Propelled by its havoc-inducing defense, Washington State’s women’s basketball team defeated Brigham Young on Thursday night, 72-64. The Cougs were able to claim the opening round game of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament despite a slow start and hot shooting from their opponent.
WSU (13-19) looked a little out of its element on the road to open the game. BYU (20-12) jumped out to an early 22-11 lead, and was up 41-29 at the half. The hosts made 76 percent of their shots in the first half and went 4-of-5 from three-point range.
However, tides turned in the second half and the Cougars from the Palouse were determined to continue their season. Washington State limited Brigham Young to 23 points in the second half as their pressure wore down the home team.
For the game, BYU committed a whopping 29 turnovers, and WSU came away with 20 steals. Guards Alexys Swedlund and Caila Hailey led the defensive charge while also helping out on the other end.
Hailey had a game-high eight steals while scoring 17 points on 60 percent shooting. Swedlund led Wazzu with 19 points and recorded five steals and three rebounds. Fellow guard Pinelopi Pavlopoulou also had an impressive stat line. She led the team with nine rebounds and three assists and scored 11 points.
WSU’s offensive outburst came in the third quarter, when they scored 28 points, before locking down in the fourth. In the game’s final 10 minutes, BYU only managed to score six points.
Up next, the Cougs will travel to Laramie, Wyoming, to take on the Cowboys. The second round game of the WNIT will tip off Saturday, March 18 at 1 p.m.
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As the game clock ticked down to zero, Washington State’s Alexys Swedlund swooped in and poked the ball away from a BYU player.
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Down by as much as 14, the Washington State women's basketball stormed back in the second half against BYU to claim a 72-64 win.
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