PULLMAN, Wash. – A halftime lead over the conference's second-place team fizzled away for the Washington State women's basketball team, and the Cougars fell 61-51 to USC Saturday at Friel Court.
Freshman center Carly Noyes and sophomore guard April Cook each scored 10 points to lead the Cougars, who dropped to 5-14 on the season and 0-8 in the Pacific-10 Conference. The Trojans improved to 12-6 overall and 6-1 in the Pac-10.
"It was great to see us come out in the first half with intensity and enthusiasm," WSU Head Coach June Daugherty said. "We took some great steps tonight - just not enough. We still need to put it together for 40 minutes."
The Trojans made a couple of early runs, building as much as an eight-point lead. Both times however, the Cougars were able to respond. Trailing by six early, WSU was able to tie the game at 10 with 11-minutes, 13-seconds remaining in the half. Later in the period, following a 10-2 run by the Women of Troy, sophomore forward Rosie Tarnowski capped a 12-2 Cougar run with a 3-pointer to give WSU its first lead of the game (24-22).
After the Trojans' Aarika Hughes knocked down a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to put the Trojans back on top (25-24), Tarnowski hit back-to-back 3-pointers to regain the Cougar advantage and build a 30-25 WSU lead. The Cougars extended their lead to seven with 52 seconds left in the half, before a pair of free throws from USC's Briana Gilbreath cut WSU's lead to 32-27, the score entering intermission. WSU held the Trojans without a field goal for the final four-and-half minutes of the opening half.
USC cut the Cougars' lead to one in the opening minutes of the second stanza, but Cook hit a 3-pointer and freshman guard KiKi Moore stole the ensuing in-bound pass and scored on a quick lay-up to extend WSU's lead to 37-31. The Trojans put together their first of two second-half runs, this one 9-2, to take their first lead of the second half at 40-39 with 12:33 left in the game.
After the Cougars and Trojans traded 3-pointers, WSU scored five-straight, taking a 47-46 lead with 9:23 remaining on the clock. USC then outscored the Cougars 13-2 over the next five-plus minutes, and the Trojans' second run of the half was too much to overcome. WSU scored just four points over the game's final nine-plus minutes, and the Trojans earned their fourth-straight conference victory.
Sophomore guard Jazmine Perkins pulled down a team-high eight rebounds and recorded a team-high four assists, while Noyes added seven boards to go with her 10 points. Tarnowski finished the game with nine points on a season-high three 3-pointers, each of which came in the first half. Moore, the conference leader in steals, tied for the game-high with four.
WSU closes out its first run through the Pacific-10 Conference against Washington Friday (Jan. 29) at Friel Court. The Cougars and Huskies are slated to tip-off at 5 p.m., and the game will be televised lived by FSN Northwest with the pregame show beginning at 4:30 p.m.