November 30, 1997
CAGUAS, Puerto Rico -- Washington State set a school record for steals as the Cougars overcame a slow start to trounce host Puerto Rico-Mayaguez 85-51 Sunday afternoon to place seventh in the San Juan Shootout.
Collectively, the Cougars (3-2 overall) finished with 17 steals to break the team single-game record of 16 originally set Feb. 5, 1977 against 2nd-ranked UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. Rodrigo de la Fuente nabbed seven steals, one short of the mark set by Don Collins against Washington Jan. 5, 1980.
Five different Cougars scored in double figures, led by de la Fuente's 17 points in 27 minutes. Gilfred Velez of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, who played all 40 minutes, paced all scorers with 19 points and all rebounders with 10 total.
WSU shot a lowly 20 percent from the field in the first quarter and held a slim 11-9 lead. A 3-point basket by Mayaguez's Victor Gonzalez cut WSU's lead to 20-19 with 5:38 left in the second quarter, but the Cougars outscored the Shootout host 14-6 to finish the half with eight points coming at the free throw line.
During a two minute stretch in the third quarter, WSU pulled away for good with a 10-2 run which included pair of de la Fuente steals and baskets. In the fourth quarter, a 3-point basket by Steve Slotemaker capped a 21-0 run for the Cougars. Kojo Mensah-Bonsu contributed six straight points during the run.
The Cougars forced 32 turnovers and outrebounded Puerto Rico-Mayaguez 51-34.