WSU Comeback Comes Short Against St. Mary's - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

WSU Comeback Comes Short Against St. Mary's

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The Cougars (8-2) struggled to find points in the opening half as the Gaels (8-2) built a double-digit lead. WSU stormed back in the third quarter to regain a one-point lead, but were unable to hold off the Gaels in the final quarter. The Cougars (8-2) struggled to find points in the opening half as the Gaels (8-2) built a double-digit lead. WSU stormed back in the third quarter to regain a one-point lead, but were unable to hold off the Gaels in the final quarter.

Washington State Athletics

MORAGA, Calif. – After erasing an 18-point deficit, the Washington State women’s basketball team was unable to complete a comeback against the Saint Mary’s Gaels, falling 75-71 at McKeon Pavilion Saturday afternoon. The Cougars (8-2) struggled to find points in the opening half as the Gaels (8-2) built a double-digit lead. WSU stormed back in the third quarter to regain a one-point lead, but were unable to hold off the Gaels in the final quarter.

Freshman Borislava Hristova led the Cougars with 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the final 20 seconds of the game. The Cougars looked to be on their way to the greatest come-from-behind victory in school history (18-point deficit), but Saint Mary’s made 11-of-12 free throws in the final quarter, shooting 23-of-28 in the game to secure the win. The Cougars played well defensively in the game, forcing the Gaels into 23 turnovers, while blocking seven shots. Sophomore Bianca Blanaru led WSU with three blocked shots.

Saint Mary’s appeared to have an easy victory, leading by nine points with 29 seconds remaining the game. However, the Cougars would not go quietly. Sophomore Caila Hailey nailed a 3-pointer with 19 seconds to play, before WSU forced the Gaels into a five-second inbounds violation. The Cougars took advantage of the mistake as Hristova drained a three to cut the SMC lead to three points with 17 seconds to play.

After WSU was forced to foul, Saint Mary’s Lauren Nicholson made a pair of freethrows to extend the lead to five points. Hristova made another 3-pointer with nine seconds left to cut the Gaels’ lead to two, but were unable to make another shot after a pair of SMC freethrows.

WSU took an early four-point lead in the opening quarter, but struggled on the offensive end. The Cougars shot 3-of-13 in the second quarter, as Saint Mary’s went on a 20-3 run to build its 18-point lead. With 1:49 left to play in the first half, the Gaels led 40-22. The Cougars were able to close the half with five-straight points and entered the break trailing in a game for the first time this season.

Washington State stormed into the third quarter, rattling off 10-unanswered points as part of a 23-5 run to regain a 50-49 lead with one minute left to play in the third quarter. Freshman Maria Kostourkova was instrumental in the run, scoring seven points in a two-minute span. Sophomore Louise Brown added four points in the quarter, as WSU outscored Saint Mary’s 23-12.

The Cougars conclude their nonconference season Sunday, Dec. 20, traveling to Lawrence, Kan., for a matchup with Kansas. WSU and KU will tip off at 7 p.m. CT/5 p.m. PT.

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