Cougs battle, but fall 74-68 to Miami at the 2019 Miami Holiday Classic

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

The Washington State University women’s basketball team was handed a hard-fought 74-68 loss to the University of Miami (RV) in a back-and-forth affair on Saturday, Dec. 21, in the final game of the 2019 Miami Holiday Classic.

In a contest that featured eight lead changes and three ties, the Cougs took a 57-56 lead with 6:30 left to play in the fourth quarter after a Johanna Muzet layup and forced the Hurricanes to call a timeout. Miami responded with seven-straight points over the next three minutes out of the break to jump out to a six-point advantage with 3:38 remaining in the game.

Trailing by seven points with just 0:49 on the clock, the Cougs were able to pull within a single basket after a Jovana Subasic three-pointer made it 71-68 with 18 seconds remaining. Miami went 1-of-2 at the free throw line on the following possession to keep the Cougar’s hopes alive, but the WSU rally was thwarted after missing a three-point shot in the corner with eight seconds remaining.

Senior Chanelle Molina paced the Cougars with 17 points and 13 rebounds to post her first double-double of the 2019-20 season. The 5-9 senior achieved the feat after just two quarters of play by tallying 12 points and 10 rebounds in the first two frames to put Washington State up by three at the half, 35-32.

Molina’s 17-point performance led a group of four double-digit scorers on the afternoon for WSU. Redshirt senior Borislava Hristova collected 16 points, while Subasic (13 pts) and sophomore Ula Motuga (11 pts) rounded out the quartet.

Today’s game rounds out the non-conference portion of the WSU schedule, as the Cougs stand at 7-5 after 12 games played. Washington State will now spend the next seven days away from competition for the holidays before returning to open Pac-12 play on Dec. 29 against in-state rival Washington inside. Tip-off for the Boeing Apple Cup Series contest is set for 2 p.m. PT in Beasley Coliseum.

Head coach Kamie Ethridge on Today’s Loss:
“I thought we really competed hard. It hurts when you play hard, have chances and you don’t finish. We had to fight through fatigue with some of our players, we’re trying to stretch our starters a lot, and just had some bad possessions. We didn’t have a great third quarter and we let them hit some shots and gain some confidence, then it was just an uphill battle the rest of the way. We got the looks we wanted, but didn’t shoot the percentage that we needed (to win).”

Coach Ethridge on Building Momentum in a Tough Loss to go into Pac-12 Play: “What a great contrast to yesterday in how we competed today. We forced Miami to make plays against us. We ran our stuff pretty easily, and there were things that happened that next time they come up we’ll handle it better. We really handled a super-athletic team today and played with them in so many ways. We had every opportunity to win this game, but there is a lot of encouragement in what we can become and what this kind of (non-conference) schedule has prepared us for the Pac-12.”

– Senior Chanelle Molina registered a career high rebounds with 13 en route to her second career double-double.

– Redshirt senior Borislava Hristova and redshirt junior Jovana Subasic extend their double-digit scoring streaks with 16 and 13 points respectively. Today’s effort extends Hristova streak to six games, while Subasic pushes hers to five games in a row.

– With 14 team assists this afternoon, Washington State has now collected 10-or-more assists in five-straight games.

– Sophomore Ula Motuga tallied a season-high 11 points against the Hurricanes. It’s the first double-digit scoring performance for the Logan, Australia native this season.

– With 16 points against the Hurricanes, redshirt senior Borislava Hristova gives her 1,929 points in her career and she is now 39 points away from breaking the WSU all-time scoring record held by Jeanne Eggart (1977-82).