WSU Women Continue Hot Start, Take Down Gonzaga 55-48 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

WSU Women Continue Hot Start, Take Down Gonzaga 55-48

PULLMAN, Wash. – The Washington State women’s basketball team continued its strong start to the 2015-16 season, beating Gonzaga, 55-48, Tuesday evening at Beasley Coliseum. The Cougars improved to 8-1 for the first time since the 1989-90 season behind 17 points from freshman Borislava Hristova and a career-high 14 points from sophomore Louise Brown.

In a highly defensive battle, the Cougars held the Bulldogs (6-4) to 18-of-64 (.281) shooting from the floor, and limited GU to just one field goal in the second quarter. Freshman Maria Kostourkova pulled in seven rebounds to lead the Cougars, but were outrebounded by Gonzaga 47-45.

WSU’s Brown secured the victory for the Cougars, scoring six points in the final two minutes of the game. After Gonzaga’s Emma Stach made a 3-pointer to cut WSU’s lead to one point, Brown buried a 3-pointer of her own to extend the WSU lead. The Australian native forced GU into three offensive charges in the final minutes of the game and made 3-of-4 free throws to lead the Cougars to victory.

Brown also led the Cougars to start the game, scoring eight points in the opening quarter to build a 12-4 lead. The Cougars would not relent their lead for the remainder of the contest, leading from the opening field goal. Washington State extended its lead to double digits in the first quarter after freshman Alexys Swedlund buried a 3-pointer to give WSU a 19-8 advantage. At the conclusion of the quarter WSU led 21-14 and was shooting 3-of-5 from beyond the arc.

The second quarter proved to be the beginning of a long defensive battle between the two sides, as neither team made more than three field goals in the second period. Gonzaga was limited to just one field goal at the 6:22 mark and failed to score for the remainder of the half. WSU struggled offensively as well, but was able to build an 8-point lead into the break. The Cougars forced Gonzaga into 10 first-half turnovers and entered halftime leading 29-21.

Gonzaga looked to erase its deficit early in the third quarter. The Bulldogs went on a 6-0 run to start the half, cutting WSU’s lead to just two points before Cougar senior Dawnyelle Awa would end the run with a 3-pointer. Washington State extended its lead back out to eight points by the end of the quarter, led defensively by Brown with three steals in the period.

Brown and Hristova shared scoring duties in the fourth quarter, scoring six points apiece. Gonzaga cut the WSU lead to one point before the Cougars closed the game on a 9-3 run, shooting 6-of-10 from the freethrow line in the final 90 seconds. WSU has won two-consecutive games against the Bulldogs for the first time since the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons.

The Cougars will travel for the two remaining game of their nonconference schedule, beginning with a matchup Saturday against Saint Mary’s of the West Coast Conference. WSU and SMC are scheduled to tip off at 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 12, in Moraga, Calif.

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