The Washington State women weren’t going home in round one of the Pac-12 Tournament in Seattle this season, no sir… um, ma’am.
Tia Presley jumped the Cougs off early, scoring 10 of her 31 points before the first media timeout and continuing her duck hunting throughout the basketball game. Then, toward the end of the first half when Tia was finally shut down a little bit, Lia Galdeira stepped in with her sniper rifle. It was fun to watch.
But the best part was that the rest of the Cougars came to play too. Even with a blazing-hot Oregon squad on the floor the Cougars controlled the first half of play, setting a women’s Pac-12 Tournament first half record for points at 59 (they didn’t stop there of course, they set a single-game record with 107 as well). Taylor Edmondson canned four 3’s and had a career-high 14, Shalie Dheensaw dominated the paint for the most part, putting together her fifth double-double of the season with 15 points, 11 rebounds.
That’s all the facts of the matter. In the grand scheme of things, this was the most fun I’ve had watching a Cougar basketball game (men’s or women’s save for wins over UW which are always funner than heck) in at least three seasons. The level of basketball was high and even though the Ducks continued to throw hay-maker after blasted hay-maker at the most frantic of paces, our team played inspired ball and fought resiliently.
Presley said she was amped up and ready after missing the first two seasons of tournament play and she delivered unbelievably. Lia was simply incredible with her poise and overall play as well. The two were the first duo in program history to record 30 point games on the same night. That’s a pretty special combo.
So it’s on to round two for the women and a date with 2-seed California tonight at 6 pm. In the post-game interview coach June Daugherty said fairly emphatically that the Cougs have “unfinished business with Cal”, after the Golden Bears beat WSU down in Berkeley in overtime. The Bears also pulled away from the Cougars earlier in the year in Pullman.
Basically, tonight boils down to whether or not the Cougars have anything remaining in the tank after the frantic pace that the Ducks made them play at just about 12 hours ago. If they do have something left, the Bears could be in for another serious battle with the ladies from the Palouse.