Washington State University had three players score in double figures as the University of Arizona offense came alive in the second half to come back and post a 71-65 victory in both teams Pac-12 Conference opener Friday night at Beasley Coliseum.
WSU (4-8, 0-1 Pac-12) held Arizona (9-3, 1-0 Pac-12), the Pac-12’s leading 3-point shooting team, to 5-of-17 (29.4%) from behind the arc and owned a 45-35 rebounding advantage. Arizona caught fire in the second half and shot nearly 52 percent in the final period and finished the game shooting just under 45 percent. The Cougars shot 33.3 percent from the field and finished with a season-high eight 3-pointers. Freshman guard Lia Galdeira hit three from behind the arc and finished with a team-high 17 points. Senior center Carly Noyes recorded 14 points and nine rebounds while junior forward Sage Romberg added 10 points and seven rebounds.
Arizona had five players finish in double figures led by Alli Goyd’s 19 points and eight rebounds.
Washington State came out hot, quickly building a 15-3 lead just minutes in after a pair of three’s from Galdeira, one from Romberg and jumpers from Noyes and freshman guard Taylor Edmondson.
Arizona countered with a full court press that sparked an 8-0 run that later turned into a 19-2 streak and a 23-17 advantage at the 9:10 mark. The Wildcats pressured the Cougars into four turnovers and picked up some easy buckets.
Following four straight points from Noyes, Washington State again heated up from the outside as sophomore guard Brandi Thomas knocked down a three from the right corner, Presley then hit her own three from the left wing and Galdeira capped a 9-0 spurt with her third three of the half that tied the game at 27.
Noyes opened the second half with a pair of jumpers to put WSU up five but Arizona again countered with a pressing defense and that sparked them to a 11-2 run and a 46-42 lead at the 13:04 mark.
Washington State answered with its own 8-0 run as freshman forward Mariah Cooks knocked down a three and Romberg and redshirt-junior guard Ireti Amojo each followed with jumpers. An Edmondson free throw gave the Cougars a 50-46 lead.
Both teams traded buckets over the next seven minutes before Arizona used a three and a layup to go up four with 2:39 remaining. Galdeira answered with a pair of baskets to cut the Wildcats lead to two with 49 seconds left but Arizona’s Kama Griffitts was fouled on a three-point attempt and hit all three free throws to put UA up five. Romberg later banked in a three to cut it two but again, the Wildcats converted at the free throw line, hitting four more free throws and to hold off the Cougars 71-65.
Arizona hit all nine of its free throw attempts in the final 60 seconds. Both teams committed 20 turnovers and Arizona registered 38 points in the paint.