Cougar women fall one shot short at No. 22/24 Arizona State

CJ Elleby and Isaac Bonton lead WSU to season sweep over UW
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CJ Elleby and Isaac Bonton lead WSU to season sweep over UW

TEMPE, Ariz. – The Washington State University women’s basketball team took No. 22/24-ranked Arizona State all the way to the wire on the road on Friday, Feb. 14, but unfortunately WSU’s final game-tying shot attempt fell short at the buzzer to hand the Cougars a 62-59 loss at the Desert Financial Arena.

The Cougars battled throughout the night against the No. 22/24-ranked team in the country, as the game featured 10 lead changes and six ties. WSU trailed by as many as 12 points in the third quarter against the Sun Devils, but were able to rally at the end the frame, thanks to a 17-5 run, to pull even with ASU at 38-all heading into the fourth.

Senior Chanelle Molina gave the Cougs a one-point lead early in the fourth quarter at 41-40, after sinking her first 3-point field goal of the night at the 9:04 mark. Both squads traded blows throughout the final quarter, as the stanza featured seven lead changes and two ties. Arizona State took a six-point lead over Washington State with 1:57 remaining thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers, but the Cougs refused to back down, as they continued to chip away at the Sun Devil lead. Redshirt junior Jovana Subasic pulled the Cougars back to within a point of ASU at 58-57 with 15 seconds remaining to set the stage for the stretch run.

Arizona State connected on a pair of FT’s after the Subasic trifecta, to extend its lead back out to three at 60-57. Washington State called a timeout to advance the ball and they were able to once again pull to within one point of Arizona State, 60-59, after redshirt senior Borislava Hristova connected on a second-chance floater with less than 14.8 seconds to play.

Once again, the Sun Devils were able to hit both of their free throws on the ensuing possession to make it 62-59, with 4.8 ticks left on the clock. That would prove to be the final points in the ball game, as Washington State’s last-second attempt at a tie fell short. WSU was able to dribble up the court and got off a good look from the wing at the potential game-tying shot before the buzzer sounded, but it ultimately fell short.

The loss drops Washington State to 11-14 on the year, while the fall to 4-9 in Pac-12 play. Meanwhile, Arizona State improves to 17-8 overall and 7-6 in league games.

Hristova led all scorers on the night with 24 points, while Molina finished with 13 points. The duo scored 28 of their combined 37 points on Friday in the second half.

Bobi Buckets’ 24-point performance moves her into 14th on the Pac-12 women’s basketball all-time scoring list. The forward entered the night in 16th place, but she surpassed both Cal’s Ashley Walker (2013-16) and UCLA’s Jordin Canada (2015-18) tonight to slide up into 14th on the Pac-12 all-time scoring list with 2,166 career points.

Molina tallied all 13 of her points in the second half, while she also dished out a game-high six assists in the loss. Sophomore Ula Motuga tallied nine points and five assists, while freshman Bella Murekatete chipped in eight points in the loss.

Washington State found success inside the paint against Arizona State on Friday night, as the Cougs outscored the Sun Devils 36-28 in points in the paint. ASU was able to convert 13-of-18 (72.2%) from the free throw line against WSU, while the Cougars shot 2-of-6 from the charity stripe.

The Cougs will have a short turnaround, as they travel to Tucson on Sunday, Feb. 16, to take on No. 12-ranked Arizona. Tip-off against the Wildcats is set for 11 a.m. PT and will air live on the Pac-12 Networks Arizona.

COUG QUOTES
Head Coach Kamie Ethridge on Tonight’s Loss: 
“The effort by Bobi, Chanelle and our entire team tonight was encougaring to see. Our disposition was great and we played extremely hard. I’m really proud of how this team competed. We probably should’ve tried a little in-and-out on that last shot, but I liked the fact that we were able to get up the court in time. There are so many things that we can grab hold of out of tonight’s game. If we can play with this kind of effort, we can play with a lot of teams in this league.”

COUG NOTES
– With the loss to No. 22/24 Arizona State tonight, Washington State falls to 0-10 on the year against teams ranked inside either the Associated Press or USA Today/WBCA Coaches Polls.

– Redshirt senior Borislava Hristova extends her double-digit scoring streak to 19-straight games. She needs just one more double-digit scoring performance to move into tie with Camille Thompson (1993-94) for the third-longest streak by a senior in WSU history.

– Tonight’s 24-point performance for Borislava Hristova marks her 48th career game scoring 20-or-more points.

– Senior Chanelle Molina moved into 10th on the WSU women’s basketball all-time scoring list with tonight’s 13-point performance. The senior now has 1,302 career points to surpass Jazmine Perkins (2008-12) for 10th on the all-time scoring list.

– With tonight’s eight-point effort, freshman Bella Murekatete has now posted eight points in back-to-back contests.

– Tonight’s five assists for Ula Motuga is one short of her career high of six, which she has registered twice in her career. The last time came on Jan. 5, 2020 at Cal.