The WSU women’s basketball team had another strong weekend of Pac-12 play as they beat USC 57-54 on Friday while losing to No. 17 ranked UCLA 80-65 on Sunday, managing to tie USC for sixth in the Pac-12 standings in the process.
The Cougars extended their win-streak to four games against the Trojans before having it end against the Bruins on Sunday. They now possess a 9-14 overall record, with a 5-7 Pac-12 line that puts them in the middle of the conference standings.
Against USC, the Cougars had to fight back and forth to stop the Trojans. After being down at halftime by a margin of 28-23, the Cougars came back and outscored USC 34-26 to earn the win.
The win, however, wasn’t guaranteed as the Trojans had multiple chances to answer the Cougars, but failed. The shot that fell for the Trojans to beat the Cougars the first time was not available the second time because of an aggressive defensive effort by the Cougars.
“Defense has been our staple on this run,” WSU head coach June Daugherty said after the win. “Defense is our identity, and it’s exciting to see the kids buy in and play as hard as they’re playing right now.”
A balanced scoring attack highlighted the terrific team effort characteristic of the Cougars’ win streak. Freshmen DawnyelleAwa and Lia Galdeira had 11 and 10 points, respectively, to lead the Cougars to victory.
“It’s an unselfish team,” Daugherty said of the scoring effort.
In the UCLA contest, the Cougars managed to hang with the Bruins in the first half, allowing just a 34-32 lead to the Bruins at half. In the second half, the Bruins’ shooting caught on fire as UCLA shot a staggering 85 percent (17-20) to overwhelm the Cougars.
The Cougars had an uncharacteristically high 20 fouls while dishing only nine assists, both products of the fast pace that favored the Bruins in the second half.
“Obviously a tale of two halves, I thought that we did an excellent job defensively in the first half, and handled the run and jump pretty well, we got some good looks offensively, I thought we were pretty solid inside,” Daugherty said following the game. “Second half, they got going inside, Walker and Dixon were in foul trouble in the first half, and really made up for their time off the floor.”
Senior Carly Noyes set the WSU career record with her 111th career start in the game against UCLA. Next she’ll be approaching Jazmine Perkins’ record of 122 games played, as she now has 117. She was key in the UCLA game as she and fellow center ShalieDheensaw took advantage of the Bruins’ lack of height in the first half by making shot after shot inside and pulling down rebounds.
Next up, the Cougars travel to Corvallis, Oregon on Feb. 15 to take on Oregon State and Eugene, Oregon on Feb. 17 to take on Oregon.