Jan. 22, 2012
BERKELEY, Calif. - Washington State University's comeback attempt in the final seconds came up short at University of California, as the Golden Bears connected on a couple baskets with under a minute to go and hand the Cougars a 60-55 defeat in Pac-12 Conference play Sunday afternoon.
WSU (9-10, 3-4 Pac-12) was led by junior forward Carly Noyes and sophomore guard Sage Romberg who each finished with 10 points. California (15-5, 6-2 Pac-12) used a 44-35 rebound advantage to score 44 points in the paint.
The Cougars withstood Cal's hot start, putting together a 9-0 run to take a 13-11 lead at the 13:04 mark. Noyes got things started with a turnaround jumper and sophomore guard Brandi Thomas followed with a jumper from the top of the key. Romberg then followed with a long three from the right wing before freshman forward Shalie Dheensaw knocked down a jumper from the left elbow to end the WSU run.
The Golden Bears, the Pac-12's top rebounding team, started to take advantage of its size down in the paint. Cal would use a 6-0 spurt and a couple trips to the free throw line to build a 27-19 lead with 5:08 to go.
WSU's bench would cut Cal's lead to four as Thomas hit a runner in the lane before senior guard Rosetta Adzasu made a steal on the defensive end then finished off the fastbreak with a no-look dish to Romberg for the layin.
Cal would add a couple more free throws late to take a 31-23 lead into the half. The Golden Bears owned a 23-17 rebound advantage, shot 48.1 percent and held the Cougs to 29.4 percent shooting through the first 20 minutes.
The Cougs came out hot to start the second half as senior forward Rosie Tarnowski hit a long two to get things going. Noyes would score on a turnaround the next time down the floor. She would add another bucket minutes later before Thomas hit another jumper to pull WSU within three.
Cal would again counter with its size down low and extend its lead to eight, 42-34 with 11:07 to go. The Cougs didn't go away and were able to string some baskets and stops together for an 11-2 run and take a 45-44 lead. Adzasu got the run started by turning a steal into another fastbreak dish off for a bucket, this time to sophomore forward Hana Potter for the layin. Senior guard Jazmine Perkins later added a pair of free throws before Romberg knocked down a three and senior guard April Cook hit a jumper. Perks would cap the run and give the Cougs a lead with a steal and one of two free throws after getting fouled on her drive into the lane.
Both teams would trade baskets, alternating leads over the next couple minutes as Perkins came up big for the Cougs, hanging and hitting a runner off the glass and later driving the lane and layin one in as the shot clock expired. Noyes followed the bucket by Perkins with a jumphook to open up a 53-50 lead for WSU with 3:38 remaining.
Cal would go ahead for good after converting on second chance opportunities and knock down free throws to own a 56-53 lead with 1:32 remaining. Romberg would hit both free throws the next time down for WSU but Cal would convert on the offensive end with a jumper to open up a 58-55 lead with 41 seconds left.
The Cougs called a timeout to set up a play but the Bears defense forced Romberg into a tough three-point attempt that came up short and forced WSU to foul. Cal went on to hit both free throws and notch the 60-55 win.
Washington State finished the game shooting 35 percent and 11-of-20 at the free throw line while Cal shot 42.4 percent and was able to overcome its 18 turnovers.
WSU returns to Pullman to host Arizona State Thursday and Arizona Saturday.
GAME NOTES...Freshman guard Tia Presley notched a career-high seven rebounds...Romberg hit her first three-pointer since making two at Oregon (12/29/11)...Perkins scored all nine of her points in the second half...the game was nationally televised by Fox Sports Net/ROOT Sports.