Washington State University’s run in the Pacific Life Pac-12 Tournament came to an end Friday afternoon, as the Cougars dropped a 64-49 decision to second seeded University of California in a semifinal matchup held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Washington State (13-20) forced Cal (24-8) into 25 turnovers but were limited to 27 percent shooting while the Golden Bears shot over 48 percent from the floor and owned a 59-25 rebounding advantage.
Sophomore forward Sage Romberg led WSU with 11 points while senior guard April Cook added 10 points. Senior point guard Rosetta Adzasu closed her career with six points, five assists and six steals and senior guard Jazmine Perkins record eight points and three steals. Senior Rosie Tarnowski knocked down a big three in her final game for the Cougars.
WSU struggled to knock down shots in the early minutes as Cal scored the game’s first eight points. Junior forward Carly Noyes later knocked down a pair of free throws and Cook followed with a long two from the left corner.
Cook continued to spark the Cougs off the bench with a driving layup. Romberg later got into the act, knocking down a pair of threes from the left wing that brought the Cougs within one, 13-12 and forced Cal to call a timeout at the 10:52 mark.
The Golden Bears countered with a 7-0 spurt but WSU answered with an 8-2 run. Sophomore guard Brandi Thomas got things going with a layup, Perkins connected for three and freshman forward Shalie Dheensaw capped the run with a stepback jumper that cut the Cal advantage to 22-20 with 5:29 remaining.
WSU’s veterans again provided a spark as Tarnowski hit a long three from the left wing and Adzasu connect on a pair of free throws. The Cougs tied things up just prior to the half after Cal threw an elbow and was issued a technical and Thomas hit one of two free throws that tied the game at 26.
Washington State recorded 13 points off of Cal’s 11 first half turnovers. Romberg led the Cougs with six points after the two threes.
The Cougars opened the second half with five straight points on Romberg’s spinning drive in the lane and another three by Perkins to give WSU a 31-26 advantage. Washington State later received a pair of buckets from Adzasu and Romberg to keep the lead at five at the 15:45 mark.
Cal gained the momentum right back, taking advantage of its size down low and put together a 10-2 run to own a 40-39 lead with 8:55 remaining.
Adzasu and Thomas followed with a couple free throws and fast break layup from Thomas to tie the game at 42 but the Golden Bears erupted for a run that decided the game. Cal’s 14-4 run built a double-digit advantage and put the game out of reach for the Cougars, who were playing their third game in three days, with 6:20 remaining.
Cook finished in the lane for a couple layups that kept the Cougs within 10 but Cal held off WSU by hitting its free throws in the final minutes.