The Cougar women are off to one of their best starts ever. Coming into last night they held a 6-2 record, wins over 2 nationally ranked teams (Dayton and Maryland) and received votes in the top-25 poll for the first time since the 1991-92 season (which is before any player on the team was even born).
Last night, however, they may have faced one of their toughest tests yet as they made their way north to take on Gonzaga in the Kennel. The Bulldogs were 5-2, are coming off of a sweet-sixteen appearance last year and had a 25 game home winning streak, but none of that was any match for Spokane native Tia Presley and her 21 point performance.
After a disappointing first half, with Presley only tallying 3 points, the senior went off on the team that failed to recruit her with 18 more in the 2nd, including the go ahead basket in the final minute. The other half of the dynamic duo for the Cougs, Lia Galdeira, checked in with 9 points on the night, including 2 free throws in the final seconds to extend WSU lead following a scary looking foul resulting in a sprained ankle for Galdeira. Senior Shalie Dheensaw also checked in with a solid night of 10 points and 7 boards.
Despite shooting only 36 percent from the field, the teams point leader, Galdeira, having an off night and committing 20 turnovers, the scrappy Cougars found a way to win and continue their hot streak and won a nail biter 59-58. These Cougs have had an incredibly tough schedule, and it won't get any easier from here. They'll welcome Montana State into Pullman on Saturday before heading south to LA to take on Loyola Marymount on Monday in the final non-conference game of the year.
Cougars Use Late Comeback to Beat Gonzaga 59-58 in Spokane - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Tia Presley scored the go-ahead basket with 35 seconds left.
WSU women defeat Gonzaga 59-58 - A picture story at Spokesman.com
WSU defeats Gonzaga 59-58 at the McCarthey Athletic Center, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014.
Presley leads Washington St. past Gonzaga 59-58
Former Gonzaga University women's basketball coach Kelly Graves never recruited Tia Presley, even though Presley starred at nearby Gonzaga Prep. "His loss, not mine," the fiery Presley once said.
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Washington State Cougars (3-9) - Washington State could sling it through the air and could no do anything else.
WSU basketball: coaching confidence - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - Dec. 9, 2014
Since arriving at WSU, Ernie Kent has said that the greatest barrier between the Cougars and success is a lack of confidence.
Zags, Cougars will meet at Spokane Arena | Gonzaga | The Seattle Times
Ernie Kent, the first-year men’s basketball coach at Washington State, no doubt knew last spring the task of playing Gonzaga would be formidable.
Washington St.-Gonzaga Preview | FOX Sports
Gonzaga is in a stretch of three straight games against Pac-12 foes, and despite dropping the first, it should be plenty confident entering the second.