
"I was open," McCall said of her three-pointer. "I do work on the shot in practice. It was a big shot and I was ready to take it. I wanted the win."
McCall also added eight boards and was a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line.
The Bears tied it at 60 on a Kiki Williams' basket but an Egeland trey propelled WSU to a lead it would not relinquish at 63-60 with 1:15 left.
A pair of Williams' free throws brought Cal to within 63-62 but four free throws (two each by McCall and Egeland) gave the Cougars a five-point advantage at 67-62.
A bucket by Cal's Renee Wright sliced the Cougars' lead to 67-64 but WSU was able to run the clock out when in bounding the ball.
WSU shot 24-of-52 (46.2 percent) for the game including 12-of-24 in the second half. Cal was even better in the second half with a 14-of-25 (56 percent) performance but was 10-of-29 in the first half.
In addition, the Cougars were 14-of-18 from the line including 10-of-11 in the second half.
"We've been in this position too many times and came up short," said Egeland. "When we hit that 10-minute mark in the second half, we all looked at each other because we know that is the time when teams go on runs. We all said we are winning this game. We weren't panicking or anything. We were just ready to get it done."