Washington State University rallied from a six-point deficit in overtime by scoring the game’s final nine points to post a 76-73 Pac-12 Conference victory over Oregon State University in front of 1,246 fans at Beasley Coliseum Sunday.
The Cougars (6-13, 2-6 Pac-12) overcame a sluggish first half and the six-point deficit with 1:41 remaining in overtime to beat OSU (9-11, 3-5 Pac-12) for the fifth time in the last six meetings. WSU saw the Beavers shoot 59 percent in the first half but came back to score 17 points off of OSU’s 12 second-half turnovers to overcame at 14-point deficit for the second team time this season.
Freshman guard Lia Galdeira scored a game-high 22 points and freshman forward Mariah Cooks added a career-high 16 points. Freshmen Dawnyelle Awa and Taylor Edmondson each tallied seven points as Awa, making her first collegiate start, also added a career-high six steals and later hit all four of her free throw attempts in overtime. Junior forward Sage Romberg scored four points in overtime and finished the game with a team-high seven rebounds.
Washington State opened the game receiving buckets from senior center Carly Noyes and two from Galdeira but OSU settled in and put together a 9-2 run midway through the first half to take a 17-10 advantage.
Cooks provided a spark off the bench for the Cougars towards the end of the half, hitting a pair of jumpers and a nice up-an-under post move for another basket to cut the Oregon State lead to three. OSU’s hot shooting continued and countered with an 8-0 run that grew to 10-2 and sendt WSU into the break trailing 38-24.
The Beavers shot 59 percent from the floor in the first half and held WSU to 0-for-6 from behind the arc as Cooks led the Cougars with 10 points.
Washington State regrouped at half and opened the period with an explosive 17-2 run in the first six minutes. Galdeira started the run with a three from the left wing, Cooks followed with a jumper and redshirt-senior Katie Grad won a battle for rebound and quickly went back up for a bucket to cut OSU’s lead to nine. Following Grad’s basket and another defensive stop, Galdeira was fouled as she got her driving layup to fall and hit went on to hit the free throw to complete the three-point play. Edmondson then got into the act, scoring seven straight points with a runner off the glass, a three from straight away and two free throws to give the Cougars a 41-40 lead.
Both teams traded buckets for the remaining of regulation, with neither team able to build a lead larger than four. The Cougars received some timely buckets from Grad on another rebound putback, a jumper by sophomore forward Shalie Dheensaw and a three by Cooks. Awa, starting in place of Tia Presley, continued to facilitate on offense and cause havoc on defense, making a nice no-look dish to Galdeira for a layin and later adding a runner in the lane that ended an OSU run at the 3:37 mark.
Down three in the closing minutes, Galdeira came up big for the Cougars, hitting a three from the left wing and a baseline jumper to put WSU back up 62-60 with 2:20 remaining.
Oregon State answered with an old-fashioned three-point play lead by one before getting a stop on the defensive end with 50 seconds left. Following a Cougar turnover, Awa again stepped up, making a steal and getting fouled and tying the game at 63 after hitting one of two free throws with 37 seconds remaining.
OSU got two good looks for a game-winner in the closing seconds but both bounced off the rim.
In overtime, the Beavers hit threes on their first two possessions and then added a layup to go up six with 1:41 left before the Cougars made their comeback.
Junior forward Sage Romberg, who hadn’t scored all game, hit a three before another steal by Awa led to a layup by Galdeira and one-point OSU lead with 58 seconds remaining. Romberg made another play in crunch time, picking off a pass that led to Awa earning her second trip to the free throw line in overtime after she was fouled on a drive. Awa hit both to go up one and the Cougars got a stop on defense as Romberg grabbed a rebound and was fouled. Romberg hit one of two to put WSU up two with 14 seconds left. Awa then capped the comeback by making her sixth steal of the game that led to Cooks hitting one of two free throw attempts to put WSU up three with just under two seconds remaining. WSU posted the 76-73 victory after OSU’s full-court desperation heave came up short.
Washington State hits the road for two contests next weekend, heading to Arizona to face Arizona State University, Friday and the University of Arizona, Sunday.
Galdeira scored 20+ points for the second time this season…Cooks and Awa each scored career-highs…Awa made six steals after making five steals against Oregon, Friday…WSU snapped a five-game losing skid…WSU matched its largest comeback of the season, 14 points, after overcoming a 14-point deficit in the win at Gonzaga (12/29/12).