Dec. 29, 2004
PULLMAN, Wash. - Digging itself into an early double-digit hole to Arizona, Washington State rallied but in the end could not overcome the deficit as the Cougars fell to the Wildcats 54-51 in Pacific-10 Conference women's basketball action, Wednesday at Friel Court.
The loss drops WSU to 4-7 overall and 0-2 in conference play. No. 25 (ESPN/USA Today) Arizona improved to 10-2 and 2-0 in the Pac-10.
Dee-Dee Wheeler led Arizona with a game-high 23 points. Natalie Jones also added 13 points for the Wildcats.
Down at one point 14-0, WSU rallied to pull within a single point in the second half.
"Resilience," WSU Head Coach Sherri Murrell said of why the Cougars were able to get back into the game. "I said (to the players) at the beginning of the game `resilience'. Arizona is such a tough defensive team. I knew we were going to turn it over. (Arizona) will just do that to everybody they play.
"They showed resilience," Murrell said of her team's comeback effort. "They came back with an amazing run and dug themselves out of the hole."
Arizona came out firing, making six of its first 13 shots to go up 14-0 six and a half minutes into the game. Meanwhile, WSU missed its first 11 attempts before a Scales' bucket at the 11:46 mark of the first half gave WSU its first points of the game.
During Arizona's run, WSU committed eight turnovers, but only had four more during the remainder of the first half.
Scales' bucket began a gradually climb back into the game for WSU as the Cougars outscored Arizona 19-11 for the remainder of the half after Arizona's run. The Cougars pulled to within single digits for the first time at the 7:26 mark and went into the halftime break down by a 25-19 margin.
Arizona began the second half with a bucket to extend its lead to 27-19 but WSU went on an 8-2 run to cut its deficit to two at 29-27 with 14:55 remaining.
That marked the first of five occasions in the second half that WSU shaved Arizona's lead down to two points. In addition, on one occasion the Cougars pulled to within a single point. Down 41-37, Keisha Moore's 3-point play brought the Cougars to 41-40 with 6:48 remaining.
But a Linda Pace basket extended Arizona's lead to three marking a theme for the remainder of the half, as every time the Cougars threatened the take the lead, the Wildcats denied the Cougars' bid to do so.
With 2:40 remaining, a Benz basket brought the Cougars back to two for the final time at 48-46, but Arizona scored four straight points to extend its lead to six at 52-46 with 1:48 left.
Arizona maintained its six-point advantage at 54-48 with 30 seconds remaining but Stephanie Singer's 3-pointer brought the game back to a single-possession contest at 54-51 with 12 seconds left.
A Charmaine Jones' foul with nine second left sent Wheeler to the line for two shots. Wheeler missed both free throws but Natalie Jones was able to secure the offensive rebound and the Wildcats were able to run the clock out and secure the win.
WSU heads on the road to face Stanford, Sunday, Jan. 2 for a 2 p.m. tip-off.