WSU Drops Heartbreaker to No. 17 UCLA, 75-73 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

WSU Drops Heartbreaker to No. 17 UCLA, 75-73

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by WSU Athletics

PULLMAN, Wash. – The Washington State women’s basketball team had a chance to beat the No. 17 UCLA Bruins, Sunday, at Beasley Coliseum, but the game-tying shot at the buzzer went halfway into the hoop and bounced back out for freshman Borislava Hristova, as the Bruins hung on to beat the Cougars, 75-73.

Trailing by two points with 25 seconds left in the game, WSU sophomore Caila Hailey drew an offensive foul call on UCLA’s Kari Korver. The foul gave WSU the opportunity to equalize or win the game with its final possession. After a missed look by the Cougars with five seconds left in the game, UCLA was unable to control the rebound and lost it out of bounds with 3.1 seconds remaining. After back-to-back timeouts by the two sides, Hristova came off of a screen on the baseline inbounds pass and shot a 16-foot jumper from the left side of the court. The shot went down into the rim, but would not stay down as the buzzer sounded.

“I’m proud of our players,” WSU Head Coach June Daugherty said.  “I’m disappointed that we didn’t get the tie to go to overtime. I love the look that we got. Mariah Cooks set a great screen for Borislava [Hristova], who had a good, clean look. She has the guts to take it as a freshman and it didn’t go.”

The Cougars (12-6, 3-4 Pac-12) trailed the Bruins (12-5, 4-2 Pac-12) by single digits for the majority of the afternoon, pulling within a single possession on three different occasions in the final quarter. After trailing by eight at halftime, WSU rattled off an 11-4 run in the third quarter to pull within one point. The nationally-ranked Bruins led 58-57 entering the final period and shot 6-of-13 from the free throw line in the last 10 minutes to secure the victory.

“I think we played with a lot of heart out there,” Daugherty said. “UCLA is a very talented, good team. I think we need to be proud of ourselves and understand that we, too, are very talented. When we play hard and take care of the basketball, we can beat anybody in the country. That’s what we take out of this game.”

WSU’s Hristova led the Cougars in scoring with 19 points, including 11 points in the third quarter. Fellow freshman Maria Kostourkova led the way with seven rebounds, as the Cougars outrebounded the Bruins, 48-38. Sophomore Louise Brown added 13 points and senior Taylor Edmondson added 12 points, including 10 first-half points.

The opening half haunted the Cougars, who turned the ball over 12 times and made just 3-of-6 free throws. UCLA went nearly 15 minutes without a foul to start the game, while going 9-of-11 from the free throw line in the opening 20 minutes.

Washington State outscored UCLA 37-34 in the paint, 22-19 off of turnovers, 13-6 in fast break points, and 31-6 off the bench. WSU also held the Bruins to .388 (26-of-67) from the floor in the game, while shooting .435 (30-of-69) from the field.

The Cougars will now hit the road for a three-game road trip, beginning with a Saturday afternoon matchup against the Washington Huskies. WSU and UW will tip off at 2 p.m., Jan. 23, at Alaska Airlines Arena with coverage on the Pac-12 Networks.

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