FROM PULLMAN - The WSU women's basketball team continued its hot start in conference play by upsetting No. 21 Colorado at Beasley Coliseum, 70-60. The Cougars used a strong rebounding effort to pick up their fifth straight victory.
Washington State is now 11-6 (5-0) on the season.
The game was tight early, with Colorado heading to the break with a one-point lead. WSU was able to spurt ahead in the middle of the second half, though, thanks to Shalie Dheensaw scoring back-to-back buckets -- one a putback -- to give the Cougs a 55-48 lead. Dheensaw finished with 8 points and 7 rebounds, 3 of them offensive.
The biggest difference maker for the Cougs was that Tia Presley began to aggressively drive to the bucket and draw fouls. As a result of Presley's aggressiveness, the three-point shot began to open up for the Cougs. She would finish with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting and six rebounds.
Lia Galdeira also finished with 17 points.
This allowed WSU to open up a ten point lead Colorado, forcing the Buffs to begin to foul throughout the remaining six minutes left in the game. Although Colorado was able to close WSU's lead to eight a couple of times, WSU was easily able to maintain its lead and cruise to victory.
It is the Cougs' third win over a ranked opponent and has moved them squarely into the NCAA tournament conversation.
WSU wasn't always in control of this one. The first half started off slowly with both squads trying to figure each other out. Each used aggressive defense to force bad shots and passes; the offenses also were hampered by tight officiating on that end of the court - there were four offensive fouls in the first six minutes.
The offenses eventually took off as the defenses loosened up in an effort to not draw fouls. The game turned into a track meet after the under 16 media timeout - the score was 8-7 in favor of the Cougs at that point - and Colorado lead 35-34 after a Presley buzzer beating layup before the half.
Washington State scored the first six points of the second half, and rapidly built themselves a five point lead at 51-46 that forced the Colorado head coach Linda Lappe to call a timeout with just under 13 minutes left in the ball game. Taylor Edmondson's bucket shortly before Colorado's timeout marked the beginning of a four minute scoring drought for both teams.
That four minute period saw both teams taking poor shots, and collecting rebounds...and then those rebounds were immediately followed up by poorly timed/aimed shots. But then WSU went on its spurt to continue its roll in Pac-12 play.
Next up for WSU is Utah at noon on Sunday in Beasley Coliseum. This game will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.