Jan. 5, 2012
PULLMAN, Wash. -- Sophomore guard Brandi Thomas scored a career-high 18 points and keyed a 23-0 run for Washington State University in the second half run to help the Cougars improve to 3-0 in Pac-12 Conference play with a 60-43 victory over University of Utah Thursday evening.
WSU (9-6) starts conference play 3-0 for the first time since opening Northwest Women's Basketball League play 5-0 in 1977-78. The Utes fall to 7-6 overall and 0-2 in conference.
The Cougars overcame a cold shooting performance in the first half by shooting 50 percent in the second half, scoring 21 points off of Utah's 26 turnovers and outscoring the Utes bench 39-0. WSU held Utah to 27 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes and finished the game with 13 steals.
Senior guard Rosetta Adzasu came off the bench to score 13 points and make four steals as 11 players scored for WSU. Junior forward Carly Noyes chipped in with nine while senior guard Jazmine Perkins, the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week, finished the game with four points, five rebounds and four steals.
The Utes came out hot early, hitting a pair of three's to build a 12-4 advantage in the opening minutes but Washington State countered with a 6-0 run as freshman guard Tia Presley had a nice drive to her right for a layin while Noyes added a pair of buckets. The run would expand to 10-2 as senior guard April Cook and Thomas each hit jumpers to tie the game at 14.
Utah continued to hit shots and force WSU misses late in the half as the Utes closed the half with an 8-2 run and take a 28-21 lead into the break. The Cougs forced 12 turnovers but were held to 27.3 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes while Utah shot 50 percent from the floor.
It was more of the same to start the second half as Utah had two baskets to open up a 32-24 lead at the 15:59 mark but the Cougar defense would ignite the big run over the next ten minutes.
The WSU defense forced the Utes into tough shots and turned the stops into buckets as the Cougars erupted for a 23-0 run to build a 47-32 lead with 8:11 remaining. Adzasu got things started with a jumper and followed with a steal and layup. Thomas began to heat up, following with a jumper to tie the game at 32 before Adzasu added back-to-back buckets to give WSU its first lead of the game. Senior forward Rosie Tarnowski got into the act with a jumphook from the lowpost before Thomas connected with a turnaround jumper and added three free throws. Free throws by sophomore forward Hana Potter and Adzasu capped the dominating run as WSU held Utah scoreless for an eight minute stretch and build a double-digit lead.
The Utes would regroup and cut the WSU lead to nine after hitting three from behind the arc to make it 50-41 at the 4:31 mark.
The Cougars would turn to Thomas and Adzasu to seal the game at Thomas hit another turnaround, Adzasu drove the lane and got her layup to fall in traffic before Cook added a pair of free throws and Thomas capped her career night with a long three from the right wing, bringing the Beasley Coliseum crowd to its feet. The Cougs closed the game with a 10-2 run.
WSU continues its three-game homestand Saturday against University of Colorado at 1 p.m.
GAME NOTES Cook scored four points to pass Katie Appleton and move into 11th on WSU's all-time career scoring list with 1,070 points...Thomas surpassed her previous high of seven points, which she has reached three times...Perkins, the Pac-12's leader in steals, finished with four steals.