What’s Up With Cougar Basketball?


With WSU women’s and men’s basketball programs heading in opposite directions, there may be some confusion. Friday evening provided some clarification for the women’s program.

Washington State (8-13, 4-6) is taking serious steps in a very positive direction.

The Cougs defended their home court with an impressive Pac-12 win over USC by a final of 57-54. Yes, the game was as close as the score would indicate.

After trailing by 5 at halftime, WSU came out with confidence for the final 20-minutes of play.

Just a quick 3-minutes into the second half, the Cougars knotted the score at 31-31. Both teams failed to take control of the outcome until freshman Lia Galdeira knocked down a jumper with less than five to go and put WSU up 49-47.

Washington State would not relinquish their lead the rest of the way.

The Trojans had their chance to tie the game with less than a minute to play, but could only convert one of two free throws to pull within one. USC had additional opportunities in the waning seconds they were unable to take advantage of.

Freshman guard Dawnyelle Awa scored a career-high 11 points after hitting all three of WSU’s three-pointers and dished out five assists. Lia Galdeira added 10 points, eight coming in the second half, and grabbed a team-high six rebounds while redshirt-senior guard Katie Grad chipped in with seven points. WSU was outrebounded 50-30 but scored 19 points off of 14 USC turnovers and committed a season-low eight turnovers of their own.

Washington State improved to 9-13 overall and 5-6 in Pac-12 Conference play posting its first four-game conference winning streak since 1994-95. The Cougars shot 52 percent in the second half and outscored USC (8-14, 5-6 Pac-12) 34-26 in the final 20 minutes to post its first home victory over the Trojans since 2001.

Given the fact the Washington State roster is loaded with freshmen and sophomores, the future for this team is very, very bright.

WSU will host No. 17 UCLA Sunday in Beasley Coliseum with tipoff scheduled for noon.