PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State improved to 5-0 in Pac-12 Conference play and knocked off its third-ranked opponent of the season with a 70-60 victory over No. 21/20 Colorado in front of 1,423 fans at Beasley Coliseum Friday.
Junior guard Tia Presley and sophomore guard Lia Galdeira each tallied 17 points for the Cougars who improved to 11-6 overall and 5-0 in conference play for the first time since 1977-78. Colorado dropped to 11-5 overall and 1-4 in conference.
WSU received eight points apiece from junior center Shalie Dheensaw and sophomore guards Dawnyelle Awa and Taylor Edmondson. Dheensaw also grabbed a team-high seven boards and blocked two shots while Awa added five assists and Edmondson knocked down two clutch threes for the Cougars. Washington State shot 41 percent from the floor and held Colorado to 32 percent shooting in the second half and 3-for-18 from behind the arc in the game.
The Cougars outrebounded the Buffs 42-36 who entered the night leading the Pac-12 in rebounding margin. WSU has posted wins over No. 10/10 Nebraska, No. 24/25 Arizona State and No. 21/20 Colorado this season, the first time a Cougar team has beat three ranked teams in a season since 1994-95.
Washington State responded to a hot start by Colorado with eight straight points, five coming from Galdeira. Both teams traded leads for most of the half. The Cougars took a four-point lead late the half, using a 7-2 spurt to take a 28-24 advantage at the 3:12 mark.
The Buffaloes used a 7-0 run to regain the lead but Presley scored the Cougars final six points of the half including a coast-to-coast layin at the buzzer to send WSU into the break trailing 35-34. Washington State shot over 53 percent from the floor but Colorado scored 11 points off of 12 Cougar turnovers in the first 20 minutes that also saw 10 lead changes.
Washington State opened the second half with five straight points and a 9-2 run as Galdeira and Presley each hit buckets on the first two possessions and Awa later capped the run with a drive and layin high off the glass for a 43-37 Cougar lead. Minutes later, Edmondson answered a Colorado run with back-to-back threes from the left wing and left corner opened the Cougars lead back up to 51-44 at the 13:04.
Colorado continued to battle and stayed within a couple baskets until Dheensaw scored four straight points, Presley hit two free throws and Awa knocked down a huge three in the right corner that pushed the WSU lead to 10 with 6:18 remaining.
The Buffaloes cut the WSU lead to five at the 2:27 mark but Presley made a steal on the ensuing CU possession and the Buffs fouled Galdeira. Galdeira hit one of two at the line but Dheensaw came up with a clutch rebound on the missed second attempt and senior forward Sage Romberg pushed the lead back up to seven with a free throw with 50 seconds left. Following a couple defensive stops, Galdeira sealed things up at the line with four straight makes.
Washington State hosts the University of Utah Sunday at Noon on the Pac-12 Networks.