March 3, 2012
PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State University dropped its regular season finale 65-54 to USC in Beasley Coliseum Saturday.
Sophomore guard Brandi Thomas led the Cougars (11-19, 5-13 Pac-12) with 17 points and eight rebounds while seniors Rosie Tarnowski and April Cook added 11 and eight points, respectively. USC (18-11, 12-6 Pac-12) had three players score in double-figures led by Ashley Corral's game-high 25.
Washington State limited the Trojans to 35.1 percent shooting and forced 14 turnovers but surrendered 22 points in the paint and shot 32 percent in the second half. The Cougs bench outscored the USC bench 25 points but the Trojans made up for it at the free throw line, hitting 21-of-34 attempts while WSU received just 19 trips to the line.
Tarnowski opened the game with a three from the Cougs but USC controlled the early minutes and built a 17-9 lead. Thomas answered with a three, her tenth straight game with a make from behind the arc, and WSU later followed with a 6-0 spurt. Tarnowski hit a pair of free throws, sophomore forward Hana Potter added a layin and Thomas capped the run with jumper off the glass to cut the USC lead to two, 20-18 with 5:53 remaining.
The Cougars traded baskets with the Trojans over the final couple minutes before Potter connected on a jumper from the left elbow to send WSU into half, down just three, 32-29.
The second half opened with both teams trading threes with Tarnowski hitting one for the Cougs. Minutes late, Noyes hit a jumper and Thomas connected with a pair of free throws to keep the USC lead at two.
Following a Thomas jumper, the Trojans settled in and put together a 13-0 run over the next four and half minutes to open up a 15-point advantage at the 9:16 mark.
WSU battled right back with a 13-4 run with a couple free throws, a jumper by Thomas, Tarnowski's third three of the game, and a pair of runners in the lane from senior guard April Cook to cut USC lead to six, 57-51 with 4:51 left.
Thomas later knocked down a long two from the right wing to make it a six-point game with 3:33 remaining but the Cougars could not get any closer as USC knocked down its free throws to claim the victory.
Washington State heads to next week's Pacific Life Pac-12 Conference Tournament as the No. 11 seed and will play 7:15 p.m. Wednesday night in the Galen Center. Tournament seedings will be announced Sunday.