WSU pulls off biggest upset in school history beating UCLA 82-73 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

WSU pulls off biggest upset in school history beating UCLA 82-73

Courtesy: WSU Athletics Courtesy: WSU Athletics

By WSU Athletics

PULLMAN, Wash. - Behind a freshmen record 33 points from Chanelle Molina, the Washington State women's basketball team pulled off the biggest upset in program history on Friday night, downing No. 7 UCLA, 82-73, at Beasley Coliseum. The win for the Cougs (7-8, 2-2 Pac-12) was their second-straight in conference while handing the Bruins (11-3, 2-1 Pac-12) just their third loss of the year.

The Cougars win over the Bruins marked their best win over a top-10 opponent in program history, one-upping their 2014, 70-64, victory over No. 8 Maryland in Puerto Rico at the San Juan Shootout.

For Molina, the freshman could do little wrong on a night to remember as the first-year Coug tied the Wazzu freshmen record for scoring with a 33-point effort. Molina matched Lia Galdeira's freshmen record set against Minnesota in 2012. Additionally, her 33 points on the night tied for the 10th best scoring game in program history as she became just the third freshman ever to reach the 30-point threshold. The Hawaiian native needed just 20 shots to do her damage in the game as she efficiently went about her business hitting 13-of-20 from the floor. Molina would have her hand in 20 of the Cougars' 34 field goals as she also tallied a career-best seven assists to go with her scoring binge.

With the game on the line it was Molina's back-to-back three-pointers that capped a 10-0 run by the Cougs early in the fourth quarter that tipped the balance to Wazzu. The run put the Cougars up eight just two minutes into the final frame as they would never look back allowing the Bruins to climb within two possessions just once more in the game. With the momentum pushing them the Cougars would not be denied as they pushed their lead to as much as 12 midway through the quarter while scoring a program-high 31 points in the final frame. The 31 was bolstered by 14 from Molina, tying her own program-record for points in a single quarter set earlier in the year at No. 22 Kentucky.

Throughout much of the game the two teams traded punches with the Cougars taking the lead after the first while the Bruins held the lead at the half. In the opening stanza, the Cougs relied on the inside-outside game of senior Ivana Kmetovska and Molina jump out front. While Molina came up with a quick 10 points, it was the rebounding and inside scoring of Kmetovska, including a layup in the final seconds that put WSU up two after 10 minutes. Kmetovska would net six points in the opening quarter as she was on her way to 12 points, one off of her career best of 13.

If the Cougars had one blemish on the night it would be the start of the second quarter when the Cougars missed their first nine shots from the floor and scored just one point through the first 5:30 minutes to allow the Bruins to bully their way to a nine point lead. Despite the cold start to the quarter, the Cougs would not go quietly as WSU regrouped and finished the quarter with eight of the final 12 points scored to cut the halftime deficit to just four.

The third quarter would be a slugfest as the two teams traded baskets and mini-runs with the Cougs closing the gap to just a single point, 52-51, heading into the final quarter.

Overall, Molina sparked the Cougars to their best shooting night of the season as Wazzu hit 34-of-65 (52.3%) from the floor including going 6-of-19 from deep. Three Cougs finished in double-figures with Molina leading the way and junior Pinelopi Pavlopoulou quietly and calmly cashing in for 14 points, one off of her career best. Kmetovska's 12 points were joined by a career-best 11 rebounds for the first double-double of her four-year career. It was the fourth double-double of the season for the Cougars.

The Bruins were led by Jordin Canada who came up with 19 points but needed 22 shots leading to UCLA taking 82 attempts from the floor as a team. UCLA finished the night shooting just 34.1% (28-of-82) from the floor while going 5-for-22 from deep and just 12-for-22 from the line. Monique Billings, the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week ended her night with 18 points and 12 rebounds while Kennedy Burke added 16 points and eight rebounds. 

The Cougars will look to keep it rolling in 2017 when they host USC, Sunday, January 8 at Beasley Coliseum. The game is scheduled for 12 p.m. and can be seen on the PAC-12 Network.

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