March 1, 2002
EUGENE, Ore. - The Washington State-Oregon Pacific-10 Conference women's basketball tournament game was guaranteed to be historic as it was the first contest in the inaugural event.
The game will certainly go into the annals of history but not for that reason.
In the second half of a game in which the Cougars gave the host Ducks all they could handle, the contest was delayed twice due to first, a malfunctioning scoreboard and then a false fire alarm.
But despite the problems with the McArthur Court electrical system, the first game of the tournament will go down as a stirring conclusion to Brittney Hawks' collegiate career and just a taste of the potential of what freshman Jessica Perry can provide for the Cougars in the future.
Hawks and Perry combined for 48 points in the Cougars' 85-67 loss to Oregon, Friday night. Hawks scored a career-high 27 points while Perry chipped in a season-best 21 points. Edniesha Curry led Oregon with 16 points.
With the loss, the Cougars ended the season with a 2-27 record while Oregon improved to 16-12.
For the first time in a Pac-10 game this season, the Cougars shot over 40 percent (25-of-60, 41.7 percent). However, Oregon found the basket to be an inviting target as the Ducks were 33-of-62 (53.2 percent) from the field.
"I am really pleased with our effort tonight," said WSU Head Coach Jenny Przekwas. "I thought we played a really hard fought ball game."
"I am disappointed we didn't win but I am certainly not disappointed with the effort," Przekwas added.
"We did what we needed to do to move on," said Oregon Head Coach Bev Smith. "I tip my hat to Washington State. They played an incredible game, with intensity, work ethic, passion and fire."
With the Cougars facing a 36-31 halftime deficit, a Hawks' bucket immediately shaved the Ducks' advantage to three just a minute into the second half.
The Ducks would gradually grow their lead to as much as 68-50 with 7:51 remaining but the Cougars would not go quietly into the Eugene night.
However, the Ducks put the game away by outscoring WSU 15-6 the rest of the way.
The first half featured runs by both teams as the pesky Cougars would refuse to lose sight of Oregon.
With the score tied at six in the early stages of the game, Oregon went on a 8-0 run spurred by consecutive buckets from Andrea Bills to open a 14-6 advantage at the 14:50 mark of the first half.
The Ducks would stretch their lead to 21-12 but six consecutive points, four accounted for by Hawks, would pull WSU to within 21-18 at the 7:59 mark.
Once again, Oregon extended its lead to 27-20 and once again, the Cougars would comeback with six straight points, which included consecutive buckets by Martindale, to cut their deficit to 27-26 with 4:23 remaining.
It seemed the Ducks finally thwarted the Cougars with a 9-0 run, book-ended by three-pointers from Jamie Craighead, to take a double-digit lead at 36-26 with 1:15 remaining.
But, as had been the pattern throughout the first half, the Cougars responded, closing out the half with five straight points, all coming courtesy of Perry to go into the half down by a 36-31 margin.