Behind McClure's 12 blocks, WSU beats Colorado on Senior Day - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Behind McClure's 12 blocks, WSU beats Colorado on Senior Day

Photo: WSU Athletics Photo: WSU Athletics

WSU Athletics

PULLMAN, Wash. - Just two weeks after setting the Washington State women's record for blocks in a game, redshirt-sophomore Nike McClure annihilated her own mark as the Tenino native sent away 12 Colorado shots to lead the Cougars to an impressive 67-56 win Saturday afternoon at Beasley Coliseum. The 12 blocked shots for McClure tied the Pac-12 record for rejections in a conference game matching Oregon's Stefanie Kaperski's 29-year old record set against Cal on Feb. 28, 1988. She just missed the overall Pac-12 record held by Kaperski who once blocked 13 shots in a non-conference game in the same season.

From the first possession until the last the Cougars (11-18, 6-12 Pac-12) kept control of the contest against the Buffs (15-14, 5-13 Pac-12) en route to earning the season split and securing at worst an eighth place finish in the loaded Pac-12. Working off of a similar script from the first meeting between the two teams in Boulder, the Cougs got off to an explosive start, jumping out to a 16-0 lead before relinquishing a free throw and the first point of the afternoon to Colorado. Shaking off the cold shooting of games prior, the Cougs found their stroke in the opening 10 minutes, blistering the net on 10-of-14 shooting. 

The 11-point lead after one period helped the Cougs overcome a second quarter that saw WSU score just 11 points. However, while the offense slowed the defense found a second gear thanks to McClure who tallied six blocks in the quarter alone. The six blocks in the second quarter would have matched the Cougs' single-game best coming into the season if not for her monster effort against Arizona and again on the day. With McClure protecting the rim, the Cougs held off an early charge by the Buffs that cut WSU's lead to just three with 4:34 to play before rolling off a 9-3 run to close the half. Again it was Swedlund who came up with the buckets when the Cougs needed them most as she drilled a pair of threes as part of the WSU run.

The Buffs would make another run at the Cougs late in the third as they cut the lead back down to three with just under two minutes to play in the frame only to see the Cougs weather the storm thanks to a 13-3 run that spanned the quarter break and into the fourth. Continuing their smothering defense, the Cougs held the Buffs in check for the first four minutes of the fourth which allowed them to push the advantage back to 13 points as the game neared its final minutes. A quick six-points on back-to-back threes by the Buffs in just over :20 seconds put a brief scare into the Cougs late in the games' final quarter, however, the two possessions would be as close as Colorado would come to pulling off another comeback against WSU. Over the final 3:23 of the contest, the Cougs forced the Buffs to miss 5-of-6 from the floor while themselves hitting 8-of-14 from the line to close out the contest.

In all, McClure finished the game with her first-career double-double as she grabbed 12 rebounds to go with her record 12 blocks. The big rim-protector just missed posting the Cougs' first-ever triple-double as she came up with six points while taking just four shots. Swedlund led the scoring for the Cougars with 20-points on 5-of-12 shooting including hitting 4-of-9 from deep and 6-of-8 from the line. The 20-point effort was her third 20+ point effort of the season. Juniors Pinelopi Pavlopoulou and Caila Hailey joined Swedlund in double-figures with Pavlopoulou scoring 13 while Hailey finished with 10. The three also did their work on the glass for the Cougs as the guards recorded 22 combined rebounds with Hailey grabbing eight that included five on the offensive glass.

The 14 blocks by the Cougars set a new single-game high for the team, shattering the previous record of 11 set against Boise State the previous season. Additionally, the Cougs finished the contest with 131 blocks during the regular season, blowing by their record 120 set a season ago.

For the Buffs, Kennedy Leonard matched her season average with 17 points on 6-of-19 shooting as the only Colorado player to reach double-figures. As a team, the Cougs held Colorado to just 29.0% (20-of-69) shooting in the game while finishing at 46.8% (22-for-47) themselves. At the line, WSU made 16-of-33 while Colorado went just 8-of-17.

The Cougs will have to wait until Sunday to find out their seeding in the upcoming Pac-12 tournament with games still being contested. WSU does know it will play on the first day of action in Seattle with the 2017 edition of the tournament tipping off Thursday, Mar. 2 from Key Arena.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 SWXRN. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.