Nov. 24, 2011
ST. THOMAS, U.S.Virgin Islands -- Sophomore forward Sage Romberg scored a game-high 19 points to lead Washington State to a 65-52 victory over Marquette University in both teams' opening game of the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam Tournament Thursday evening.
The Cougars (3-2) had three players score in double figures and forced Marquette (2-2) into 23 turnovers. Redshirt-sophomore Ireti Amojo knocked down three from beyond the arc and finished with 13 points while senior April Cook chipped in with 12 points. Romberg also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds while senior Jazmine Perkins added five points and seven boards.
Marquette opened the game with an early run but the Cougars settled in and answered with layins from Tia Presley and Cook as Cook grabbed a rebound and quickly put it back up for a bucket. Romberg then took over for the Cougs, driving into the lane, hanging and hitting a jumper before Amojo followed with a three from the right wing to tie the game 14-14.
Cook made a steal on the ensuing Golden Eagle possession, grabbing a pass and slipping past two defenders for a layup, causing the WSU bench to erupt and Marquette to call a timeout. Minutes later, Romberg knocked down a three from the right wing then hit one from nearly the same spot on the next trip down to open up a 25-18 lead with 4:58 remaining.
The Golden Eagles continued to hang around as they withstood the Cougar run and closed the half with a 9-4 spurt of their own to tie things up at 29-29 at the half. Romberg led all players with 11 points through the first 20 minutes.
Marquette opened the second half with a pair of threes but Romberg stayed hot from the outside to keep the Cougs in it, hitting a three from the right corner and following a Cook three with a jumper in the lane for a 37-36 WSU lead at the 15:04 mark. Minutes later, the Cougars extended their run to 13-4 as Rosetta Adzasu knocked down a jumper from the right elbow before Amojo capped the spurt with another three from the right wing to give WSU a 42-39 advantage.
Marquette kept things close with a couple stops and buckets from their post players but the Cougs put together one last run to pull away for good. Carly Noyes got things started with a pair of layups before Romberg hit her fourth three for the game to open up a 49-43 advantage with 8:09 remaining. Perkins would follow with a driving left-handed layup, Presley and Amojo then added layups before Cook closed out WSU's game-clinching 17-4 run with a runner in the lane and a coast-to-coast layup to give the Cougs a 15-point lead with just under four minutes to go.
Washington State would keep its double-digit lead for the remainder of the game as Amojo's third and final three from the top of the arc at the 2:17 mark gave WSU a 16-point lead, its largest of the game.
The Cougars shot 40.7 percent from the floor and 36.4 percent from three.
Washington State will face the University of Michigan 5 p.m. (PT) Friday evening. The Wolverines beat Prairie View A&M 59-53 prior to the WSU-Marquette game.
GAME NOTES...Romberg's four threes are a career high...she also tied her career highs for field goals made (7) and field goal attempts (15)...the Cougs notch the program's first win over a Big East Conference opponent since beating St Johns, Dec. 3, 1993.