Nov. 20, 2005
PULLMAN, Wash. - Overcoming a slow start with a strong second-half performance, the Washington State women's basketball team improved to 2-0 with a 53-43 win over St. Mary's College, Sunday at Beasley Coliseum.
Junior Kate Benz (Portland, Ore.) recorded a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds while fellow junior Adriane Ferguson (Spokane, Wash.) just missed a double-double of her own with 12 points and nine boards.
The freshmen duo of Ebonee Coates and Katie Appleton also hit double-digits as Coates pulled down 12 boards while Appleton pitched in 10 points for the Cougars, who won their first two games for the second time since head coach Sherri Murrell's arrival to the program in 2002.
Jontelle Smith led St. Mary's with a game-high 16 points.
Benz, the Pacific-10 Conference leader in rebounding last year, posted her 12th career double-double while Appleton initiated her WSU career with two consecutive double-digit scoring games (scored 15 points vs. Pepperdine, Nov. 18).
Both teams struggled at the outset as WSU missed 15 of its first 16 shots. The Gaels missed 12 of their first 15 attempts but still went in to the half enjoying a 20-18 advantage.
St. Mary's extended its lead to 23-20 early in the second half; however, the Cougars went on a 6-0 run, which was capped by a jumper from Crystal Blue, to take a 26-23 advantage with 12:51 remaining. After St. Mary's cut the lead to one at 26-25, WSU used a 9-0 run -- once again capped by a Blue basket -- to extend its lead to double digits at 35-25 with 10:29 left. The Cougars' lead did not fall below six points the rest of the way.
The Cougars finished the game with a 50-28 advantage on the boards including 16-8 on the offensive end.
In the two-game homestand, the Cougars held their opposition (Pepperdine and St. Mary's) to a combined 37-of-124 (29.8 percent) shooting from the field.
"In both games that we played, we were intense defensively throughout the game," Murrell said. "We would make some mistakes but we always bounced back defensively."
WSU swept its two-game homestand despite being without the services of Keisha Moore, who, as a result of playing in an exhibition game at Idaho in fall 2003 prior to transferring to WSU, missed the Cougars' opening homestand against Pepperdine and St. Mary's due to NCAA transfer rules.
WSU returns to action at the Hawaiian Airlines/Rainbow Wahine Thanksgiving Classic. The Cougars open the tournament against host Hawaii, Friday, Nov. 25 at 1:10 p.m. Pacific.